Michael Berkeley composes Christmas commissioned carol
The composer of this year's commissioned Christmas carol is British composer Michael Berkeley, who has set to music a the traditional 15th century Christmas text This Endernight. The carol will receive its first public performance at A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.
Michael Berkeley is a Fellow of the Royal Northern College of Music and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, and in 2012 he was appointed a CBE for services to music in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Michael is also the son of Lennox Berkeley, who was the first composer commissioned by Stephen Cleobury to write for A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols in 1983.
About the new carol, Berkeley writes:
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.
This Endernight will be performed during the Christmas Eve service which will be broadcast live on BBC Radio and public radio stations around the world. The carol will also become available as a download immediately following the service through the Apple iTunes Store.
For more on commissioned carols see the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols page. The 2016 service booklet for A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols will be made available on the King’s College website in December.