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Christmas Carols by Andrew Gant
Who can resist a carol? Along with mince pies and mulled wine, they are guaranteed to put you in the Christmas spirit. Whether it’s at Midnight Mass or the school carol concert, or listening to the spine-tingling opening solo to ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ from King’s College’s Christmas Eve broadcast, the urge to join in is just irresistible.
But where exactly does that magic come from? In Christmas Carols Andrew Gant tells the story of some twenty carols, each accompanied by lyrics and music, unravelling a captivating - and often surprising - tale of great musicians and thinkers, saints and pagans, shepherd boys, choirboys, monks and drunks. We delve into the history of such seasonal favourites as 'Good King Wenceslas', 'Away in a Manger' and 'The Twelve Days of Christmas', discovering along the way how 'Hark, the Herald angels sing' came to replace 'Hark, how all the welkin ring' and how Ralph Vaughan Williams bolted the tune of an English folk song about a dead ox to a poem by a nineteenth-century American pilgrim to make 'O little town of Bethlehem'.
Christmas Carols brims with anecdote, expert knowledge and Christmas spirit. It is a fittingly joyous account of one of our best-loved musical traditions and a celebration of a unique part of our heritage.
Andrew Gant is a composer, choirmaster, church musician, university teacher and writer. He has directed many leading choirs including Her Majesty's Chapel Royal and The Guards' Chapel, Worcester College Oxford. He lectures in Music at St Peter's College and St Edmund Hall in Oxford, where he lives with his wife and their three children.
We're lucky enough to be able to give you a sneaky peak inside to view the chapter 'While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks' click the pages below or to really get into the Christmas spirit play the audio!