A0331-CD: A Ceremony of Carols

Benjamin Britten
A Ceremony of Carols
Llandaff Cathedral Girl Choristers
Benjamin J. Creighton Griffiths - Harp

CD Cover A Ceremony of Carols

Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols recorded by Llandaff Cathedral Girl Choristers, Director John York Skinner and Benjamin Creighton Griffiths Harp. School recording made one day after school in February 2009 in aid of the the Llandaff Cathedral Organ Appeal - Patron HRH The Prince of Wales which will receive all proceeds from sales.

Buy this album now CD: £5.00+ p&p 
Artist Profile and catalogue of work - Ben Creighton Griffiths

Audio Samples & Track Listing

1. Procession 1:36
2. Wolcum Yole! 1:34
3. There is no Rose 2:28
4. That yonge child 1:36
5. Balulalow 1:12
6. As dew in Aprille 1:08
7. This Little Babe 1:29
8. Interlude (harp solo) 3:41
9. In Freezing Winter Night 3:18
10. Spring Carol 1:16
11. Deo Gracias 1:25
12. Recession 1:39

CD Notes & Credits

A Ceremony of Carols

It was with the intention of writing a harp concerto, and armed with two instruction manuals on harp-writing that Benjamin Britten boarded a Swedish cargo vessel to return from a three-year American stay to war-torn Britain in March 1942. The five week voyage was long and tedious, but in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Britten found a volume of medieval poems, five of which he set to harp accompaniment on the crossing, and the projected harp concerto was abandoned in favour of the work which was to become the Ceremony of Carols. Balulalow, Wolcum Yole and Spring Carol were added to the original five, and a first incomplete performance was given in Norwich Castle in December 1942.

That yonge child and the beautiful Interlude for solo harp were added later, the whole work being framed by a Procession and Recession based on Hodie, Christus natus est, the plainchant antiphon for the Magnificat sung at second Vespers of the Nativity. The first complete performance of the final version was given at the Wigmore Hall, London, by the Morriston (Swansea) Boys Choir, with the famous Russian harpist, Maria Korchinska. It was conducted by Britten himself.

It was 65 years later that it was recorded by the wonderful fresh voices of the Girl Choristers of Llandaff Cathedral with harpist Benjamin Creighton Griffiths, conducted by John York Skinner.

Proceeds from the sale of this CD will be donated to:
The Llandaff Cathedral Organ Appeal
Patron HRH The Prince of Wales

Llandaff Cathedral Girl Choristers
Director - John York Skinner

Emily Bardo
Francesca Bardo
Alice Cadenhead
Catrin Davidson
Pollyanna Furness
Jennifer Goss
Melanie Goss
Lily Grabham
Rhiannon Haig
Rhiannon Hickinbottom
Bethany Hughes
Annaliese Kruidenier
Hannah Lawlor
Lowri Mumford
Lorna Price
Maebh Pryor
Hannah Raymond
India Taylor-Nayar
Alex Young

Benjamin Creighton Griffiths

12 year old Benjamin has performed in over 175 events across the UK raising over £125,000 for charities including BBC Children in Need, George Thomas Hospice Care, British Heart Foundation & Cancer Research. He has performed at both The European Harp Symposium and The World Harp Congress and in 2008 won first prize in the Under 16 Concours de harpe Lily Laskine, Paris. For further information visit: www.bjcg.co.uk.


Mixed & Produced: Steve Wheel
Recorded: 10 February 2009 in the Chapel of St. Michael’s College, Cardiff
Front Cover Image: Bartholomäus Bruyn Altarpiece, St. Johann Baptist, Essen
Artwork & Printing: Creighton’s Collection www.cccd.co.uk

©2009 The Cathedral School, Llandaff, Cardiff


1. PROCESSION [1’36]
Hodie Christus natus est:
hodie Salvator apparuit:
hodie in terra canunt angeli:
laetantur archangeli:
hodie exsultant justi dicentes:
gloria in excelsis Deo.

2. WOLCUM YOLE! [1’34]
Wolcum be thou hevenè king,
Wolcum Yole!
Wolcum, born in one morning,
Wolcum for whom we sall sing!

Wolcum be ye, Stevene and Jon,
Wolcum, Innocentes every one,
Wolcum, Thomas marter one,
Wolcum be ye, good Newe Yere,
Wolcum Twelfthe Day both in fere,
Wolcum seintes lefe and dare,
Wolcum Yole, Wolcum Yole, Wolcum!

Candelmesse, Quene of bliss,
Wolcum bothe to more and lesse.
Wolcum, Wolcum,
Wolcum be ye that are here, Wolcum Yole,
Wolcum alle and make good cheer.
Wolcum alle another yere,
Wolcum Yole. Wolcum!

3. THERE IS NO ROSE [2’28]
There is no rose of such vertu
As is the rose that bare Jesu.
Alleluia, Alleluia,
For in this rose containèd was
Heaven and earth in litel space,
Res miranda, Res miranda.

By that rose we may well see
There be one God in persons three,
Pares forma, pares forma.
The aungels sungen the shepherds to:
Gloria in excelsis, gloria in excelsis Deo.
Gaudeamus, gaudeamus.

Leave we all this worldly mirth,
and follow we this joyful birth.
Transeamus, Transeamus, Transeamus.
Alleluia, Res miranda, Pares forma,
Gaudeamus, Transeamus.

That yongë child when it gan weep
With song she lulled him asleep:
That was so sweet a melody
It passèd alle minstrelsy.

The nightingalë sang also:
Her song is hoarse and nought thereto:
Whose attendeth to her song
and leaveth the first then doth he wrong.

5. BALULALOW [1’12]
O my deare hart, young Jesu sweit
Prepare thy creddil in my spreit,
And I sall rock thee to my hert,
And never mair from thee depart.

But I sall praise thee evermoir
with sangës sweit unto thy gloir;
The knees of my hert sall I bow,
And sing that richt Balulalow.

I sing of a maiden
that is makèles;
King of all kings
To her son she ches.

He came al so stille
There his moder was,
As dew in Aprille
That falleth on the grass.

He came al so stille
To his moder’s bour,
As dew in Aprille
That falleth on the flour.

He came al so stille
There his moder lay,
As dew in Aprille
That falleth on the spray.

Moder and mayden
was never none but she;
Well may such a lady
Goddes mother be.

This little Babe so few days old,
Is come to rifle Satan’s fold;
All hell doth at his presence quake,
Though he himself for cold do shake;
For in this weak unarmèd wise
The gates of hell he will surprise.

With tears he fights and wins the field,
His naked breast stands for a shield;
His battering shot are babish cries,
His arrows looks of weeping eyes,
His martial ensigns Cold and Need,
And feeble Flesh his warrior’s steed.
My soul, with Christ join thou in fight;
Stick to the tents that he hath pight.
Within his crib his surest ward;
This little Babe will be thy guard.
If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy,
Then flit not from this heavenly Boy.

His camp is pitchèd in a stall,
His bulwark but a broken wall;
The crib his trench, haystalks his stakes,
Of shepherds he his muster makes;
And thus, as sure his foe to wound,
The angels’ trumps alarum sound.

8 INTERLUDE [3’41] Harp Solo

Behold, a silly tender babe,
in freezing winter night,
In homely manger trembling lies.
Alas, a piteous sight!

The inns are full; no man will yield
This little pilgrim bed.
But forced he is with silly beasts
In crib to shroud his head.

This stable is a Prince’s court,
This crib his chair of State;
The beasts are parcel of his pomp,
The wooden dish his plate.

The persons in that poor attire
His royal liveries wear;
The Prince himself is come from heav’n;
This pomp is prizèd there.

With joy approach, O Christian wight,
Do homage to thy King.
And highly praise his humble pomp,
which he from Heav’n doth bring.

10 SPRING CAROL [1’16]
Pleasure it is to hear iwis the Birdès sing,
The deer in the dale, the sheep in the vale,
the corn springing.
God’s purveyance for sustenance,
It is for man.
Then we always to give him praise,
And thank him than.

11 DEO GRACIAS [1’25]
Deo gracias! Deo gracias!
Adam lay i-bounden, bounden in a bond;
Four thousand winter thought he not to long

Deo gracias! Doe gracias!
And all was for an appil, an appil that he tok.
As clerkès finden written in their book.

Deo gracias! Deo gracias!
Ne had the appil takè ben, the appil takè ben,
Ne hadde never our lady a ben hevenè quene

Blessèd be the time that appil takè was.
Therefore we moun singen.
Deo gracias!

12. RECESSION [1’39]
Hodie Christus natus est:
hodie Salvator apparuit:
hodie in terra canunt angeli:
laetantur archangeli:
hodie exsultant justi dicentes:
gloria in excelsis Deo.


Album Information

Instruments: Harp & Voice
Genre: Choral
Format: CD
Our Ref: A0331
MCPS: LM-0009047
Label: Cathedral School, Llandaff
Year: 2009
Origin: Wales (UK)

Recordings & Publications by Benjamin Creighton Griffiths