It's getting close to Christmas, and today we are in Norfolk to hear from Norwich Cathedral Choir, who sing While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night.
The musicians of Norwich Cathedral uphold a tradition of choral worship that stretches back almost unbroken to 1096. The core of the musicians’ work is to provide the highest standard of music for the daily worship that takes place in the Cathedral. The choral repertoire for these services ranges from plainchant and masterpieces of the renaissance, right through to premières of music by contemporary composers.
The Cathedral choir comprises boy choristers, girl choristers, six lay clerks and six choral scholars. In addition, there is Chamber Choir and a Children's Choir.
In today's carol Norwich Cathedral's organ plays a key role. In fact, it is one of the largest pipe organs in the country! The first known references to an organ at Norwich Cathedral date from the 14th century, since when numerous famed organ builders (such as Dallam, Renatus Harris, Byfield and Bishop) have been associated with instruments built here. In 1899 a new five manual organ was built by Norman and Beard, before being badly damaged by fire during a dramatic Evensong on 9 April 1938. The current organ includes 105 speaking stops, 4 manuals and 256 memory channels. One particularly notable feature, added in 1969, is the Cymbelstern. This is a set of 6 bells with a rotating star located high up on the east organ case, which is unusual in an English organ and adds visual interest to the music when it is in use.