Saturday, 15 December 2012

Christmas Carols - Meaning and CD

 A Traditional Selection

If you are interested in the above collection please go on to the www.huddersfieldchoral.com website for details.

The History 
The first specifically Christmas hymns for Christians that we know of appear in fourth century Rome. Latin hymns such as Veni redemptor gentium, written by Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan, were austere statements of the theological doctrine of the Incarnation in opposition to Arianism. Corde natus ex Parentis(Of the Father's love begotten) by the Spanish poet Prudentius (d. 413) is still sung in some churches today.
In the ninth and tenth centuries, the Christmas "Sequence" or "Prose" was introduced in North European monasteries, developing under Bernard of Clairvaux into a sequence of rhymed stanzas. In the twelfth century the Parisian monk Adam of St. Victor began to derive music from popular songs, introducing something closer to the traditional Christmas carol.
In the thirteenth century, in France, Germany, and particularly, Italy, under the influence of Francis of Assisi a strong tradition of popular Christmas songs in the native language developed. Christmas carols in English first appear in a 1426 work of John Awdlay, a Shropshire chaplain, who lists twenty five "caroles of Cristemas", probably sung by groups of 'wassailers', who went from house to house. The songs we know specifically as carols were originally communal songs sung during celebrations like harvest tide as well as Christmas. It was only later that carols begun to be sung in church, and to be specifically associated with Christmas.
Carols gained in popularity after the Reformation in the countries where Protestant churches gained prominence (as well-known Reformers like Martin Luther authored carols and encouraged their use in worship), this was the consequence of the fact that the Lutheran reformation warmly welcomed music.
Adeste Fideles (O Come all ye faithful) appears in its current form in the mid-18th century, although the words may have originated in the thirteenth century. The origin of the tune is disputed. The first appearance in print of "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen", "The First Noel", "I Saw Three Ships" and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" was in Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (1833) by William B. Sandys. Composers like Arthur Sullivan helped to repopularize the carol, and it is this period that gave rise to such favorites as "Good King Wenceslas" and "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear", a New England carol written by Edmund H. Sears and Richard S. Willis.

My Christmas contribution

Since the beginning of December I have produced daily poetry linked to Christmas. This has varied in style and length but my desire is to add to the seasonal celebration. However, the events in Newtown, Connecticut cannot go unmentioned. Initially words fail me - very unlike me. What can you say to people who have lost children, husbands and wives in such circumstances and what drives a person to commit such acts? Only God knows.

Christmas Carolling

Singing God’s praises
A winter celebration
Chill report of death
©David L Atkinson December 2012


God Bless