Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"The Lamb"

I'm greatly enjoying all my Christmas music and I've been pulling up a few favorites on YouTube, too. I can't embed this one, but I can send you over to YouTube to see the King's College choir perform John Tavener's setting of William Blake's poem, "The Lamb." I rather enjoy the slightly bizarre quality of the music; it matches up with my mental image of William Blake.


  1. Wonderful! I remember when I first heard this, I think I was about 13, I was really unsure about the slightly discordant parts. But then I heard it again a few years ago and really liked it. Almost like the equivalent of children getting a taste for coffee and orange juice as they grow older - I wonder if our ears get attuned to more unusual harmonies as we hear more?

    I thought of you as I was listening to carols today!

  2. Yes, it took me a couple of listens to start enjoying it, too, but now I'm addicted to the harmonies, especially at the end of each stanza!

    Awww, maybe one of these days we'll be able to attend a carol service together. I'd love to spend the Christmas season in England sometime. It's a pipe dream at this point but who knows... :)

  3. That would be *wonderful*! Well, if you ever do manage to come over, you'd all be very welcome to stay with us - and I'm not just saying that, I really mean it :-)

  4. I first sang this with my church choir when I was about 15. I tend to be an early music junkie, but I love Tavener. You can hear the Russian Orthodox influence in almost everything he's written. All of his works tend to be very close harmonically, but they work. Being the Anglophile you are, you've probably heard his "Song to Athene" that was performed at Princess Diana's funeral, but if not, go check it out. It's stunning. And Chanticleer's recording "Christmas with Chanticleer, featuring Dawn Upshaw" has another wonderful Christmas piece of his on it.

    I always love seeing what treasures on English church music you did up!

    :-) Elizabeth

  5. Wow, Rachel, thanks! Now I want to visit England even more, if that's possible. ;-)

    Elizabeth, I'm actually not familiar with much of Tavener's work, "The Lamb" being about the only one I've heard I think! Thanks for the suggestion; I will check it out. I think my dad might have the Chanticleer CD, I'll have to ask him. I appreciate your recommendations, too! :-)