Friday, January 7, 2011

Beauty in Cambridge

No, this isn’t a post about Chariots of Fire.  But now that I’ve got your attention … I had intended to post this the week after Christmas, but it got displaced by more important and other posts.  But, since today is Russian Orthodox Christmas, it’s sort a kind a appropriate that it be posted today.

On Christmas Eve, I took the opportunity to listen to most of the live broadcast from King’s College in Cambridge of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols (something I had posted about HERE).  During this broadcast, I was absolutely blown away by the choir’s rendition of Swedish composer Jan Sandström’s Det är en ros utsprungen (Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming).  

Those of you who read my post on A German Christmas, here, may remember that this is one of my absolute favorite Christmas hymns, but I have never heard an arrangement such as the one that I heard on Christmas Eve.  I have used the word “ethereal” before to describe a piece of music, but nothing I have ever heard can compare to the other-worldly quality of this arrangement.  As someone commented on the video below, I first wondered what instruments were being used to produce this incredible music, only to finally realize that this transcendent mystical sound was created by human voices echoing through a centuries-old chapel.  It is jaw-droppingly beautiful.

The following video, which is in itself a work of art, utilizes a past performance of the hymn by King’s College Choir.  You’ll probably have to turn your speaker volume way up, but even then it is unfortunately difficult to properly hear this amazing piece of music.  For this reason, I have included a second video of a performance of the hymn by Fecorem, which is slightly better. 

Happy Russian Orthodox Christmas!


  1. Happy Russian Orthodox Christmas! I served my mission in Ukraine, so I like to remember the holiday. Thanks for remembering it with me!

  2. Break out the varenyki! Pierogis! Pelmeni! We have an adopted daughter with ancestors from near Kozelets, NE of Kiev.

  3. I have two nephews who have both returned from Ukraine and Russian missions. And, I am thinking it is time to re-watch "Dr. Zhivago" to get a feel for what Ukraine looks like- I saw the movie a billion years ago, and would like to see it, again.

    I, too, love "ein Ros entsrpungen". I had never heard it before my Mission. Serving in SOuthern Germany brought that beautiful song into my life.

    Thank you for your blog posts- wonderful, as always.

    Good luck with the Brodie Awards. I saw your blog mentioned in many categories. Will you be sharing your millions of dollars in cash prizes with your faithful readers? LOL

    Love and respect, always.

  4. Our big Ukrainian celebration is actually at Easter, when we create a several course meal of all the things you mentioned and invite everyone over.