A Ceremony of Carols

Candle on Christmas tree 3

In celebration of the holiday season, here is music by the twentieth century English composer Benjamin Britten.  A Ceremony of Carols is scored for three part treble chorus, solo voices and harp.  The text, from Gerald Bullett’s The English Galaxy of Shorter Poems is Middle English.

Listen to the uniquely pure timbre produced by the boys’ choirs in these recordings.  This is a sound that has been heard for centuries in cathedrals across England.

Listen to the way Britten uses harmony to highlight a certain word or phrase in the text.  How does he evoke the mood of the text?  In the last clip (In Freezing Winter Night) what atmosphere is created musically?

A Ceremony of Carols, Op.28…Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)

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The complete Ceremony of Carols performed by the Antioch Chamber Ensemble:

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

5 thoughts on “A Ceremony of Carols

  1. What a ray of sunshine. In the 60s, I helped my Jr. College as an accompanist (piano) for this during rehearsals. They performed it with the harp though. In the 70s, did the same in Madrid with the University Choir. This time they couldn’t find a harpist, so I accompanied the choir in several gothic cathedrals of the region. What a delight! Thank you for this post.

  2. Lovely music…Do you know where i can find the piano solo sheet music for the song “In Freezing Winter Night?

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