A Musical Nativity with John Rutter


A Musical Nativity with John Rutter

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Happy Christmas, and welcome to the beautiful setting

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of Dorchester Abbey, for this musical retelling of the Nativity story.

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One of our best loved composers, John Rutter,

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whose Christmas carols are known to millions,

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has put together this special selection of his own music,

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and music which is close to his heart.

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Music is something that, for me, is just interwoven with Christmas.

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When I think of Christmas, I don't think first of turkey and plum pudding and all that,

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I actually think of the music.

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# In dulci jubilo Let us our homage show

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# Our heart' joy reclineth In praesepio

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# And like a bright star shineth Matris in gremio

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# Alpha es et O Alpha es et O. #

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I think I am an optimist. A bruised optimist, in a very imperfect world.

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Christmas, for me and for millions of other people,

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is a sort of reminder of just how things might be.

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Because for just a few days each year, politics is suspended.

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Normal life is put on hold. And we have the world as it could be.

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# O that we were there O that we were there. #

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Christmas music for me seems to just sum that up.

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Which is why I never feel Christmas is complete

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unless in some way or another I have made music.

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# There are Angels singing Nova cantica

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# And there the bells are ringing

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# In Regis curia

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# Oh, that we were there! Oh, that we were there!

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# Oh, that we were there! Oh, that we were there! #

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John Rutter conducting his own arrangement of the mediaeval carol In Dulci Jubilo -

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In Sweet Rejoicing.

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A very fitting start to this festive programme of music.

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Music and Christmas, of course, are indivisible. For many of us,

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Christmas would not be Christmas without a John Rutter carol.

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We have asked John to trace the Christmas story through music.

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When I was a choirboy in my school chapel choir,

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Christmas was really the high point of our singing year.

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I thought back to the carols that I sang then, and I thought that this programme

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would not be complete without some of those in there somewhere.

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I then began to compose carols myself,

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and I thought, well, maybe one or two early ones would be nice.

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And to include the most recent of the carols that I have written, called The Colours Of Christmas.

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It all started with that eager excited little boy treble.

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We start our Nativity with This Is The Truth Sent From Above,

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sung by the first of our soloists, Gerald Finley,

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in which God promises to redeem us through his son.

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And then music which John has composed especially for this programme,

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will take us through to Gabriel's message.

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The moment when the angel Gabriel tells the Virgin Mary that she will give birth to Jesus.

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# This is the truth sent from above

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# The truth of God The God of love

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# Therefore don't turn me from your door

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# But hearken all Both rich and poor

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# The first thing which I do relate

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# Is that God did man create

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# The next thing which to you I'll tell

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# Woman was made with man to dwell

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# Thus we were heirs to endless woes

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# Till God and Lord did interpose

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# And so a promise soon did run

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# That He would redeem us by His Son

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# The angel Gabriel from heaven came

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# His wings as drifted snow His eyes as flame

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# "All hail", said he O lowly maiden Mary

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# Most highly favoured lady

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# Gloria

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# For know a blessed mother thou shalt be

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# All generations laud and honour thee

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# Thy son shall be Emmanuel by seers foretold

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# Most highly favoured lady

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# Gloria

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# Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head

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# "To me be as it pleaseth God," she said

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# My soul shall laud and magnify God's holy name

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# Most highly favoured lady

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# Gloria

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# Of her, Emmanuel, the Christ, was born

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# In Bethlehem all on Christmas morn

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# And Christian folk throughout the world will ever say

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# Most highly favoured lady

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# Gloria. #

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That was Gabriel's message, an arrangement of the traditional carol, the Angel Gabriel From Heaven Came.

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For many of us, the most familiar telling of the Christmas story

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is in the words of the King James Bible.

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The perfect counterpoint to our musical Nativity.

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And it came to pass in those days that there went out

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a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

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And Joseph also went up from Galilee unto the city of David,

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which was called Bethlehem, to be taxed with Mary, his espoused wife,

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being great with child.

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# Donkey riding over the bumpy road

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# Carry Mary all with her heavy load

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# Follow Joseph leading you on your way

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# Until you find a stable

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# Somewhere to rest and stay

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# Donkey riding over the bumpy road

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# Carry Mary all with her heavy All with her heavy

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# All with her heavy load

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# Donkey watching over the Jesus child

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# See the baby all with his mother mild

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# Hear the angels singing their song on high

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# Noel, Noel, Noel Their carolling fills the sky

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# Donkey watching over the Jesus child

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# See the baby all with his mother

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# All with his mother All with his mother mild

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# Donkey skip for joy as you go your way

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# Alleluia, Jesus is born today

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# Hark, the bells ring out with their message clear

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# Rejoice and sing that Christ our Saviour Divine is here

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# Donkey skip for joy as you go your way

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# Alleluia

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# Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia

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# Christ is born today. #

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Such a big part of the Nativity story

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is the story of the Virgin Mary giving birth to Jesus.

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That is the heart of the Nativity story.

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This Jesse Window, John, is...

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Well, it's what Dorchester Abbey is famous for in many ways.

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Tell us the significance of the Jesse Tree to the Nativity story.

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Well, of course, it's always been important to Christians

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to trace Christ's ancestry

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and there were 42 generations between Abraham and Joseph

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and a Jesse Tree is often depicted, but not so often in stone.

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But it brings this whole idea of growth and flowering to life.

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Christ himself was seen as a flower,

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the Virgin Mary was portrayed often as a rose or some kind of a flower

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and that's really the theme of John Audelay's poem -

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There is a flower sprung of a tree The root of it is called Jesse

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A flower of price There is none such in Paradise.

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# There is a flower sprung of a tree

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# The root thereof is called Jesse

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# A flower of price

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# There is none such in paradise

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# This flower is fair and fresh of hue

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# It fadeth never But ever is new

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# The blessed branch This flower on grew

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# Was Mary mild that bare Jesu

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# A flower of grace

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# Against all sorrow It is solace

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# When that fair flower Began to spread

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# And his sweet blossom began to bed

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# Then rich and poor of every land

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# They marvelled how

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# This flower might spread Till kinges three

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# That blessed flower came to see

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# Alleluia, Alleluia

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# Angels there came From heaven's tower

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-# To look upon this freshele flower

-Alleluia, Alleluia

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-# How fair he was in his colour

-Alleluia, Alleluia

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-# And how sweet in his savour

-Alleluia, Alleluia

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# And to behold how such a flower

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# Might spring in gold

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# There is a flower sprung of a tree

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# The root thereof is called Jesse

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# A flower of price

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# There is none such

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# In paradise. #

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For many, many artists, the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus

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seem to symbolise the human dimension of the Christian faith,

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that it all comes down to one family - mother and child.

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And the way they have interpreted that

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is infinitely varied, but for me, THE period is the late Middle Ages

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and the early Renaissance

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where artists seemed to capture a kind of serenity and a calm,

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which, for me, is so rare in real life

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and is so precious in that Christmas story.

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There's something contemplative about the Virgin Mary

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as she was generally portrayed,

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as if she's pondering the mystery

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of the extraordinary birth and remembering Gabriel appearing to her,

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which is one of the most extraordinary stories in the Bible.

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I think we all are nourished by those images,

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even though we may not be conscious of it.

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This is also perfectly described in one of your earliest carols -

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The Nativity Carol, the first one you wrote, I believe.

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The Nativity Carol was written when I was at school.

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I think I was about 16 at the time

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and I just had this idea of three-bar phrases

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and four-bar phrases that would alternate.

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So, it was actually a rather technical idea, in a funny way,

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but the words seemed to grow out of that -

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Born in a stable so bare Born so long ago

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Born 'neath light of star He who loved us so.

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# Born in a stable so bare

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# Born so long ago

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# Born 'neath light of star

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# He who loved us so

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# Far away

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# Silent he lay

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# Born today

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# Your homage pay

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# For Christ is born for aye

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# Born on Christmas Day

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# Love in that stable was born

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# Into our hearts to flow

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# Innocent dreaming babe

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# Make me thy love to know

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# Far away

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# Silent he lay

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# Born today

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# Your homage pay

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# Christ is born for aye

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# Born on Christmas Day. #

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And she brought forth her first-born son

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and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger

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because there was no room for them in the inn.

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We've just heard a carol that was written a long time ago -

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your first ever carol, The Nativity Carol.

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Now, we'll hear one which has been written most recently -

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The Colours Of Christmas

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and it's going to be performed by a choir close to your heart -

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the Children's International Voices of Enfield.

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# One, two, three, five, six, five

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# One, two, four, five, six... #

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I've known June Keyte, the director of Children's International Voices

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for many years now and we're close friends.

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I've written for her from time to time

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and when I wrote a carol just a year or so ago,

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I thought that this might be really appropriate for her choir

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and it was clear from the very first time through

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that they were going to sing it just beautifully.

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# Blue for the robe of his mother so mild

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# Gold for the precious gifts they brought to the child... #

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There's a freshness and an immediacy which is very hard to recapture

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once you've grown up.

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It's the fact that they're doing something almost for the first time

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and they're discovering that it just brings a wonderful, physical sensation about singing.

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I remember when I first began to sing,

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I was no more than four or five years old,

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my school report said, "Sings well when he sings softly".

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I don't know what that says about me,

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but I've always loved writing for children's voices.

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They're always a joy.

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# Green for the ivy that grows by the wall

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# White for the mistletoe that hangs in the hall

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# Red for the berries that shine in the snow

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# Orange and yellow for morning's first glow

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# These are the colours of Christmas

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# Let them shine all over the earth

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# These are the colours of happiness

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# The joy of a new baby's birth

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# Blue for the robe of his mother so mild

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# Gold for the precious gifts they brought to the child

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# Silver the starlight to shine through your sleep

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# And a rainbow for all the sweet dreams you will keep

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# These are the colours of Christmas

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# Let them shine all over the earth

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# These are the colours of happiness

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# The joy of a new baby's birth

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# Blue for the robe of his mother so mild

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# Gold for the precious gifts they brought to the child

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# Silver the starlight to shine through your sleep

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# And a rainbow for all the sweet dreams

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# You will keep. #

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It's now Christmas morning.

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What better way to celebrate than with Ding Dong! Merrily On High?

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We're going to hear that now.

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You've chosen the arrangement by your great friend and mentor,

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David Willcocks.

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Ding Dong! Merrily On High has got all the Christmas sparkle

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you could ever wish for and anyone who's ever sung in a choir

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will know the great challenge is to get to the end

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of the "Gloria In Excelsis" bit

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without taking a breath in the middle.

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With the Cambridge singers on hand, I'm confident that we can do that.

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Sir David Willcocks' arrangement, for me, adds sparkle to sparkle.

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It's an absolute winner.

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# Ding dong! Merrily on high In heaven the bells are ringing

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# Ding dong! Verily the sky Is riven with angels singing

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# Gloria

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# Hosanna in excelsis!

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# Gloria

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# Hosanna in excelsis!

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# E'en so here below, below Let steeple bells be swung

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# And, "Io, io, io!" By priest and people sung

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# Gloria

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# Hosanna in excelsis!

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# Gloria

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# Hosanna in excelsis!

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# Pray you, dutifully prime Your matin chime, ye ringers

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# May you beautifully rime Your evetime song, ye singers

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# Gloria

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# Hosanna in excelsis!

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# Gloria

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# Hosanna in excelsis! #

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BELLS CHIME

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Our next carol is I Wonder As I Wander,

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sung for us by baritone Gerald Finley.

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I Wonder As I Wander is a carol that comes from

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the Appalachian folk people of North America,

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so I feel that that's something I can associate to quite well,

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being from Canada.

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It's a folk melody, it uses very, very simple language,

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a very simple tune and the way John has arranged it,

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it's magical.

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# I wonder as I wander

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# Out under the sky

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# How Jesus the saviour

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# Did come for to die

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# For poor ordinary people

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# Like you and like I

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# I wonder as I wander

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# Out under the sky

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# When Mary birthed Jesus

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# 'Twas in a cow's stall

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# With wise men and farmers

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# And shepherds and all

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# But high from God's heaven

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# The star's light did fall

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# Then the promise of the ages

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# It then did recall... #

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# If Jesus had wanted

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# For any wee thing

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# A star in the sky or a bird on the wing

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# Or all of God's angels in heaven to sing

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# He surely could have had it

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# Because he was the King

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# I wonder as I wander

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# Out under the sky

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# How Jesus the saviour

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# Did come for to die

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# For poor ordinary people

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# Like you and like I

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# I wonder as I wander

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# Out under

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# The sky. #

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And there were, in the same country, shepherds abiding in the field,

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keeping watch over their flock by night.

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And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them

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and glory of the Lord shone round about them,

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and they were sore afraid.

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And the angel said unto them,

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"Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,

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"which shall be to all people."

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Our story now moves on to the appearance of the angels

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to the shepherds and you've chosen a passage from Handel's Messiah.

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Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without Handel's Messiah.

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And the most extraordinary passage in it, in a way,

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is the narrative of the angels and the shepherds

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because it's the only time that Handel tells the story

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direct in the words of the Bible

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and brings it to life almost as if it was an opera.

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And you seem to see those sleepy shepherds,

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they're suddenly awakened by this light in the sky

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and the angel of the Lord

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and they become more and more excited.

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And then, the whole heavenly host is there singing "glory to God."

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Handel was a man of the theatre and he just brings that scene to life.

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It's so special, it's something I remember from my childhood,

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from when my mum sang it in choirs.

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And so, to get the chance to stand up and to, as it were,

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BE the Angel Gabriel is very special.

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# There were shepherds abiding in the field

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# Keeping watch over their flock by night

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# And lo!

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# The angel of the Lord came upon them

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# And the glory of the Lord shone round about them

0:34:130:34:18

# And they were sore afraid

0:34:180:34:22

# And the Angel said unto them

0:34:240:34:28

# Fear not, for behold

0:34:280:34:31

# I bring you good tidings of great joy

0:34:310:34:35

# Which shall be to all people

0:34:350:34:39

# For unto you is born this day

0:34:410:34:45

# In the City Of David a saviour

0:34:450:34:50

# Which is Christ the Lord

0:34:500:34:54

# And suddenly there was an angel

0:35:010:35:04

# A multitude of the heavenly host

0:35:040:35:08

# Praising God and saying

0:35:080:35:11

-FULL CHOIR:

-# Glory to God

0:35:120:35:15

# Glory to God in the highest

0:35:150:35:21

# And peace on Earth

0:35:230:35:29

# Glory to God, glory to God

0:35:340:35:38

# Glory to God in the highest

0:35:380:35:43

# And peace on Earth

0:35:450:35:50

-ALL REPEAT:

-# Good will to all men

0:35:520:35:58

# Glory to God

0:36:110:36:14

# Glory to God in the highest

0:36:140:36:19

# And peace on Earth

0:36:200:36:25

-ALL REPEAT:

-# Good will to all men. #

0:36:280:36:32

One of your most popular carols is The Shepherd's Pipe Carol.

0:37:090:37:12

And we are now at that stage in the Nativity

0:37:120:37:14

when the shepherds are travelling to Bethlehem.

0:37:140:37:16

Tell me what inspired that carol, one of the earliest ones you wrote.

0:37:160:37:20

I wrote The Shepherd's Pipe Carol just at the end of my time at school.

0:37:200:37:26

And I think I had been leafing through a book of Picasso.

0:37:260:37:32

And I remember seeing the little shepherd boy

0:37:320:37:37

with his arm round a baby sheep.

0:37:370:37:40

But there was something just rather innocent

0:37:400:37:42

and rather lovely, and I thought,

0:37:420:37:45

"Well, I wonder if he was a musical shepherd."

0:37:450:37:47

And I wondered whether he might have been the one

0:37:470:37:49

who wanted to tell the story.

0:37:490:37:51

# Going through the hills on a night all starry

0:37:580:38:02

# On the way to Bethlehem

0:38:020:38:04

# Far away I heard a shepherd boy piping

0:38:040:38:09

# On the way to Bethlehem

0:38:090:38:12

# Angels in the sky brought this message nigh

0:38:120:38:16

# Dance and sing for joy that Christ the King of Kings

0:38:160:38:20

# Is come to bring us peace on Earth and he's lying

0:38:200:38:23

# Cradled there at Bethlehem

0:38:230:38:25

# Tell me, shepherd boy piping tunes so merrily

0:38:290:38:32

# On the way to Bethlehem

0:38:320:38:35

# Who will hear your tunes on these hills so lonely?

0:38:360:38:39

# On the way to Bethlehem

0:38:390:38:42

# Angels in the sky brought this message nigh

0:38:430:38:46

# Dance and sing for joy that Christ the King of Kings

0:38:460:38:50

# Is come to bring us peace on Earth and he's lying

0:38:500:38:54

# Cradled there at Bethlehem

0:38:540:38:56

# None may hear my pipes on these hills so lonely

0:39:000:39:03

# On the way to Bethlehem

0:39:030:39:07

# But a King will hear me play sweet lullabies

0:39:070:39:11

# When I get to Bethlehem

0:39:110:39:16

# Angels in the sky came down from on high

0:39:160:39:19

# Hovered o'er the manger where the babe was lying

0:39:190:39:23

# Cradled in the arms of his mother Mary

0:39:230:39:28

# Sleeping now at Bethlehem

0:39:280:39:30

# Where is this new King, shepherd boy piping merrily?

0:39:330:39:38

# Is he there at Bethlehem?

0:39:380:39:40

# I will find him soon by the star shining brightly

0:39:400:39:45

# In the sky o'er Bethlehem

0:39:450:39:48

# Angels in the sky brought this message nigh

0:39:480:39:52

# Dance and sing for joy that Christ the King of Kings

0:39:520:39:56

# Is come to bring us peace on Earth and he's lying

0:39:560:40:00

# Cradled there at Bethlehem

0:40:000:40:01

# May I come with you, shepherd boy piping merrily?

0:40:030:40:07

# Come with you to Bethlehem?

0:40:070:40:09

# Pay my homage too at the new King's cradle

0:40:110:40:14

# Is it far to Bethlehem?

0:40:140:40:16

# Angels in the sky brought this message nigh

0:40:180:40:21

# Dance and sing for joy that Christ the King of Kings

0:40:210:40:25

# Is come this night and born in a stable lowly

0:40:250:40:29

# Born for you

0:40:290:40:31

# At Bethlehem. #

0:40:310:40:38

And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph

0:40:400:40:44

and the babe lying in a manger.

0:40:440:40:47

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying that

0:40:470:40:50

was told them concerning this child.

0:40:500:40:52

And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them

0:40:520:40:56

by the shepherds.

0:40:560:40:57

Christina Rossetti's poem In The Bleak Midwinter

0:41:030:41:06

is a beautiful reflection on the scene in the stable

0:41:060:41:10

after Jesus is born.

0:41:100:41:12

There are two famous musical settings of her words

0:41:120:41:15

one by Gustav Holst

0:41:150:41:17

and one by London organist and composer Harold Darke.

0:41:170:41:20

John met Harold Darke when In The Bleak Midwinter

0:41:200:41:23

was performed alongside one of his own carols

0:41:230:41:25

at a Bach Choir Christmas concert in the 1970s.

0:41:250:41:29

# In the bleak midwinter

0:41:360:41:42

# Frosty wind made moan

0:41:420:41:48

# Earth stood hard as iron

0:41:480:41:54

# Water like a stone

0:41:540:42:02

# Snow had fallen, snow on snow

0:42:020:42:08

# Snow on snow

0:42:080:42:14

# In the bleak midwinter

0:42:140:42:21

# Long

0:42:210:42:26

# Ago

0:42:260:42:31

# Enough for him whom cherubim

0:42:380:42:44

# Worship night and day

0:42:440:42:50

# A breast full of milk

0:42:500:42:56

# And a manger

0:42:560:42:59

# For a bed

0:42:590:43:04

# Enough for him whom angels

0:43:040:43:11

# Fall down before

0:43:110:43:17

# The ox and ass and camel

0:43:170:43:23

# Which adore

0:43:230:43:30

# What can I give him?

0:43:370:43:44

# Poor as I am

0:43:440:43:51

# If I were a shepherd

0:43:510:43:57

# I would bring a lamb

0:43:570:44:04

# If I were a wise man

0:44:050:44:11

# I would do my part

0:44:110:44:16

# Yet what I can

0:44:160:44:20

# I give him

0:44:200:44:24

# Give

0:44:240:44:27

# My heart

0:44:270:44:33

# Give

0:44:330:44:39

# My heart. #

0:44:390:44:45

And, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them,

0:45:010:45:06

till it came and stood over where the young child was.

0:45:060:45:09

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

0:45:090:45:13

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child

0:45:130:45:17

with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him.

0:45:170:45:20

# Sing this night

0:45:260:45:28

# For a boy is born in Bethlehem

0:45:280:45:30

# Christ our Lord

0:45:300:45:31

# In a lowly manger lies

0:45:310:45:33

# Bring your gifts

0:45:330:45:35

# Come and worship at his cradle

0:45:350:45:37

# Hurry to Bethlehem And see the son of Mary

0:45:370:45:42

# See his star shining bright

0:45:440:45:48

# In the sky this Christmas night

0:45:480:45:51

# Follow me joyfully

0:45:510:45:55

# Hurry to Bethlehem And see the son of Mary

0:45:550:46:00

# Angels bright

0:46:040:46:05

# Come from heavens highest glory

0:46:050:46:07

# Bear the news

0:46:070:46:09

# With its message of good cheer

0:46:090:46:11

# Sing, rejoice

0:46:110:46:12

# For a King is come to save us

0:46:120:46:14

# Hurry to Bethlehem And see the son of Mary

0:46:140:46:19

# See his star shining bright

0:46:220:46:25

# In the sky this Christmas night

0:46:250:46:29

# Follow me joyfully

0:46:290:46:32

# Hurry to Bethlehem And see the son of Mary

0:46:320:46:38

# Asleep he lies In his mother's tender keeping

0:46:420:46:46

# Jesus Christ In her loving arms asleep

0:46:460:46:50

# Shepherds, poor Come to worship and adore him

0:46:500:46:54

# Offer their humble gifts Before the son of man

0:46:540:47:00

# See his star shining bright

0:47:030:47:07

# In the sky this Christmas night

0:47:070:47:10

# Follow me joyfully

0:47:100:47:15

# Hurry to Bethlehem And see the son of Mary

0:47:150:47:20

# Let us all pay our homage At the manger

0:47:240:47:28

# Sing his praise On this joyful Christmas night

0:47:280:47:32

# Christ is come Bringing promise of salvation

0:47:320:47:35

# Hurry to Bethlehem And see the son of Mary

0:47:350:47:41

# See his star shining bright

0:47:440:47:47

# In the sky this Christmas night

0:47:470:47:50

# Follow me joyfully

0:47:500:47:54

# Hurry to Bethlehem And see the son of Mary

0:47:540:47:59

# Hurry to Bethlehem And see the son of Mary. #

0:48:000:48:07

Now we're going to move on to the arrival of the three kings

0:48:120:48:15

and am I right in thinking this was the solo

0:48:150:48:18

that Gerry Finley sang when you discovered him?

0:48:180:48:21

I do remember that Gerry Finley sang The Three Kings

0:48:210:48:25

while he was a choral scholar at King's College

0:48:250:48:29

and I heard him sing it and I thought, "My goodness me".

0:48:290:48:33

"This is going to be his signature tune."

0:48:330:48:37

And I was very shy of asking, all these years later,

0:48:370:48:40

whether he would be willing to repeat his performance

0:48:400:48:45

and he said an immediate yes.

0:48:450:48:47

This time of year is always a special time.

0:48:470:48:50

I've sung carols since I was a boy chorister

0:48:500:48:54

and although I'm an opera singer now and travelling the world,

0:48:540:48:59

Christmas time is always about coming back to the carols.

0:48:590:49:02

# Three Kings from Persian lands afar

0:49:040:49:10

# To Jordan follow the pointing star

0:49:120:49:18

# And this the quest Of the travellers three

0:49:180:49:22

# Where the new-born King Of the Jews may be

0:49:220:49:29

# Full royal gifts they bear For the King

0:49:310:49:35

# Gold, incense, myrrh Are their offering

0:49:350:49:42

# The star shines out With a steadfast ray

0:49:450:49:51

# The kings to Bethlehem Make their way

0:49:530:49:58

# And there in worship They bend the knee

0:50:000:50:05

# As Mary's child In her lap they see

0:50:050:50:11

# Their royal gifts They show to the King

0:50:130:50:18

# Gold, incense, myrrh Are their offering

0:50:180:50:27

# Thou child of man

0:50:310:50:34

# Lo, to Bethlehem

0:50:340:50:40

# The Kings are travelling

0:50:400:50:45

# Travel with them

0:50:460:50:52

# The star of mercy The star of grace

0:50:520:50:57

# Shall lead thy heart To its resting place

0:50:570:51:01

# Gold, incense, myrrh Thou canst not bring

0:51:010:51:07

# Offer thy heart to the infant King

0:51:080:51:15

# Offer thy heart. #

0:51:210:51:30

You've been called a composer in residence for Christmas,

0:51:340:51:37

which is a lovely title, one I'm sure you're very proud of,

0:51:370:51:41

but I think people might be surprised to hear

0:51:410:51:43

that you're not a hugely church-going Christian, are you?

0:51:430:51:46

I suppose I've got a sceptical mind by nature

0:51:460:51:50

and I always think religious faiths are a gift rather like perfect pitch.

0:51:500:51:56

If you haven't got it, don't pretend you've got it

0:51:560:52:00

because you'll get found out.

0:52:000:52:03

I... I find that I'm nourished and uplifted by faith.

0:52:030:52:09

The ceremonies, the history, the liturgy, the music of the Church

0:52:100:52:15

is part of me, and I can't imagine my life without it.

0:52:150:52:20

I'm just not terribly good at signing on dotted lines

0:52:200:52:24

and I think, well, I'll find out soon enough.

0:52:240:52:27

# I saw three ships come sailing in

0:52:340:52:37

# Come sailing in Come sailing in

0:52:370:52:40

# I saw three ships come sailing in

0:52:400:52:43

# On Christmas Day in the morning

0:52:430:52:46

# And here they sail Those ships all three

0:52:460:52:49

# The ships all three The ships all three

0:52:490:52:52

# And here they sail The ships all three

0:52:520:52:55

# On Christmas Day in the morning

0:52:550:52:57

# They sailed into Bethlehem

0:52:590:53:02

# To Bethlehem To Bethlehem

0:53:020:53:04

# O they sailed into Bethlehem

0:53:040:53:07

# On Christmas Day in the morning

0:53:070:53:10

# And who should be in those three ships

0:53:110:53:14

# In those three ships In those three ships

0:53:140:53:16

# And who should be in those three ships

0:53:160:53:19

# But Joseph and his lady

0:53:190:53:22

# And he did whistle And she did sing

0:53:230:53:26

# And she did sing And she did sing

0:53:260:53:28

# And he did whistle And she did sing

0:53:280:53:31

# On Christmas Day in the morning

0:53:310:53:34

WHISTLING TO THE TUNE OF THE VERSE

0:53:360:53:38

# La la la la la la la la

0:53:470:53:50

# La-la la la La-la la la

0:53:500:53:53

# La la la la la la la la

0:53:530:53:56

# La la la-la la-la la-la la

0:53:560:53:58

# And all the bells On Earth shall ring

0:53:590:54:02

# On Earth shall ring On Earth shall ring

0:54:020:54:04

# And all the bells On Earth shall ring

0:54:040:54:07

# On Christmas Day in the morning

0:54:070:54:10

# And all the angels In heaven shall sing

0:54:100:54:12

# In heaven shall sing In heaven shall sing

0:54:120:54:16

# And all the angels In heaven shall sing

0:54:160:54:19

# On Christmas Day in the morning

0:54:190:54:21

# Then let us all rejoice again

0:54:230:54:26

# Rejoice again Rejoice again

0:54:260:54:28

# Then let us all rejoice again

0:54:280:54:32

# On Christmas Day in the morning. #

0:54:320:54:36

Written nearly 200 years ago in Austria by a school teacher

0:54:410:54:45

and a guitar-playing parish priest

0:54:450:54:47

and indisputably one of the world's favourite Christmas songs.

0:54:470:54:51

Silent night, holy night.

0:54:510:54:53

This is John's own arrangement and it just remains for me

0:54:530:54:56

to say on behalf of everybody here at Dorchester Abbey,

0:54:560:54:59

a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

0:54:590:55:02

# Silent night

0:55:220:55:26

# Holy night

0:55:260:55:30

# All is calm

0:55:300:55:34

# All is bright

0:55:340:55:37

# Round yon virgin

0:55:370:55:41

# Mother and child

0:55:410:55:45

# Holy infant

0:55:460:55:49

# So tender and mild

0:55:490:55:53

# Sleep in heavenly peace

0:55:540:56:00

# Sleep in heavenly peace

0:56:030:56:09

# Silent night

0:56:120:56:16

# Holy night

0:56:160:56:20

# Shepherds first

0:56:200:56:23

# Saw the sight

0:56:230:56:28

# Glories stream from heaven afar

0:56:280:56:35

# Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia

0:56:370:56:43

# Christ the Saviour is born

0:56:450:56:51

# Christ the Saviour is born

0:56:530:56:59

# Silent night

0:57:060:57:10

# Holy night

0:57:100:57:15

# Son of God

0:57:150:57:19

# Love's pure light

0:57:190:57:23

# Radiance beams From Thy holy face

0:57:230:57:32

# With the dawn of redeeming grace

0:57:320:57:40

# Jesus, Lord at Thy birth

0:57:410:57:50

# Jesus, Lord at Thy birth. #

0:57:510:57:58

Subtitling by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:58:190:58:23

E-mail [email protected]

0:58:230:58:28

Katie Derham introduces a special retelling of the Christmas story through the music of John Rutter, whose immensely popular carols bring pleasure to millions around the world. Recorded at Dorchester Abbey and conducted by Rutter himself, the programme features some of the composer's best loved music alongside other Christmas favourites close to his heart.

Rutter reflects on some of the stories surrounding his work, such as the Picasso painting which inspired his ever-popular Shepherd's Pipe Carol, written when he was just sixteen.

Gerald Finley and Elin Manahan Thomas are the soloists, with the Aurora Orchestra, the Children's International Voices of Enfield and John Rutter's own choir, the Cambridge Singers.

Extracts from the Nativity story in the King James translation are read by Simon Russell Beale.


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