Michael Berkeley composes new carol for King’s College Cambridge

13 December 2016

Michael Berkeley has been commissioned by King’s College Cambridge to write a new work for this year’s A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. Broadcast live on BBC Radio 4 on Christmas Eve, the service is heard and beloved by millions every year as a part of their Christmas celebrations.

The first performance is conducted by Stephen Cleobury, who also commissioned Michael’s father, Lennox Berkeley, to write a carol for his first Festival back in 1983.

The new carol, called This Endernight, is based on a traditional 15th century Christmas text, about which Berkeley says:

The anonymous c1400 text, This Endernight, is unusual for a carol in that it articulates the voice of the infant Jesus in dialogue with his mother. ‘Ender’ or ‘Endris’ means past or recent. Maternal feelings of tenderness are in abundance but there is also a knowingness about the importance of the event that is unfolding. It is an upbeat lullaby which looks forward to heavenly bliss and so culminates in a radiant cadence.

The service is repeated on BBC Radio 3 on Christmas Day at 2pm, along with Private Passions at midday where Berkeley’s guest is the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu.

More information on the new commission and details of how to download the new carol following it’s premiere can be found on the King’s College Cambridge website

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