Celtic Christmas

Celtic Christmas

Ref: CDG1205

Celtic Christmas

A Celtic album with a difference: medieval and renaissance sounds without any of the syrupy harmonies and electronic sounds that often pass as 'Celtic'. From the beautiful Scottish cradle song 'Balulalow' to 'Nos galen' and 'Auld lang syne', this album promises to be different; and genuinely inspired by the Celtic muse!
1 Balulalow
Sara Stowe & Matthew Spring
2 Verbum patris umanatur
The Choir of Queens' College, Cambridge directed by James Weeks
3 Nou let us sing
Sara Stowe & Matthew Spring
4 Nos galen - Deck the halls
Ian Giles, Jon Boden, Giles Lewin
5 We wish you a merry Christmas
Ian Giles, Jon Boden
6 Tomorrow shall be my dancing day
Ian Giles, Jon Boden, John Spiers, Giles Lewin
7 The fader of heven
The Choir of Queens' College, Cambridge directed by James Weeks
8 Lullay, lullow
Ian Giles, Jon Boden, Giles Lewin, John Spiers
9 Once in Royal David's City
The Choir of Worcester College, Oxford directed by Christopher Sparkle
10 The First Nowell
Ian Giles, Jon Boden
11 Hark the Herald Angels Sing
The Choir of Worcester College, Oxford directed by Christopher Sparkle
12 See amid the winter's snow
The Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford directed by Bill Ives
13 All sons of Adam
Sara Stowe, Matthew Spring, Jon Banks, Heather Birt
14 Amazing Grace
Niall Mushet
15 Adeste Fideles
Martin Souter
16 Jesu, joy of man's desiring
Sarah Hill
17 The Angel Gabriel
Singscape directed by Sarah Tenant-Flowers
18 Scotland the Brave
Niall Mushet
19 The holly bears a berry
Jon Boden, John Spiers, Ian Giles
20 Joy to the world
Ian Giles, Jon Boden, John Spiers, Giles Lewin
21 Auld Lang Syne
Martin Souter

Cover image: Copy of the royal Tara brooch. Ireland c.1851 G & S Waterhouse/V & A Images
This compilation P & C 2003 Classical Communications Ltd
Made in Great Britain

'I come from hevin heich to tell
The best nowells that e'er befell'

A programme of music for a Celtic Christmas, taken from old Celtic manuscripts and books, mixed with some well-known and favourite carols with international appeal. All the music is in traditional style with lutes, harps, voices and organs in a joyous mixture for the festive season.

'The kneis of my hart sall I bow
And sing that rycht Balulalow'

The first track on this album provides a perfect introduction to the high standard of music-making that has existed in the Celtic lands over the ages. This 'Musick fyne', as they called it, was the product of court and church, composed by the monarch's refined and skilled musicians, or by members of the religious households - the builders of a magnificent heritage of abbeys and ancient churches. In this music ('Balulalow', 'Nou let us sing' and 'All sons of Adam') we can hear hints of the sophistication and style of the creators of the many splendid fortresses and homes of the Celtic lands. It is easy to imagine a musical evening featuring a programme such as this one, being performed in one of Scotland's great houses, whether in the great hall by a roaring fire ('Deck the hall with boughs of holly') or in a more intimate, but still grand, drawing room, where the harpist could play ('Jesu, joy of man's desiring') or, in a large house the organist could be heard intoning the glorious melody of 'Auld lang syne'. Or the piper would play songs to herald the Christmas season, because Christmas is often a time to celebrate more than the birth of Christ. It is time of cold winters, with snow on the ground, a time to keep warm, be of good cheer and sing the darkness away, as we look forward to the coming of Spring and longer days of sunshine and warmth.

Nou let us sing, Christ keip our King
Lord save our King, sing altogither,
Christ keip his grace and long to rigne
That we may live lyk faithfull brether.

Deame, fill a drink and we sall sing
Lyk mirrie men of musick fyne.
Tak Bacchus' blissing it to bring
So it be wight as any wine.

Thes Art of Musick is richt dry
Of all the seavine the merriest.
Deame, ye ar sweir that lets us cry
Once fill the stoop and let us rest.