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.
"This year has brought a swing towards the solemnity and expectation of Advent, of which this release is the finest exponent … I like this, because it’s programmed with focus right down to its functional title … O Radix Jesse radiates harmonic interest yet feels fundamentally timeless."
"A beautifully atmospheric recording of the Advent service"