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MP3 Lone Spring Arts - The 12 Carols of Christmas

The world''s 12 most beloved Christmas Carols, presented in their purest, simplest style.

12 MP3 Songs in this album (51:03) !
Related styles: CLASSICAL: Choral Music, KIDS/FAMILY: Sing-Along/Interactive

People who are interested in The Cambridge Singers should consider this download.

The 12 Carols of Christmas

The Lone Spring Arts Carolers have come to your home, singing the world’s most beloved Christmas Carols. We are your neighbors, we are your friends; and we are happy to present these Carols in the purest, simplest way. We hope this music warms your home and comforts your heart, bringing you hours of Christmas joy.

Why we created The 12 Carols of Christmas:
Robert Emery has been writing the Christmas Concert for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for several years. In his constant search for new music to present, he listens to many Christmas music CDs from many sources. And a pattern began to emerge. The vast number of Christmas CDs available today seem to have one thing in common: only half of the songs on each CD are recognizable as traditional Christmas music. The other half of each CD seems to be obscure music that the Artist wants to “introduce” to the listener. And then Robert began to wonder: where is the Christmas CD that contains the 12 songs I want to hear, presented in a straight-forward way, sung by Christmas Carolers? Where is the Christmas CD that contains the songs I want to hear (and none that I don’t)? It was nowhere to be found. So, the good people at Lone Spring Arts decided to create it themselves.
We created a spreadsheet listing all of the songs contained on currently published Christmas CDs. We entered 3,400 individual song listings from 170 separate Christmas CDs. Then, we asked the computer to count the 12 most popular songs (the 12 most frequently recorded). The results were not terribly surprising. But it was heart breaking to read what ranked just below the 12 most popular: Lo! How a Rose, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, In Dulci Jubilo, Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day, etc. So, we decided to include them, in an abbreviated form. Our friend, Milo Deering, created guitar “fantasies” to honor the beautiful songs that didn’t make it into the “Top 12.”
And those songs that did make it into the “Top 12” are the very best, indeed.

A Brief History of Christmas Carols and Christmas Caroling:
Christmas Caroling is an oral tradition that has been passed from generation to generation. Its exact origins are unknown. Latin Nativity carols first appeared four to five hundred years after the birth of Christ. They began as folk songs and were indelibly associated with Christmas by the 13th century, when Francis of Assisi introduced carols into the formal worship service of the church during a Christmas Midnight Mass.

There was a time when night watchmen passed their time by singing carols. Passersby might give them a treat in return. Friends and families formed small choirs to carol from house to house during the Middle Ages. Their singing would draw people out to listen and enjoy the music. Coins or cakes might be given to the singers, so it was also a way for town folk to earn their Christmas gifts by "singing for their supper."

Though not always welcomed by churches or governments during the Reformation, carols and caroling endured. Christian immigrants from Europe brought their rich caroling traditions with them to the New World.

Today, caroling is an important part of our Christmas season. Caroling is a social and spiritual event that brings people together for hours of cheer. Carolers visit the homes of friends and neighbors, and often include hospitals and retirement communities in their routes.

It''s impossible to know exactly where Christmas Carols or Christmas Caroling originated. However, we do know this: Christmas Caroling can be one of the most joyous experiences of the holiday season. Lone Spring Arts wants you to experience the sweet joy of having Christmas Carolers come to your door. Here we are!

The 12 Carols of Christmas

Deck the Hall
Old Welsh Air C.C. Birchard & Co. 1917
"Deck the Hall" is a traditional Yuletide and New Years’ carol. The “fa-la-la” refrains were probably originally played on the harp. In the eighteenth century Mozart used the tune to “Deck the Hall” for a violin and piano duet. The English words generally sung today are American in origin and date from the 19th century, but the original lyrics are Welsh.
This fanfare is our way of saying, “Hello neighbor! Merry Christmas!” Our Caroling Party has come to your home to share the joy of the season with you. Enjoy!

O Come, All Ye Faithful
from the Catholic Youth’s Hymn Book O’Shea & Co. 1885
Englishman John Francis Wade is credited with the words and collaborated with John Reading to give the hymn a melody and published it around 1751. It became a popular church hymn a century later when Frederick Oakeley translated it into English from Latin.
Our entire Caroling group invites you to join us for our Celebration in Song: The 12 Carols of Christmas. James Franklin leads the Lone Spring Arts Vocal Artists in a route through the neighborhood as we sing for our neighbors and friends. Oh come, all ye faithful, and share this time with us as we sing out our happiness. Join us in our Caroling party.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!
from the English Hymnal Oxford University Press 1907
Lo! How a Rose E’er Blooming from Christmas Carols New and Old Novello, Ewer & Co. 1871
"O Come, O Come Emmanuel" was originally written in Latin text in the 12th Century. The author of the words and composer to the music is unknown. It is believed that the melody was of French origin and added to the text a hundred years later. The Latin was translated into English by John Mason Neale in 1851.
"Lo! How a Rose E’er Blooming" was originally published in 1582 (or 1588) in Gebetbuchlein des Frater Conradus, this 19-stanza Catholic hymn’s focus was Mary, who is compared to the mystical rose praised in the Song of Solomon 2:1: “I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.” The hymn is believed to have originated in Trier, and one source stated that on one Christmas Eve, a monk in Trier found a blooming rose while walking in the woods. He placed the rose in a vase, and placed it before the alter to the Virgin Mary. Some sources indicate the hymn might date back into the 14th Century. By 1609, however, the Protestant’s had adopted the hymn, and changed its focus from Mary to Jesus (citing Isaiah 11:1). According to Keyte and Parrott, in medieval iconography, the tree of Jesse is often depicted as a rose plant. They also note that it’s unclear whether Ros’ (rose) or Reis (branch) was the original reading of line 1. The revision first appeared in Michael Praetorius’ Musae Sioniae in 1609. Praetorius is occasionally mistaken as the author.
We especially enjoyed performing this famous “Chant.” Our singers float on air as they invoke the Holy Spirit to be present among us for this celebration of song.

Joy To The World!
by George F. Handel Hope Publishing Co. 1922
"Joy To The World" is different from many in that it contains overt Christian imagery (Joy to the World, The Lord is come / Let earth receive her King). Its lyrics originated in the Old Testament as published in Isaac Watt''s 1719 translation of the Psalms of David, but it was American composer Lowell Mason who crafted the melody in the 19th century. "Tomorrow Shall Be my Dancing Day" was first published in 1833 but is far older than that. Scholars believe it dates back to the medieval Cornish mystery plays presented during the Christmas season. The tune is lovely but it''s the imagery of man as the true and eternally wooed love of Christ that makes this carol special.
"Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day" ranked number 21 in our list of the 12 most popular Christmas Carols of all time. However, its joyous spirit compelled us to couple it with the #7-ranked song: " Joy To The World." Together, they are the perfect compliment to each other.

What Child Is This?
from Christmas Carols New and Old Novello, Ewer & Co. 1871
The Coventry Carol from Christmas Carols New and Old Novello, Ewer & Co. 1871
"What Child Is This?" is a popular Christmas carol that was written in 1865. At the age of twenty-nine, writer William Chatterton Dix was struck with a sudden near-fatal illness and confined to bed rest for several months, during which time he went into a deep depression. Yet out of his near-death experience, Dix wrote many hymns, including ‘What Child is This?” It was later set to the traditional English melody of "Greensleeves."
The "Coventry Carol" is a Christmas carol dating from the 16th Century. The carol was performed in Coventry as part of a mystery play called The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors. The play depicts the Christmas story from the Gospel of Matthew. This carol presents the Massacre of the Innocents in which Herod orders all male infants in Bethlehem killed. The lyrics of this haunting carol represent a mother''s lament for her doomed child. It is the only carol that has survived from this play.
"What Child is This?" is many people’s favorite Christmas Carol. Our Lone Spring Arts Children’s Choir, under the direction of Misty Miller, performs a hauntingly beautiful version here. Ms Miller’s variation evokes a mysterious night, with large, open landscapes. The song presents a big question, and Ms. Miller infuses the performance, at once, with transcendental ambiguity and perfect clarity.

O Little Town of Bethlehem
from The Army and Navy Hymnal The Century Co. 1920
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear from Christmas Carols New and Old Novello, Ewer & Co. 1871
"O Little Town of Bethlehem," one of America’s most beloved Christmas carols, was also written as a poem. In 1868, Reverend Phillips Brooks wrote the carol after making an emotionally moving trip to the holy land. The music was written by Brooks’ church organist, at the request of Brooks. The organist waited until the last minute to write the music, until he was inspired by a dream. He woke up the next morning, wrote down the melody and offered it to the children at the following morning’s mass.
"It Came Upon the Midnight Clear" is a poem and Christmas carol written by Edmund Sears, pastor of the Unitarian Church in Weston, Massachusetts. It first appeared on December 29, 1849 in the Christian Register in Boston. Sears is said to have written these words at the request of his friend, W. P. Lunt, a minister in Quincy, Massachusetts. In 1850 Richard Storrs Willis, a composer who trained under Felix Mendelssohn, wrote the melody called “Carol”. “Carol” is the most widely-known tune to the song in the USA.
"It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" ranked number 17 in our list of the 12 most popular Carols of all time. However, we loved it too much not to include it, in some form, in our collection of the 12 most beloved Carols. Milo Deering, on guitar, creates an exquisitely sensitive interpretation of this delicate carol.

Jingle Bells or the One Horse Open Sleigh
by J. Pierpont Oliver Ditson & Co. 1859
"Jingle Bells," also known as "One Horse Open Sleigh," is one of the best known and commonly sung secular Christmas songs in the world. It was written by James Lord Pierpont (1822–1893) and copyrighted under the title ‘One Horse Open Sleigh’ on September 16, 1857. The song has been translated into many languages.
Did you ever take a “hayride?” A hayride is a pleasure ride or outing, usually at night, by a group in an open wagon or truck partly filled with hay. Our version of Jingle Bells is the sound of a hayride party, full of laughter. Come along, as we bounce our way across the neighborhood.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
from The Army and Navy Hymnal The Century Co. 1920
This Christmas Carol was written by Charles Wesley, brother of John Wesley founder of the Methodist church, in 1739. A somber man, he requested slow and solemn music for his lyrics and thus “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” was sung to a different tune initially. Over a hundred years later Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) composed a cantata in 1840 to commemorate Johann Gutenberg''s invention of the printing press. English musician William H. Cummings adapted Mendelssohn’s music to fit the lyrics of “Hark the herald angels sing” already written by Wesley.
This song is the perfect example of how Christmas Carols evolve over time. All of the songs on our CD are folk songs, most with indeterminable origins. We have arranged them in the style that is most familiar to us. You may be used to hearing them a slightly different way. However, our hope was to present them in the purest, most recognizable way.

The First Noel or The First Nowell
from Christmas Carols New and Old Novello, Ewer & Co. 1871
Most often, this popular Christmas carol is spelled “The First Noel,” however, this spelling is incorrect. “Nowell” was an English word dating back as far as the fourteenth century, when Geoffrey Chaucer used the term in his medieval masterpiece The Canterbury Tales.
We love this “story song.” We love taking turns telling our portion of the story (singing our own verse). And we love sharing the final verse together. We like to imagine that our particular ararngement represents the sound of an entire community coming together for a common purpose.

Away In A Manger or the Cradle Hymn
from Christmas Carols and Hymns for School and Choir American Book Co. 1910
In the Bleak Mid-Winter from The English Hymnal Oxford University Press 1907
"Away In A Manger" was first published in an 1885 Lutheran Sunday School book by James R. Murray (March 7, 1841 - March 10, 1905), but the author of the first two stanzas is unknown. There are at least two major melodies for the song: one, “Cradle Song”[1], more commonly encountered in the United Kingdom; the other, “Mueller”[2], more commonly found in the United States. The tune commonly used in the United Kingdom was written by William J. Kirkpatrick and was first published in 1895. The tune commonly used in the United States was written by James R. Murray and first published in 1887. It is certain that stanza three was added in 1904 by Dr. John McFarland of New York City. Some have attributed the song to Martin Luther himself. The confusion may have began because Murray published it with the subtitle “Luther’s Cradle Hymn (Composed by Martin Luther for his children and still sung by German mothers to their little ones).”
If this lullaby doesn’t lull your young one to sleep, nothing will. We alternate between two different versions of the melody. Our Lone Spring Arts carolers were divided as whether to perform the “American” version or the “English” version. Therefore, we created a new version by incorporating both. We enjoyed moving back and forth between the two versions and love the way one compliments the other.

Angels We Have Heard On High
from the Catholic Youth’s Hymn Book O’Shea & Co. 1885
In Dulci Jubilo from Christmas Carols New and Old Novello, Ewer & Co. 1871
The words of "Angles We Have Heard On High" are based on a traditional French carol known as "Les Anges dans nos Campagnes" (literally, The Angels in our Countryside). Its most common English version was translated in 1862 by James Chadwick. It is most commonly sung to the hymn tune “Gloria”, as arranged by Edward Shippen Barnes.
We especially love the refrain of this song: Glooooo-oooooo-oooo-ria. This is the sound of Christmas.

Silent Night
by Franz Gruber C.C. Birchard & Co. 1917
Joseph Mohr wrote the words in 1816 while assigned to a pilgrim church in Mariapfarr, Austria. The music was added in 1818 for Christmas Mass in Oberndorf, Austria.
The poem was written by Joseph Mohr two years before he came to Oberndorf where Franz Xaver Gruber was the church organist and choir director.
We think of this song as a meditation…a prayer. Let yourself become quiet and reflective, and let this song gently carry you away. We want to bring you peace. Allow our arrangement to sooth you and calm you. Let go. Listen...and relax.

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