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Sunday, 4 December 2016

Blogmas #4: Top Choral Christmas Carols


*Any ounce of street cred I have is about to plummet* 
Yes we all know the wistful sounds of Silent Night and the crazy descants that really make the old classics soar: ie Hark the Herald Angels, O Little Town of Bethelem and O Come all yee Faithful to name a few. But now that Advent is upon us if your classically/chorally inclined (I regret many of you arn't and will be judging me on my 'uncoolness' with this post but heyho it'd be boring if we all liked the same things!) you may like to know of some christmas choral corkers!
John Rutter
Wexford Carol


The haunting baritone solo (found on Rutter's Christmas Album above but alas not in the video I've attached) is gorgeous, that and the lilting hum of the chorus. It's uplifting and just basically a very nice piece. HA! good start Belinda. I hope to be a bit more descriptive as I go on...

Donkey Carol


The carol sums up the journey of the little donkey and his very important role in the christmas story. The bouncy, skippy accompaniment captures the naivety and meekness of the donkey. 


Wild Wood Carol


The beautiful oboe solo followed by the gentle baritone solo is just so goosebumpy. This piece creates a sense of wintry mystery.


Nativity Carol


A charming piece with a sense of wonderment. Theres a soaring descant for the Sops in the last verse which gives it a bit of climax and oomph to the otherwise wistful lullaby we hear in the rest of the carol.

Dormi, Jesu


This lullaby is exquisite, all the more so when phrases in the music are repeated in a minor key and the end of the piece where Rutter creates a scrutch-tastic effect playing with the harmonies, modulating through different keys. It's very spine-tingling!


What Sweeter Music


Oh I have very little to say about this lovely carol other than, it's like a warm hug.
*cringe*

~

Elizabeth Poston
Jesus Christ The Apple Tree


This medieval-esque carol sounds so pure and has beautiful links to the natural world. 
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Peter Warlock
Bethlehem Down


This hymn is haunting as it poignantly contrasts what happened on the night of the child's birth with what we know will happen on Good Friday. The pentatonic scale in the music echoes the chilling undertones of the hymn's narrative. 

~

Bob Chilcott
Mid-Winter


This arrangement is far better than the better known versions of In the Bleak Mid-Winter. The accompaniment creates a lovely wintery image of snow-falling.

The Shepherd's Carol


This beautiful hymn is in the voice of the Shepherds; simple, ordinary people witnessing the greatest thing that has ever happened. The amazing climax conveys the immensity of what they're witnessing.

~
Torches
John Joubert



This captures the excitement of the birth of Christ. The lullaby verse is in great contrast to the crescendoed canon that rings out with great gusto! If you end up spitting out the 'Ts' onto the conductor, your singing it right!

~

Sherri Porterfield
Something Told the Wild Geese


This haunting piece is poignant as it plays on themes of leaving something behind; going into the unknown. It's another one full of nature and lovely imagery. I sang it at Prep school so it's all very nostalgic to listen to and the piano part is fun to play!

~

What's your favourite Christmas Carol?

Check Out for from my Blogmas series HERE