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Christmas Carols: From Village Green to…

Christmas Carols: From Village Green to Church Choir (2014)

by Andrew Gant

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Fascinating stories of how many of our popular Christmas carols came to be. Thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening read! ( )
  cbinstead | Dec 20, 2015 |
Christmas Carols is charming, highly readable history of popular Christmas carols, mostly English, but a few American as well. Organized vaguely by theme, each chapter tells the story of a carol followed by the song's text set to music of its most common arrangement(s). The introduction is also very, very interesting, focusing on the the history of the word "carol" and of carols themselves. Originally they could be about anything, and only later did they become solely associated with religion and in particular with Christmas. Anyone with an interest in history and a fondness for carols may want to seek this one out. Highly recommended. ( )
  inge87 | Jan 2, 2015 |
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added by inge87 | editThe Guardian, Kathryn Hughes (Dec 17, 2014)
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English Christmas carols are a hotchpotch, like the English themselves.
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Everyone loves a Christmas carol - in the end, even Scrooge. They have the power to summon up a special kind of midwinter mood, like the aroma of mince pies and mulled wine and the twinkle of lights on a tree. It's a kind of magic. But how did they get that magic? In Christmas Carols Andrew Gant tells the story of some twenty carols, each accompanied by lyrics and music, unravelling a captivating - and often surprising - tale of great musicians and thinkers, saints and pagans, shepherd boys, choirboys, monks and drunks. We delve into the history of such favourites as 'Good King Wenceslas', 'Away in a Manger' and 'The Twelve Days of Christmas', discovering along the way how 'Hark, the Herald angels sing' came to replace 'Hark, how all the welkin ring' and how Ralph Vaughan Williams bolted the tune of an English folk song about a dead ox to a poem by a nineteenth-century American pilgrim to make 'O little town of Bethlehem'. Christmas Carols brims with anecdote, expert knowledge and Christmas spirit. It is a fittingly joyous account of one of our best-loved musical traditions. List of carols: The Angel Gabriel O Come, O Come Emmanuel The Boar's Head Carol O, Christmas Tree The Holly and the Ivy I Saw Three Ships O Little Town of Bethlehem In dulci jubilo O Come, All Ye Faithful (Adeste fideles) While Shepherds Watched The Fleecy Care Ding dong! Merrily on High Angels from the Realms of Glory Hark, the Herald Angels Sing The Christ-child's Lullaby Away in a Manger Good King Wenceslas Personent hodie Here We Come a-Wassailing The Twelve Days of Christmas We Three Kings What Child is This?… (more)

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