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2020 Christmas Special

In lieu of our Christmas performances this year the BCC committee were invited to choose a favourite carol each to make up this BCC DID Christmas special. We all hope the danger will be past soon and we will be singing together as a choir well before Christmas 2021! Until then, we hope you enjoy this selection of carols, that you are all safe and well and that have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

Sue: The Sussex Carol

This is such a joyous carol, which raises the spirits. It also has a personal interest for me, as it's a traditional English carol arranged by Philip Ledger. He was Director of Music when I was a student at the University of East Anglia and sang in the university choir under his direction.

Gordon: In The Bleak Midwinter (Darke)

This carol seems appropriate because Walford Davies is buried outside Bristol Cathedral. This version in particular because the conductor, (Sir - but not well enough to go to the Palace to receive it) Stephen Cleobury died this year - also because the tenor solo is sung by the grandson of another tenor, Kenneth Bowen, whom I replaced in St John's Choir, rather a long time ago (and I think Raymond invited Ken to sing at the University a number of times).

Anthony: The Angel Gabriel

One of my all time favourites - singing in the Clifton College choir, then the staff choir at Withywood School in the early 80s, then as a spontaneous duet with my wife ever since! The bass part is particularly enjoyable to sing!

Charlotte: A Hymn To The Virgin

My submission would be Britten’s Hymn to the Virgin. That simple but uplifting melody with its beautiful quartet takes me straight to the Lord Mayor’s Chapel, with the expectant hush of the audience about to be treated to one of our best Christmas numbers, the faint but discernible scent of wine mulling (Quelle est cette odeur agréable? Mais vin chaud, évidemment...) and that slight shiver: why didn’t I wear another layer? Moreover, no Christmas concert would be complete without a macaronic carol!

Rod: Coventry Carol

Partly because that's where I come from. (The other part I'm sure we can agree is it is a fantastic and very moving piece and eminently suitable for BCC! Ed.)

Jessica: Adam Lay Ybounden (Ord)

I love the edgy pep, urgency and bounce of this carol. It's only just over a minute long but the experience of singing, the building of a mood from a relative calm to that "blessed" unison towards the end gives me such excitement. The glorious "Deo Gratias" at full tilt then becomes a true expression of that excitement. It gives me tingles every time!

Rae: Angels from the realms of Glory

My reason for choosing this is sentimental rather than musical. It's such a happy carol - one of those carols where everyone, singer or not, can let rip and enjoy themselves, particularly in the chorus and that makes for a wonderful feeling of community.

Editor's choice: In Dulci Jubilo (arr Pearsall)

The Bristol Chamber Choir is a wonderful community that was founded partly on the mission of remembering and promoting the music of Robert Lucas de Pearsall. We couldn't have a Christmas special without including one of Pearsall's most well-known contributions to choral music which is always a favourite to sing at Christmas events by the BCC and by choirs across the country.

Desert Island Discs is a radio show first broadcast first broadcast on the BBC Forces Programme on 29 January 1942. It's now broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and hosted by Lauren Laverne. You can find more information here.

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