Celebrating the season with music, dance – and the Tooty Ta song!

December 25, 2009 at 6:20 pm (Ballet, Christmas, Music)

For years, I’ve been a great fan of The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. First held on Christmas Eve of 1918, this is a comparatively new tradition at Cambridge University – which  this year has been celebrating the eight hundredth anniversary of its founding. (Yes, you read that right – 800!!)

The Chapel of King’s College is one of the chief architectural glories of England.

King's College Chapel, by JMW Turner

Here is how the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols begins:

Additional selections can be viewed here.


The haunting song “I Wonder As I Wander” has a fascinating history; click here to read about it. Fredericka von Stade sings it in this excerpt from a 1991 Carnegie Hall concert. She is followed by Kathleen Battle, who sings “Mary Had a Baby.”


Here is our favorite Christmas music in the classical repertoire: Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. It is here performed by the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists, led by Sir John Eliot Gardner:


The Nutcracker ballet has become an integral part of most Christmas celebrations. Its history is recounted in this video:

Here is “the Dance of the Mirlitons” in a performance by the Kirov (now the Mariinsky Theatre):

And here is a rather astonishing, seemingly Cossack-inspired version of the Russian dance , choreographed by Alex Kalinin:


Finally, this has nothing directly to do with the holidays – except to remind us to cherish the children!

1 Comment

  1. June Horner said,

    GOOD STUFF ! Thanks for all the delightful links…including Pre-K “Tooty Ta’ song..

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