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Commissioned carol sets Blake poem to music

Thea Musgrave

Thea Musgrave

This year's commissioned carol for A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols has been composed by Thea Musgrave. It is a setting of the William Blake poem 'Hear the voice of the Bard' (1794).

The composer said: "It was with the greatest pleasure that I accepted a commission to write a carol for the famous choir of King's College, Cambridge, and their conductor Stephen Cleobury.

"After much consideration I chose one of the poems from the Songs of Experience by William Blake.

"The poem speaks of how the 'Bard's Voice' calls out to the 'lapséd soul' and for the 'Holy Word' to renew the 'fallen light'. It also calls for the earth to return after a long night; for the dawn to come and so for the sun to reappear."

Musgrave has won numerous awards for her large and varied body of work and received a CBE in 2002. For more information see Thea Musgrave's website.

For more information about the Christmas Eve service see A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.

Hear the voice of the Bard,
Who present, past, and future, sees;
Whose ears have heard
The Holy Word
That walked among the ancient trees;

Calling the lapséd soul,
And weeping in the evening dew;
That might control
The starry pole,
And fallen, fallen light renew!

‘O Earth, O Earth, return!
Arise from out the dewy grass!
Night is worn,
And the morn
Rises from the slumbrous mass.

‘Turn away no more;
Why wilt thou turn away?
The starry floor,
The watery shore,
Is given thee till the break of day.'

William Blake (1757 – 1827)

Posted: Wednesday 27 November 2013 | News | News archive