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Saint of the Day: Bl. César de Bus
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Sting plays a 15th-century Christmas carol on a lute

J-P Mauro - published on 11/16/17

This is so much better than the carols playing nonstop on the radio.

There are few musicians who have had the monumental success Sting has enjoyed. Between his solo career and his work with The Police, the artist has released 17 albums and won 16 Grammy Awards. He is one of the best-selling musical artists of all time, with more than 100 million albums sold worldwide.

In 2009, Sting released a Christmas album, If on a Winter’s Night… The record contains folk songs, madrigals, and hymns from a wide range of musical eras, including: “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” and Purcell’s “Now Winter Comes Slowly.” Sting wrote only one original song for the album, “The Hounds of Winter.”

This concert was held in September, 2009, in the Durham Cathedral. Sting performed the album with a band of 35 for a packed house.

“There is no rose of such virtue” is a 15th-century hymn that is a part of the Trinity Carol Roll, the earliest surviving manuscript of English polyphonic music. Sting uses a lute to attempt to recapture the spirit of the ancient hymn, as well as referencing the Near and Middle East, where the Christianity’s history began.

Sting is generally a pretty cool guy, but he went above and beyond while at the Durham Cathedral. Before the concert, Sting took a tour of the grounds with 87-year-old tour guide Lillian Groves. The pop icon was so taken with Lillian that he helped her win an award and become England’s Tourism Superstar of 2016.

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