Choirmas is a seasonal blog that re-emerges each December to share the choral music of Christmas and Advent, as performed by some of the most phenomenal liturgical choirs in the Anglican (and Catholic) choral tradition, from chapels, cathedrals, and churches across Britain and around the world.
Inspired by such beloved traditions as the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College, Cambridge and the candlelit Darkness to Light Advent procession at Salisbury Cathedral, I’ve taken it as a yearly project to spread some of this gorgeous sacred music around. Beginning on 1 December , each day leading up to Christmas, this blog will post an assortment of Christmas carols and anthems, Advent hymns and motets, and maybe a few pieces that, while not technically specific to the season or Christian in source, are nevertheless stunning examples of the power of poetry and the grace of the human voice.
We hope that you will follow along and continue to share this music throughout the month. In the meantime, have a beautiful Advent and a peaceful journey toward Christmas.
In the Bleak Midwinter (Holst) Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge
(Holst’s setting, heard here, of Christina Rosetti’s poem takes the form of a hymn; Harold Darke’s anthem setting of the same poem, published five years after Holst’s, is arguably more complex and has been voted the best Christmas carol written. It can be heard here.)
[ If audio doesn’t play on your dash, click here. ]
For the past seven Decembers, this blog has been posting daily Christmas carols performed by some of the most extraordinary cathedral, chapel, abbey, and church choirs in Britain and from around the world. As of December 2015, hundreds of Christmas and Advent carols, hymns, motets, and songs are archived or linked to here.
Below is a list of just some of the lighter, more outright soothing or celebratory and carols that have been featured here over the years. Here, you’ll find the Willcocks descants and brass fanfares as well as the crèche lullabies and soothing-songs.
By no means are all of the past seven years’ worth of carols represented in this list, but you are very welcome to explore the archive to hear more. In the meantime, new carols will continue to post through Christmas Day.
Some particular choices of mine are marked with [*]
Enjoy the music, pass it on, and have a very happy Advent and Christmas.