I love obscure tunes and the history behind them. For example I learned that Coventry Carol has a long history that dates all the way to the 16th century. And learning about one song will also encourage you to look at the wide vast of knowledge that covers holiday tunes.
Once in Royal David’s City is not something you get to hear in mainstream recordings(of pop and non pop singers). But Celtic Woman took the chance to pin this wonderful gem. So and I learned something about this Christmas carol. Here’s an interesting info from Wikipedia:
Originally written as a poem by Cecil Frances Alexander. The carol was first published in 1848 in Miss Cecil Humphreys’ hymnbookHymns for little Children. A year later, the English organist Henry John Gauntlett discovered the poem and set it to music. Cecil Humphreys, meanwhile, married the AnglicanclergymanWilliam Alexander in 1848 and upon her husband’s consecration became a bishop’s wife in 1867. She is also remembered for her hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful.
Since 1919, the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at the King’s College ChapelCambridge has begun its Christmas Eve service, with Dr Arthur Henry Mann‘s arrangement of “Once in Royal David’s City” as the Processional hymn. Mann was organist at King’s between 1876 and 1929.In his arrangement, the first verse is sung by a boy chorister of the Choir of King’s Chapel as a solo. The second verse is sung by the choir, and the congregation joins in the third verse. Excluding the first verse, the hymn is accompanied by the organ. This carol was the first recording that the King’s College Choir under Boris Ord made for EMI in 1948. Among others who have recorded it are Mary Chapin Carpenter, The Chieftains, Daniel O’Donnell, The Seekers, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Petula Clark, Jethro Tull, Sinéad O’Connor and Sufjan Stevens, St. Paul’s Choir School and most recently by the Irish group Celtic Woman in their album Voices of Angels.
Now this blog is not just about that one song but about an album that contains twenty Christmas tunes from Celtic Woman. I think this is also a ‘practical’ approach because when we are hosting a party, we don’t want an album to end too soon and then we are forced to put a new album in (I am an albums kind of guy as opposed to playlist) and this is it!
The Best of Christmas has a more Classical Pop appeal than Celtic. For Jazz lovers there are swinging songs like Let it Snow. I love this song so much as I always associate Christmas with something Jazzy.
Yes twenty songs will not disappoint you. Better grab this album while it is hot!