07 December 2018

‘In Dulci Jubilo’: a new
Christmas recording by
Lichfield Cathedral Choir

Patrick Comerford

Throughout Advent, my reflections each morning are guided by the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency, USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), and the Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar for 2018 being used in Lichfield Cathedral.

If your looking for an appropriate small gift for Christmas or a stocking filler, Lichfield Cathedral Choir has released a new CD of Christmas music, In Dulci Jubilo (2018). This is a selection of festive favourites, old and new, many of them with a uniquely Lichfield twist, making this the perfect playlist for setting the Christmas mood.

Lichfield Cathedral Choir is directed by Ben Lamb, and the organ is played by the Cathedral Organist, Martyn Rawles, and the Organ Scholar, Maksymilian Adach.

This selection of Christmas music from Lichfield Cathedral, totalling 21 tracks, in recorded with VIF Records.

We are 100 years on from the Armistice that brought an end to World War I, and so, appropriately, the central message of the CD is of peace on earth. The title track, In Dulci Jubilo, ‘In Sweet Rejoicing’ (11), is an old German carol dating back to at least the 14th century if not earlier, arranged by Benjamin Lamb, with the last verse harmony by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Here, the listener is invited to reflect on music as a great leveller, bringing people from all languages into harmony with one another:

In dulci jubilo,
Nun singet und seid froh!
Unsers Herzens Wonne
Leit in praesepio;
Und leuchtet wie die Sonne
Matris in gremio.
Alpha es et O!

Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart, and soul, and voice;
Give ye heed to what we say:
News! News!
Jesus Christ was born to-day:
Ox and ass before him bow,
And he is in the manger now.
Christ is born today! Christ is born today.

[In sweet rejoicing,
now sing and be glad!
Our hearts’ joy
lies in the manger;
And it shines like the sun
in his mother’s lap.
You are the alpha and omega!

The full playlist is:

1, ‘Once in royal David’s city,’ treble soloists, James Sutton, Katherine Carter and Eilidh Owen.

2, ‘Hodie Christus natus est,’ Francis Poulenc.

3, ‘The Angel Gabriel’ (Basque Noel), arranged by Benjamin Lamb; trio: Robin Morton (tenor), David Werry (tenor) and Paul Whitehall (bass); organ, Maksymilian Adach.

4, ‘A Spotless Rose,’ Herbert Howells; baritone soloist, Francis Ambrose.

5, ‘O come, all ye faithful,’ melody probably by JF Wade, arranged by David Willcocks.

6, ‘A ship comes sailing onwards,’ Benjamin Lamb; soloists, James Sutton (treble); Robin Morton (tenor).

7, ‘In the bleak midwinter,’ Harold Darke; soloists, Lucy Wheat, Thomas Adams and Charlie Ward (trebles); Robin Morton (tenor).

8, ‘Lux Aurumque,’ Eric Whitacre; treble soloist, Isabella Dawson.

9, ‘O little town of Bethlehem,’ harmony by Ralph Vaughan Williams; last verse arrangement by Thomas Armstrong.

10, Organ Solo, ‘In dulci jubilo’ (BuxWV197), Dietrich Buxtehude; organ, Maksymilian Adach.

11, ‘In Dulci Jubilo,’ Old German carol, arranged by Benjamin Lamb; last verse harmony by Johann Sebastian Bach; tenor soloist, David Werry.

12, ‘Lully, lulla, thou little tiny child,’ Kenneth Leighton; treble soloist, Charlie Ward.

13, ‘God rest you merry, gentlemen!’ English traditional carol arranged by David Willcocks.

14, ‘Ding dong! Merrily on high,’ French traditional carol arranged by David Willcocks; organ, Maksymilian Adach.

15, ‘Shepherd’s pipe carol,’ John Rutter.

16, ‘As with gladness men of old,’ melody by C Kocher, adapted by WH Monk; last verse arrangement by Benjamin Lamb.

17, ‘When Jesus our Lord was born,’ Felix Mendelssoh; treble soloist, Eilidh Owen; trio, Robin Morton and Daniel Antrobus (tenors) and Nigel Argust (bass).

18, ‘Come! See the infant King,’ Disraeli Brown; baritone soloist, Francis Ambrose.

19, ‘Christmissal,’ Benjamin Lamb; bass soloist, Nigel Argust (bass).

20, ‘Hark, the herald angels sing,’ Felix Mendelssohn; last verse arrangement by Benjamin Lamb.

21, Organ Solo, ‘In dulci jubilo’ (BWV729), Johann Sebastian Bach.

This CD was recorded in Lichfield Cathedral earlier this year, on 12-14 June 2018, by Andrew Post and Ben Lamb, and was edited by Ben Lamb and Andrew Post.

The cover photograph of Lichfield Cathedral was taken during last winter’s snow in Lichfield by Steve Johnson of Lichfield Cathedral School who lives in the Cathedral Close.

You can to excerpts from this new Christmas CD HERE.

You can buy it HERE or in the Cathedral Gift Shop. Cost £14 + £2.50 p&p for each order. All the proceeds from the sale of the CD go to support the Choir Projects Fund.

Praying in Advent with USPG
and Lichfield Cathedral
(7): 7 December 2018

Saint Ambrose of Milan (left) and Saint Gregory the Great (right) in a pair of mosaics in the apse of the Church of the Holy Name in Ranelagh, Dublin (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

Patrick Comerford

Today, the Church Calendar commemorates Saint Ambrose of Milan [7 December]. Throughout the season of Advent this year, I am spending a short time of prayer and reflection each morning, using the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency, USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), and the Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar for 2018 being used in Lichfield Cathedral.

USPG, founded in 1701, is an Anglican mission agency supporting churches around the world in their mission to bring fullness of life to the communities they serve.

USPG is the Anglican mission agency that partners churches and communities worldwide in God’s mission to enliven faith, strengthen relationships, unlock potential, and champion justice.

Under the title Pray with the World Church, the current USPG prayer diary (7 October 2018 to 16 February 2019), offers prayers and reflections from the Anglican Communion.

We are in the middle of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, and the USPG Prayer Diary begins this week with an extract from a speech given at this year’s USPG Conference, ‘All Things Are Possible,’ in High Leigh by Jessica Richards, co-ordinator for Campaigns and Advocacy in the Church of South India.

The USPG Prayer Diary:

Friday 7 December 2018:

Give thanks for the support of USPG for gender justice programmes run by churches in the Anglican Communion in Asia and Africa.

Saint Ambrose among the Seven Fathers of the Church carved above the south door of Lichfield Cathedral … (from left): Saint Augustine, Saint Jerome, Saint Ambrose, Saint Gregory, Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Athanasius and Saint Basil (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Lichfield Cathedral Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar:

Lichfield Cathedral’s Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar for 2018 suggests you light your Advent candle each day as you read the Bible and pray. It suggests setting aside five to 15 minutes each day.

Buy or use a special candle to light each day as you read and pray through the suggestions on the calendar. Each week there is a suggestion to ‘eat simply’ – try going without so many calories or too much rich food, just have enough. There is a suggestion to donate to a charity working with the homeless. There is encouragement to pray through what you see and notice going on around you in people, the media and nature.

The calendar is for not only for those who use the Cathedral website and for the Cathedral community. It is also for anyone who wants to share in the daily devotional exercise. The calendar suggests lighting your Advent candle each day as you read the Bible and pray.

Today, the Church Calendar in Common Worship commemorates Saint Ambrose of Milan. Today’s suggested reading is Matthew 9: 27-31.

The reflection for today suggests:

Reflect on the times when you have received a blessing or a gift. Think about what use you have made of it.

Readings (Common Worship):

Readings (Revised Common Lectionary, the Church of Ireland):

Isaiah 29: 17-24; Psalm 27: 1-14, 16-17; Matthew 9: 27-31.


Almighty God,
Give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light
now in the time of this mortal life
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion Prayer:

God our deliverer,
Awaken our hearts
to prepare the way for the advent of your Son,
that, with minds purified by the grace of his coming,
we may serve you faithfully all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Yesterday’s reflection.

Continued tomorrow.