Every December, over a thousand people attend the Advent carol service in the Chapel of King’s College London, which is repeated over three nights to meet demand.
This album offers a snapshot of one such service, with its characteristic mix of plainchant, seasonal hymns and polyphony old and new. The Great O Antiphons (sung according to medieval Sarum practice) provide the backbone, pointing inexorably towards the Christmas birth.
A brace of premiere recordings centres on composers with personal connections to King’s College, and is complemented by current Professor of Composition George Benjamin’s rarely heard setting of a prophetic text after Isaiah. It intensifies the mood of heightened expectation proper to this very special season, and reminds us that something truly extraordinary is about to happen.