Outlook Issue 26 Winter 2018
News and Views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
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Music for Christmas
What is it that makes a piece of Christmas music? One answer to that might be the carols we regard as traditional, such as ‘Hark the herald angels sing’, ‘Once in Royal David’s city’ and ‘Silent night’. In fact, these three carols are not really traditional at all, as they date from the 19th century. There are, however, many traditional carols of much older provenance, such as ‘The Boar’s Head Carol’. Many were rediscovered and collected by musicians like Cecil Sharp and Ralph Vaughan Williams in the early 20th century. These carols later inspired Vaughan Williams to use three of them – ‘The truth sent from above’, ‘Come, all you worthy gentlemen’ and ‘On Christmas night’ – in his Fantasia on Christmas Carols, written for the 1912 Three Choirs Festival in Hereford. Other carols are also alluded to, including ‘The first Noël’. There is a good recording on Naxos 8570439, along with a much later Christmas work, ‘Hodie’. During the 20th and 21st centuries a lot of Christmas music has been specially composed for Christmas, much of it inspired by the enduring appeal of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College Cambridge (pictured*). King’s have established a tradition of commissioning a new piece to be sung each year. Although not written for King’s, Herbert Howells’ ‘Three carol anthems’ (1918-20) encapsulate the wonder of Christmas and are justly famous. There is a good recording of these carols – ‘A spotless rose’, ‘Sing lullaby’ and ‘Here is the little door’ – on Hyperion CDA67494. The first and most famous of them is a setting of a 14th-century German text translated into English, neatly tying us back to earlier traditions. John Penny * https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9400329 What’s on NOVEMBER 18 Friends Woodbridge Prom: Farlingaye Chamber Choir St Mary’s Church 21 Holy Communion 1000 & 1200 in church 21 Christmas Parish Lunch 1230 Church Centre 24 Christmas Fair 1000-1200 Church Centre DECEMBER 1 Woodbridge Choral Society Christmas Concert 1930 St Mary’s Church 13 Mothers’ Union: Christmas Carols & Readings 1415 Church Centre 16 Parish Eucharist with Junior Church Christmas presentation 1030 16 Christmas Carol Service 1830 St Mary’s Church 19 Rotary Christmas Carols 1845 Market Hill, Woodbridge 24 Midnight Mass of Christmas 2330 St Mary’s Church 25 Christmas Day services (see p.24) Time to Reflect: Details of current discussion groups on table at back of church Tuesdays: Poppy’s Pantry: Coffee & Light Lunches 1000-1430 Church Centre Mondays & Thursdays: New Horizons Lunch Club 1000-1430 Church Centre