A feast of festive music

Our Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols took place at 4pm on Sunday 23 December. This service, in the format made famous by King’s College, Cambridge, retold the story of the Nativity in readings from Scripture and Carols old and new. Many favourite Christmas hymns also featured.

The Midnight Eucharist on Christmas Eve was attended by a capacity congregation – both transepts were full in addition to the Nave – and the Sung Eucharist on Christmas morningwas also well-attended. Romsey Abbey, an imposing Norman edifice dating from the Tenth Century, is indeed an inspiring location in which to celebrate Christmas.

A couple of other memorable services took place earlier in the month. The Advent Procession on Sunday 2 December used all four corners of our Norman Abbey as the setting for music ranging from mediæval Plainsong to anthems from the Twentieth Century.

On Sunday 16 December, the Gentlemen of the Choir sang Choral Evensong to music by the Tudor composers Thomas Tallis, John Shepherd and Thomas Tomkins. The music flows effortless onward to the ear of the listener, yet demands formidable concentration from those who sing it.