Thursday Thirteen, 1.12: 13 Christmas Carols

Just 13 Christmas Carols (and Advent Hymns) I like, not favs–that’d be a much longer list–but just some I like. Notice there are no secular songs in the list. That’s because, while I feel I can stretch the list to include Advent songs, secular songs are in no way, shape, fashion or form carols. Yes, I know common parlance has pejorated the term ‘carol” to mean, well just about anything a speaker wants it to mean, but I’m not going to enter the sign-symbol-semantics-pejoration thicket today. Just sayin’–ain’t no secular songs that are Christmas carols, not really.

In no particular order:

The First Noel. You probably know the words. Click the link to sing along with an instrumental accompaniment suitable for voices to sing with.

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus (Linked to lyrics and a sample of the tune.)

Away in a Manger (lyrics linked) NOT sung to the crappy, urm, poor tune by James R. Murray that darned near everyone and his dog seems to think fits it well. (OK, the tune’s not crappy, just pedestrian and boring–besides being unsuitable to a wide array of voices including most children’s voices.) Here’s an excerpt of a better tune:

OK, so the tempo it’s played is too fast for singing the song properly, but the tune’s beautiful and works much better with the lyrics when sung at a proper tempo~100bpm.

Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming Powerful text, beautiful tune. Click the link for both the text and an mp3 of Kathleen Battle (!!) singing the song.

The Seven Joys of Mary. The link’s to the lyrics and a really fun performance by The Great Big Sea. (The web page at the link includes a disconcerting misuse of an apostrophe in the title, but I can forgive that for the rollicking recording of this song :-))

Of the Alfred Burt Carols, one is probably the most-sung: Some Children See Him. Follow the link to discover why, if you don’t already know. 🙂

OK, it’s not strictly a Christmas carol, nor is it limited to Christmas alone in its scope (unless one contemplates the Christmas story, as do many, as the story of God’s Gift to mankind), but Lord Of The Dance, although relatively new and neither carol nor even hymn, is a song to gather the thread of Christmas together into a beautiful and full tapestry. (And a suitable use/adaptation of the tune associated with “Simple Gifts” too. :-))

Thou Who Wast Rich Beyond All Splendor. See the lyrics at the link, but listen to the mp3 here (the audio player I was testing on that post is a lil cranky. :-))

O Little Town of Bethlehem. The link’s to a clip from a performance by Neal Davis.

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear. (You’re gonna love that link! Repeated below so you CAN’T miss it! :-)) I’m no fan of the Arthur Sullivan tune mated to the carol text, and I’ve already posted a clip to an arrangement of the tune I do like (in a style I find appropriate for a Christmas Eve service or the like), but here’s areally fun swing band arrangement (and yeh, there’s a sales pitch for the chart at the end of the piece. Oh. Well. :-)). I particularly like the totally inappropriate treatment of the “peace on the earth” segment. Cool. *heh*

Ding Dong Merrily on High The link’s to an interesting and sometimes quite good instrumental arrangement, for those of y’all who like reading along with instrumental scores (you may have to download and install Sibelius Music’s Scorch music player). Here are the lyrics.

Go, Tell It On the Mountain I can’t seem to lay my hands on the arrangement/recording I’m partial to right now, so the link’s to a pdf of a decent arrangement.

Rise Up Shepherd and Follow The link’s to a clip of a credible piano performance. Others by the same performer found here. Lyrics here.

And a bonus, number 14 (even though I could keep on going :-)):

Silent Night I prefer the German lyrics:

Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
Alles schl�ft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute heilige Paar.
Holder Knab im lockigen Haar,
Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh!
Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh!

Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
Gottes Sohn! O wie lacht
Lieb� aus deinem g�ttlichen Mund,
Da schl�gt uns die rettende Stund,
Christ in deiner Geburt!
Christ in deiner Geburt!

Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
Die der Welt Heil gebracht,
Aus des Himmels goldenen H�hn
Uns der Gnaden F�lle l��t seh�n
Jesum in Menschengestalt,
Jesum in Menschengestalt

Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
Wo sich heut alle Macht
V�terlicher Liebe ergo�
Und als Bruder huldvoll umschlo�
Jesus die V�lker der Welt,
Jesus die V�lker der Welt.

Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
Lange schon uns bedacht,
Als der Herr vom Grimme befreit,
In der V�ter urgrauer Zeit
Aller Welt Schonung verhie�,
Aller Welt Schonung verhie�.

Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
Hirten erst kundgemacht
Durch der Engel Alleluja.
T�nt es laut aus Fern und Nah:
Christ, der Retter ist da!
Christ, der Retter ist da!

Linked at the Thursday Thirteen Hub and at the Christmas Alliance HQ and submitted to the Carnival of Christmas.

And trackposted to Pirate’s Cove, Rightwing Guy, Stuck On Stupid, The Random Yak, , and Pursuing Holiness, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

5 Replies to “Thursday Thirteen, 1.12: 13 Christmas Carols”

  1. Thanks. I felt as though I had come late to “Lo, How a Rose… ” when I I was in high school (40-*mumble* years ago :-)) sang in the changed voices section of a boys’ choir and heard it for the first time, then.

    It’s been a fav of mine ever since.

  2. ok ok ok Mr Music apologies for the misuse of the
    term “carols”…lol..inspiring list ya got there..not quiet
    Rudlof the red nose Reindeer, but I guess thats the point! 🙂
    (fished u outta the spammy filter as always!.heh)

  3. We sang, “Lo, A Rose…” when I visited the Presbyterian church last year during Advent.

    I have a Nat King Cole Christmas Cd and several of your favorites are on it. I’ll be sure to bring it by.

    And James Taylor chose to include Some Children See Him on his, along with a fun Go Tell It On The Mountain arrangement that you might enjoy.

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