Christmas Lullaby (1989) and Star Carol (1972) were both written for The Bach Choir and its then conductor, Sir David Willcocks, for performance at the choir’s hugely popular Christmas concerts in London’s Royal Albert Hall. These events had been part of Rutter’s life since childhood, when he attended as a member of the audience. He subsequently graduated to the job of making last-minute musical arrangements backstage. Christmas Lullaby was written to mark Willcocks’s seventieth birthday, as one of three commissioned carols – the others being by William Mathias and Willcocks’s son Jonathan. Star Carol answered the brief to write a piece with a refrain which could be learnt and sung by children during the concert – they were to enter at the point ‘See his star shining bright’.
from notes by Andrew Green © 2001