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Putting together a collection of carols at the beginning of the 21st Century is at once a daunting and a liberating task: tunes and words alike have acquired the privilege of tradition, but also its plasticity. Carols are part of a living ritual which grows and evolves every generation:composers, singers, and listeners have each added their interpretations and memories, which makes finding the 'authentic' version of a Christmas carol usually both hopeless and pointless. The melodies that have survived havemostly done so because they are great tunes, now indelibly associated with the events of Christmas re-enacted and celebrated each year in church, on the street, in the pub and at home. This collection is made up of 24 carols arranged in four sequences, each focusing on a different part of the Christmas story. The arrangements are all new, commissioned by Naxos specially for this recording,and tread a careful line between familiarity and novelty. The customary alternation of unaccompanied verses, descants and last-verse harmony has been followed in most of the best-known carols; but there are also plenty of surprises to be unwrapped. The arrangements are designed for widespread use: it should be possible to sing along with the tune in each verse, while the choral parts are almost never in more than the standard four: soprano, alto, tenor and bass.
Disc: 1
Hail to the Lord's Anointed (arr. A. Pitts)
1 O come, o come, Emmanuel (arr. A. Pitts)
2 Of the Father's heart begotten (arr. A. Pitts)
3 O quickly come
4 Verbum Patris umanatur, O, O (arr. A. Pitts)
5 Lo! He comes (arr. A. Pitts)
6 The holly and the ivy (arr. A. Pitts)
7 Lo, there a Rose is blooming (arr. A. Pitts)
8 Alleluya - a new work (arr. A. Pitts)
9 Ding! dong! merrily on high (arr. A. Pitts)
10 While shepherds watched (arr. A. Pitts)
11 The Song of Angels (arr. A. Pitts)
12 Hark! the herald angels sing (arr. A. Pitts)
13 Silent Night (arr. A. Pitts)
14 Away in a manger (arr. A. Pitts)
15 Baby Jesus, hush! now sleep (arr. A. Pitts)
16 O little town of Bethlehem (arr. A. Pitts)
17 Jesu, the very thought is sweet (arr. A. Pitts)
18 O come, all ye faithful (arr. A. Pitts)
19 Personent hodie (arr. A. Pitts)
20 In dulci jubilo (arr. A. Pitts)
21 Good King Wenceslas (arr. A. Pitts)
22 We three kings of Orient are (arr. A. Pitts)
23 I saw three ships come sailing in (arr. A. Pitts)
24 Hail to the Lord's Anointed (arr. A. Pitts)
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