Nov. 29, 2022Print | PDF
A Ceremony of Carols was written in 1942 when the English composer Benjamin Britten was 29 years old. A Ceremony of Carols was composed in part during five weeks that Britten spent travelling by ship from New York to England during the Second World War. During the voyage the ship stopped in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where Britten purchased a book of medieval poetry. Poems from this book, along with Gregorian Chant and other poetry spanning 14th to 16th century England, were the inspiration for the eleven movements in A Ceremony of Carols, which includes both a Christmas narrative as well as references to the re-birth of spring. It is one of the composer’s most popular and widely performed works, particularly at the Christmas season.
From the Latin: Today Christ is born, …the angels and archangels sing and rejoice along with the righteous: Glory to God in the highest, Alleluia!
From Old English: Welcome Yule, to our heavenly King, for you shall we sing! Welcome to Steven, John, innocent children, Thomas, the good new year, Twelfth Day, Saints, Candlemass, you that are here, welcome all!