From Oxford professor and renowned British composer, a joyous account of the history behind our favorite carols.
Everyone loves a carol--in the end, even Ebenezer Scrooge. They have the power to summon up a special kind of mid-winter mood, like the aroma of gingerbread or the twinkle of lights on a tree. It's a kind of magic.
But how did they get that magic? Andrew Gant--choirmaster, church musician, university professor, and writer--tells the story of some twenty carols, each accompanied by lyrics and music, unraveling a captivating, and often surprising, tale of great musicians and thinkers, saints and pagans, shepherd boys and choirboys. Readers get to delve into the history of such favorites as -Good King Wenceslas, - -Away in a Manger, - and -O, Tannenbaum, - discovering along the way how -Hark, the Herald Angels Sing- came to replace -Hark, how all the welkin' ring- and how Ralph Vaughan Williams applied 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.-
A charming book that brims with anecdote, expert knowledge, and Christmas spirit, this is a fittingly joyous account of one of the best-loved musical traditions.