In the Bleak Midwinter (Download)


The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge
Matthew Martin organ
Daniel Hyde Director of Music

Released 5 November 2021

Available as mp3 download and 192kHz/24bit (Studio Master).

 Available as a cd

Hyde injects a freshness into these old favourites, as if a beloved painting had been given a light clean, so it glows more brightly than before.
MailOnline – Christmas Album of the Year 2021

In the Bleak Midwinter reflects a Christmas that was unlike any other in recent history. Much of the music on this album was heard around the world as part of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, a service that began broadcasting in 1928 and has been broadcast live on Christmas Eve every year since 1931.

But for Christmas Eve 2020, in the face of a global pandemic, this uniquely long-running tradition was interrupted. It was not possible to hold a live service for a congregation in the Chapel or around the world. Instead, a full service, with lessons, carols, organ voluntaries and prayers, was recorded in an empty Chapel with the Choir of King’s College spread out around the stalls. For its millions of listeners, the broadcast meant the continuation of a Christmas tradition in a year when so many were without their friends and family, and without so much of what makes Christmas special.

This album contains music from the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols together with a selection of specially recorded tracks. It marks the beginning of a new era for the Choir of King’s College under the direction of Daniel Hyde, with this his first full album at King’s since his appointment in 2019.

I hope this new album will allow listeners to eavesdrop on the early days of my tenure here at King’s; days of both joy and uncertainty as the world grappled with Covid-19. The Christmas we all endured in 2020 was like none before, and this recording captures a very unusual, private and lonely Christmas as we did all we could to keep our fragile tradition going, and to be ready for Christmas Eve.
Daniel Hyde, Director of Music

1 Once in royal David’s city (desc. Stephen Cleobury) Henry Gauntlett arr. Arthur Henry Mann & David Willcocks 5:06
2 A tender shoot Otto Goldschmidt 2:09
3 How shall I fitly meet thee? Johann Sebastian Bach, trans. John Troutbeck 1:20
4 In the bleak midwinter Harold Darke 4:57
5 Of the Father’s heart begotten Traditional, arr. David Willcocks 4:48
6 Angels, from the realms of glory French traditional, arr. Reginald Jacques 3:43
7 An Old Carol (I sing of a maiden) Roger Quilter 2:50
8 In dulci jubilo German traditional, arr. Robert Lucas de Pearsall & Daniel Hyde 3:36
9 The angel Gabriel Philip Moore 4:02
10 O come, all ye faithful (desc. Chrisopher Robinson & David Hill) Adeste fideles, arr. David Willcocks 7:25
11 Sussex Carol (On Christmas night) English Traditional, arr. Ralph Vaughan Williams 2:17
12 While shepherds watched their flocks by night (desc. Nicholas Marston & Daniel Hyde) Este’s Psalter, after Christopher Tye 2:52
13 Thou who wast rich beyound all splendour French Traditional, arr. Charles Herbert Kitson & Daniel Hyde 3:33
14 The Shepherd’s Cradle Song (Wiegenlied) Karl Leuner, arr. Charles MacPherson 4:04
15 In the bleak midwinter Gustav Holst, arr. Mack Wilberg 5:54
16 As I sat on a sunny bank (I saw three ships) English Traditional, arr. Elizabeth Poston & Daniel Hyde 1:52
17 Still, still, still German Traditional, arr. Bob Chilcott 2:47
18 Prelude to ‘Hark! the herald angels sing’ Matthew Martin 1:04
19 Hark! the herald angels sing (desc. Philip Ledger) Felix Mendelssohn 3:25
20 Improvisation on Adeste, fideles Francis Pott 6:36
Total playing time – 74:32


Recorded at 192kHz 24-bit PCM in the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, by kind permission of the Provost and Fellows, December 2020 and 25 June 2021.

Producer and engineer Benjamin Sheen
Mixing and mastering Benjamin Sheen
Dolby Atmos engineer Simon Kiln

Cover design Benjamin Sheen & David Millinger
Cover image Leon Hargreaves
Layout design David Hawkins (Untitled Studio)
Content layout David Millinger
Booklet editors David Millinger & Benjamin Sheen
Booklet photographs Benjamin Sheen / King’s College, Cambridge (pp 3, 15, 16 & 18), Leon Hargreaves (pp10 & 32)