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  •  

     Once in Royal Davids City

    (Cecil Frances Humphreys Alexander/Henry John Gautlett)

     

    This Christmas carol was written in the 1840s as a poem for children about Bethlehem, possibly during Cecil Alexander's travels throughout Ireland with her husband who was an Anglican bishop.  It was published in her 1848 publication Hymns for Little Children and discovered in there by Henry Gauntlett who set the words to music.  The profits made from this book would later be given by her to help support handicapped children in Northern Ireland.  The carol is played during the procession in the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols that is held every Christmas Eve at King's College, Cambridge, England, and shares the honour of being the only other carol to be performed there annually alongside "Hark The Herald Angels Sing".  In this festival it is sung with the first verse being performed by a soloist, the second by the choir and the third by the congregations. 

     

    Recordings

    The Bach Choir and members of The Philip Jones Brass Ensemble

    London 417 898-2 (CD: O Come All Ye Faithful)

    Organ - John Scott

    Conductor - Sir David Willcocks

     

    Choir of Keble College

    Priory PRCD 708 (CD: The Complete New English Hymnal, Vol. 8) ymna

    Conductor -  Gavin Plumley

    Organ -  Mark Laflin

     

    Choir of King's College, Cambridge

    EMI 66241 (CD: Christmas Carols from Kings College, Cambridge)

    Conductor - Sir David Willcocks

     

    Choir of St. Thomas Church

    Pro Organo 7200 (CD: Christmas on Fifth Avenue)

     

    Clare College Singers and Orchestra

    EMI 69950 (CD: Carols from Clare)

    Conductor - John Rutter

     

    Arturo Delmoni and Nina Bodnar

    JMR 18 (CD: A String Quartet Christmas, Volume 2)

    Violin - Arturo Delmoni

    Violin  Nine Bodnar

     

    Musicians of The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

    North Star NS0035 (CD: And The Angels Sing)

     

    Sources:

    1. http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/once_in_royal_davids_city.htm
    2. http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=4061

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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