Showing posts from December, 2018
Bury Bach Choir sings Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols

The centrepiece of the Bury Bach Choir’s carol concert this year, at the church of St Peter and St Paul in Lavenham, will be Benjamin Britten’s delightful A Ceremony of Carols.

Mainly written in 1942 during his sea crossing from the USA back to Britain (‘one had to alleviate the boredom!’, Britten wrote to a friend), the collection of eleven movements takes its text from The English Galaxy of Shorter Poems and is mainly in Middle English, with some parts in Latin.

Britten and Peter Pears were sailing across the Atlantic on a Swedish cargo vessel which called in at Halifax, Nova Scotia, where Britten bought his copy of the poems, eventually setting five of them to music. The voyage was clearly uncomfortable as well as dangerous at the height of World War II, with German U-boats everywhere. Pears described their cabin as ‘miserable, very near the huge provisions Ice Box, and the smell & heat were intolerable, & it was diff…