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This is a priceless record not only of the centenary of the most famous carol service in the world, but of the last to be directed by Sir Stephen Cleobury after 37 years at the helm of chapel music at King’s College, Cambridge. It is a measure of the man’s dedication that he planned and directed it with steely determination despite being gravely ill. All the familiar ingredients are there, including descants and arrangements by Cleobury himself and several of his distinguished predecessors. An effective new carol, ‘O mercy divine’ by Master of the Queen’s Music Judith Weir, a graduate of the college, includes a cello part played by former King’s chorister Guy Johnson. The atmosphere of this very special Christmas Eve afternoon in Cambridge is captured perfectly in a recording to be treasured by all who value Sir Stephen’s immense contribution to choral music.

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