13 Christmas Carols I love
1. What Child is This (Greensleeves)
A popular Christmas carol written in 1865. At the age of twenty-nine, English writer William Chatterton Dix was struck with a sudden near-fatal illness and confined to bedrest for several months, during which he went into a deep depression. Yet out of his near-death experience, Dix wrote many hymns, including "What Child is This?", later set to the traditional English tune "Greensleeves"
2. Riu, Riu Chiu
A Spanish villancico that has attained some contemporary fame as a Christmas carol.
3. Silent Night (Stille Nacht)
A popular Christmas carol. The original lyrics of the song Stille Nacht were written in German by the Austrian priest Father Joseph Mohr and the melody was composed by the Austrian headmaster Franz Xaver Gruber. In 1859, John Freeman Young published the English translation that is most frequently sung today.
4. The First Noel (Nowell) A traditional English Christmas carol, most likely from the 18th century. In its current form it is of Cornish origin, and it was first published in Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (1823) and Gilbert and Sandys Christmas Carols (1833), both of which were edited by William B. Sandys and arranged, edited and with extra lyrics written by Davies Gilbert.
A sacred Christmas carol, composed sometime in the 16th century. The song was published in Piae Cantiones, a collection of Finnish/Swedish sacred songs published in 1582. No music is given for the verses, but the standard tune comes from older liturgical books. The Latin text is a typical medieval song of praise, which follows the standard pattern for the time - a uniform series of four-line stanzas, each preceded by a two-line refrain (in the early English carol this was known as the burden). Carols could be on any subject, but typically they were about the Virgin Mary, the Saints or Christmastide themes.
6. O Come O Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles)
A hymn tune attributed to King John IV of Portugal (although the exact authorship is unknown and disputed). The text itself has unclear beginnings, and may have been written in the 13th century by John of Reading, though it has been concluded that John Frances Wade was probably the author.
7. Little Drummer Boy
A popular Christmas song written by Katherine K. Davis. It was popularised by the version of the Harry Simeone Chorale and has been adapted many times since.
The lyrics tell of a poor young boy who, unable to afford a gift for the infant Jesus, plays his drum for the newborn with the Virgin Mary's approval. The newborn seems to understand and smiles at the boy in gratitude.
(This song ALWAYS makes me cry)
8. Canon in D major (Pachlabel's Canon)
The most famous piece of music by German Baroque composer Johann Pachelbel. Like most other works by Pachelbel and other pre-1700 composers, the Canon remained forgotten for centuries and was rediscovered only in the 20th century. Several decades after it was first published in 1919, the piece became extremely popular, and today it is frequently played at weddings and included on classical music compilations. Not a traditional Christmas song, not written as one, I recognize it as a Christmas Carol due to the following...
9. Christmas Canon
A Christmas song by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra from their 1998 album The Christmas Attic. It has debuted on the iTunes Top 100 download chart at #48 during Christmas time. The song is set to the tune of Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D Major with new lyrics added. The group's rock version is entitled "Christmas Canon Rock", which debuted on their 2004 album The Lost Christmas Eve.
10. Carol of the Bells
is a choral miniature work originally composed by the Ukrainian composer Mykola Dmytrovych Leontovych. The "Carol of the Bells" was premiered in December 1916 by a choral group made up of students at Kiev University. It was introduced to Western audiences by the Ukrainian National Chorus during its concert tour of Europe and the Americas, where it premiered in the United States on October 5, 1921 at Carnegie Hall. It was later adapted into an English language version by Peter Wilhousky in the 1930s, and to this day is performed and sung worldwide during the Christmas season.
11. Good King Wenceslas
A popular Christmas carol about a king who goes out to give alms to a poor peasant on the Feast of Stephen (the second day of Christmas, December 26). During the journey, his page is about to give up the struggle against the cold weather, but is enabled to continue by the heat miraculously emanating from the king's footprints in the snow. The legend is based on the life of the historical Saint Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia (907–935), known in the Czech language as Svatý Václav.
12. Mary Did You KnowMark Lowry wrote the words in 1984 "when his pastor asked him to write the program for the living Christmas tree choir presentation. It was while he was working on the project that Mark considered what it would have been like to have been Jesus' mother".
13. Halleluja Chorus
Originally, Handel wrote The Messiah to be performed at Lent or Easter. Today, however, the Hallelujah Chorus is most popular as a piece of Christmas music.
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