In a new book review, Michael White outlines a history of how the English choral tradition was disrupted by the English Reformation and reconstructed in the 1900s, partly through Catholic influence:
On Christmas Eve, the famous Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols will be broadcast from King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, and listeners throughout the world will think how wonderful it is that, in these crazy times […] the great English choral tradition carries on: soothing, consoling, with the same exquisite beauty that it’s cultivated since the Middle Ages.
The idea is an attractive one, but not quite true. And this book tells you in no uncertain terms how far from the truth it is.
The review is on-line at the Catholic Herald.