A Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols: The Centenary Service (Download)


The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge
Henry Websdale & Dónal McCann Organ Scholars
Guy Johnston Cello Soloist

Directed by Sir Stephen Cleobury

The Revd Dr Stephen Cherry Dean
The Revd Andrew Hammond Chaplain
Ian Griffiths Dean’s Verger
Malwina Sołtys Deputy Dean’s Verger

Released 8 November 2019

Available up to 192kHz studio master quality.

Looking for the two supplementary tracks for the CD product? Download them here.

 Available as a cd

“It’s superb, captured in rich, resonant sound with wonderful heft from the organ. A total winner.”
Limelight Magazine

In 2018 Sir Stephen Cleobury and the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge celebrated 100 years of Nine Lessons & Carols, the iconic festival that is enjoyed by millions around the world each year at Christmas time. Now this landmark event is available in its entirety on the official anniversary release from the King’s College label.

In addition to being the 100th anniversary, the 2018 Festival marked the final time that Sir Stephen Cleobury, the College’s longstanding Director of Music, would lead the service before his retirement in September 2019. During his tenure, Cleobury introduced the tradition of commissioning a new carol each year, and this release includes the world premiere of O mercy divine, written by current Master of the Queen’s Music, Judith Weir.

Captured in the highest quality at up to 192kHz and 24-bit audio, A Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols: The Centenary Service is the definitive account of the anniversary and the opportunity to experience a once in a lifetime piece of musical history.

Playing time – 81:55
1 Once in royal David’s City 4:21 H. J. Gauntlett and A. H. Mann, desc. S. Cleobury
2 The Bidding Prayer, Lord’s Prayer and Benediction 3:17
3 Up! good Christen folk 1:20 Piæ Cantiones, harm. G. R. Woodward
4 First Lesson 2:44
5 Adam lay ybounden 1:11 Boris Ord
6 Jesus Christ the apple tree 2:40 Elizabeth Poston
7 Second Lesson 1:03
8 In dulci jubilo 3:05 German traditional, arr. Robert Lucas de Pearsall
9* I saw three ships 2:15 English traditional, arr. Simon Preston
10 Third Lesson 1:08
11 Nowell sing we 3:08 Mediæval, ed. Stephen Cleobury
12 Unto us is born a Son 2:21 Piæ Cantiones, arr. David Willcocks
13 Fourth Lesson 1:59
14 A Spotless Rose 2:45 Herbert Howells
15 The Lamb 3:07 John Tavener
16 Fifth Lesson 2:31
17 Joys Seven 3:15 Traditional, arr. Stephen Cleobury
18 Bogoróditse Dyevo 1:16 Arvo Pärt
19 Sixth Lesson 1:01
20 What sweeter music 4:09 John Rutter
21 Stille Nacht 2:29 Franz Gruber, arr. Philip Ledger
22 Seventh Lesson 1:40
23 In the bleak mid-winter 4:08 Harold Darke
24* While shepherds watched their flocks by night 2:54 After C. Tye, desc. Stephen Cleobury
25 Eighth Lesson 2:45
26 O mercy divine 3:57 Judith Weir
27 Sir Christèmas 1:44 William Mathias
28 Ninth Lesson 2:09
29 O come, all ye faithful 4:23 Adeste fideles, desc. David Willcocks
30 Collect and Blessing 1:06
31 Hark! the herald angels sing 3:25 Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, desc. Stephen Cleobury
32 In dulci jubilo, BWV 729 2:37 Johann Sebastian Bach



Once in royal David’s City George Hill

I saw three ships George Hill

A Spotless Rose Charlie Baigent

Joys Seven Jack Bowley

In the bleak mid-winter James Micklethwaite


During the service the organ was played by the Senior Organ Scholar, Henry Websdale.


Recorded live at 192kHz 24-bit PCM in the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, by kind permission of the Provost and Scholars, 24 December 2018.

With thanks to Steve Richards and the BBC Radio Outside Broadcast team.

Read more about the 1918 service booklet in the news story.

1918 Service Paper