You knew I’d sneak some Ian Bostridge in here somewhere, right? And what could be better than a little more Messiah?
The text of this piece is read at every Advent Carol service I’ve been to – it’s another prepare ye the way of the Lord text (and now I have the Godspell version in my head), though I think it’s actually from Isaiah and not from the New Testament at all.
Look, in all honesty, I feel silly talking about the significance of this piece of music here – it really is, I think, a piece that needs no introduction, except, perhaps, to say that it is one of those pieces of music that really makes Advent for me, and is in my head during most of December. Indeed, I believe it was the inspiration for last year’s Advent Calendar, because we missed out on hearing it at last year’s service. And then my friend Lea pointed me at this recording by Ian Bostridge, and I loved it, and thus my first big opera crush was born. He truly has one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever heard. I hope you love this recording as much as I do.
(NB: You need to listen to both parts of it together – they are part of the same piece, but some obnoxious person has put an ad at the start of Ev’ry Valley, which is a terrible shame. I wish I could find a version where they didn’t, but I can’t.)
Edited December: Alas, Ian Bostridge’s ‘Comfort Ye’ can no longer be found on YouTube. But his Ev’ry Valley is still magnificent.