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Carols for a Victorian Christmas

Carols for a Victorian Christmas

Ref: CDG1004

24 tracks 63 min
Click here to preview trk 5

A Victorian Christmas re-created, with the world-renowned boys' choir of Magdalen College, Oxford singing carols, plus church bells, choirs, brass groups, music boxes and parlour piano, in a musical evocation of Christmases past.

Price    9.99

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Victorian Carols
Christmas Songs and Music from Victorian England

The Victorians almost re-invented Christmas trees and carol singing after decades of neglect of our major festival. This recording assembles a variety of Victorian Christmas music from the sounds of street musicians to drawing room songs, from Polyphons and organs to bells and church choirs.

1 Church Bells
2 God rest you, merry gentlemen
The choir of Magdalen College, Oxford
3 Twas in the winter cold
The choir of Magdalen College, Oxford
4 Cantique de Noël - Adam
Martin Souter
5 The Mistletoe Bow
Polyphon 19 5/8" disc player, Leipzig 1898
6 O little town of Bethlehem
Fine Arts Brass
7 What shall we sing at Christmas?
Lesley Echo Ross, Jozik Koc, Martin Souter
8 Hark the herald angels sing
Regina disc player 15 ½", USA early 20th century
9 The Song of the Robin Redbreast
Lesley Echo Ross, Martin Souter
10 In dulci jubilo - F Liszt
Martin Souter
11 We three Kings of Orient are
The choir of Magdalen College, Oxford
12 See amid the winter's snow
The choir of Magdalen College, Oxford
13 Sleep, Holy babe
The choir of Magdalen College, Oxford
14 Es ist ein Ros - J Brahms
Martin Souter
15 Good King Wenceslas
Regina 15 ½" disc player, USA, early 20th century
16 Jesu, joy of man's desiring - JS Bach
Fine arts Brass Ensemble
17 The Wassail Song
The choir of Magdalen College, Oxford
18 Landlord fill the flowing bowl
Fine Arts Brass
19 Good Christian men rejoice
The choir of Magdalen College, Oxford
20 O come all ye faithful
Polyphon 14 ½" disc player with 12 bells, Leipzig 1901
21 Hallelujah - GF Handel
Harrogate Choral Society
22 In dulci jubilo - JS Bach
Martin Souter
23 Auld Lang Syne
Player piano
24 Church Bells

This compilation p and c 1998 Classical Communications
Cover picture: A Merry-Go-Round on the Ice, 1888 (watercolour) by Robert Barnes (1840-1895) Mallet Gallery/Bridgeman Art Library
Mechanical instruments courtesy of Keith Harding's Museum of Mechanical Music, Northleach, Glos.


Victorian Carols
Christmas Songs and Music from Victorian England

The Victorians almost re-invented Christmas trees and carol singing after decades of neglect of our major festival. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert led the changing style of Christmas as it became a real family occasion for the first time, with presents around the tree and carol singing in the home and on the street. This recording assembles a variety of Victorian Christmas music from the sounds of street musicians to drawing room songs, from mechanical instruments and organs to bells and church choirs.

This varied selection of music reflects both the pious and robust sides to the Victorian musical style. Vigorous carols such as God rest you merry gentlemen (track 1) mix with gentle ones such as Sleep, holy babe (track 13) and the beautiful and famous See amid the winter's snow (track 12). Adam's powerful Cantique de Noël (Song of Christmas - track 4) contrasts with Liszt's quiet arrangement of In Dulci Jubilo (track 10).

The music of Bach and Handel was a feature of Victorian music making in the choral societies of towns and cities throughout the land and can be heard here in Jesu, Joy (track 16), In dulci jubilo (track 22) and in an all-time favourite Christmas piece, the Hallelujah Chorus (track 21).

The atmosphere of the Victorian Christmas drawing room is recreated here in sentimental songs from around the piano. What shall we sing at Christmas? (track 7) draws together several seasonal songs while the Song of the Robin Redbreast (track 9) may have brought a tear to the Victorian sentimental eye! Music boxes (including the famous Leipzig-made Polyphons) could be heard in the home or in the public bar, to which the carol singers (singing the Wassail Song - track 17) and slightly tipsy musicians might repair after a night of music-making and revelry around the town. In Landlord fill the Flowing Bowl (track 18) the musicians make it sound as though the landlord might have a few problems serving drinks accurately himself!


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