Friday, December 12, 2008

Sing Lullaby


If yesterday’s music was on the Thanksgivvy side, today’s should put you in more of a Christmas-y mood. Here is a three-minute video of the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, England -- the soprano and alto parts are performed by boys whose voices have not yet changed -- singing the Basque carol “The Infant King” (also known as “Sing Lullaby”).

The choir’s “veddy upper-clahss” pronunciation, combined with the echoing acoustics inside the exquisitely beautiful chapel, can make the words of this haunting carol a bit difficult to understand, so I have reproduced the lyrics for you:

Sing lullaby!
Lullaby baby, now reclining,
sing lullaby!
Hush, do not wake the infant King.
Angels are watching, stars are shining
over the place where He is lying:
sing lullaby!

Sing lullaby!
Lullaby baby, now a-sleeping,
sing lullaby!
Hush, do not wake the infant King.
Soon will come sorrow with the morning,
soon will come bitter grief and weeping:
sing lullaby!

Sing lullaby!
Lullaby baby, now a-dozing,
sing lullaby!
Hush, do not wake the infant King.
Soon comes the cross, the nails, the piercing,
then in the grave at last reposing;
sing lullaby!

Sing lullaby!
Lullaby! is the babe awaking?
Sing lullaby!
Hush, do not stir the infant King.
Dreaming of Easter, gladsome morning.
conquering death, its bondage breaking:
sing lullaby!

You may just want to go back and listen to the choir again. The world-famous choir is a bit of a local tourist attraction. In the photo below, the choirboys, wearing top hats, can be seen making their way to daily rehearsals at the chapel in the background. I’m sure there’s a perfectly good reason why they seem to be going in the opposite direction.


If you enjoyed hearing their music, I recommend that you turn your radio on to Public Radio on December 24th, Christmas Eve, at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (that's 9:00 a.m. Central, 7:00 a.m. Pacific) and listen to the BBC’s live, worldwide 90-minute broadcast of “A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols,” the annual Christmas Eve service from the chapel of Kings College, Cambridge University, Cambridge, England, featuring this world-famous choir. Some years the program has also been videotaped for delayed broadcast on television, so check your TV listings for “Carols from King’s” as well. The program always begins with a boy soprano singing “Once In Royal David’s City ” a capella to start the processional and ends ninety minutes later with a resoundingly satisfying rendition of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” with full pipe-organ accompaniment. In between will be some of the most beautiful choral music pieces and virtuoso organ playing you will ever hear, interspersed with readings of Scripture having to do with the birth of Christ. Each speaker ends his segment with the words, “Thanks be to God.” To an Anglophile like me, it is always magnificent and never fails to inspire.

And if you’re still out shopping on the morning of December 24th, I can tell you from experience that listening to this choir in one’s automobile on the way to the mall will work wonders in helping one cope with the stress of traffic and finding a parking place.

Mark it on your calendar now!

4 comments:

Jeannelle said...

Very beautiful! Thank you! I must tear myself away from that YouTube page, though.....otherwise I'll easily get caught up in the other Christmas music videos, too. Maybe later.

You poor guy.....have you really shopped on Christmas Eve? I once shopped a couple days before Christmas....it took half an hour to just get out of the Target parking lot, and then onto a congested street to do more sitting and waiting. I said, NEVER AGAIN.

Putz said...

i am afraid that it will conflict with our dec 24 th play with all those from alabama singing in the barlow new revised eve nativity when in jesus life he was two and all herod's hencemen were after him....taken from mathew one and two instead of the traditional luke two

Dr.John said...

Thanks for sharing. The music was indeed beautiful.

Egghead said...

Beautiful. I got all caught up and listened to several songs. Never shop on Christmas eve. But I do baking early in the morning so I will tune in to this.