Sunday, December 11, 2022

Choir of KIng's College, Cambridge: Hymn to the Virgin

Is this Christmas music? Well, King's College, Cambridge, did include it in their Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols in 2013, which was Benjamin Britten's' centenary year.

He was 16 when he wrote this  As Britten Pears Arts explains:

The text that Britten uses is by an anonymous poet and probably dates from about 1300. It appears in The Oxford Book of English Verse 1250-1900, which he won as a school prize for music. 

It’s a macaronic verse; that is, a poem in which one language is introduced into the context of another. The main body of the choir sings in Middle English and another semi-chorus (or group of soloists) supplies a refrain in Latin.

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