Fifteen specially recorded modern Christmas carols – including a new work by Sir John Tavener – are to be broadcast each morning on Radio 3 over the festive period.
The BBC singers will be recording 15 carols, four of which will be given their world premieres, to be aired on the station’s Breakfast show. John Tavener’s carol, A Cradle Song, will set words by William Blake and is to be broadcast on Christmas Eve.
The other 14 carols include works by Richard Rodney Bennett, Carl Rütti and arrangements by David Willcocks and Bob Chilcott, as well as a carol by 16-year-old Kristina Arakelyan. Her work, New Year, won the 2010 Proms Inspire competition for young composers.
All the recordings will be conducted by Bob Chilcott, principal guest conductor of the BBC Singers. The 24-strong vocal ensemble will be joined by 400 amateur choir members for two of the carols – David Willcocks’s arrangement of I Saw Three Ships and Peter Cornelius’s The Three Kings.
Michael Emery, producer for the BBC Singers said it had been ‘huge fun’ choosing the pieces and that the 15 works demonstrated that ‘Christmas and its music still exert a huge fascination for composers.’ The carols will be broadcast at around 7.50 each morning from 18 December to 1 January.