Friday, January 11, 2008


Continuing the posts of 20th-century Christmastide music, Britten's 'A Ceremony of Carols' has long been a favourite of mine. Here's a wonderful sample from St Paul's Cathedral, London, recorded in 1997 with Edward Burrowes as solo treble:

For his text, Britten chose two verses of Martin Luther's Christmas carol 'Vom Himmel hoch,' which Luther wrote for his son Hans, as translated into English in 1567 by the Wedderburn brothers:

"O my deare hert, young Jesu sweit,
Prepare thy creddil in my spreit,
And I sall rock thee to my hert,
And never mair from thee depart.

But I sall praise thee evermoir
With sanges sweit unto thy gloir;
The knees of my heart sall I bow,
And sing that richt Balulalow"

'Balulalow' is an old Scottish word for 'lullaby'...

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