AUTHOR:Andrew Gant INFO:Paperback Hardcover, Non-Fiction, 216 pages PUBLISHED:Thomas Nelson Books, 2015 SOURCE:Received from Publisher for Review
FROM GOODREADS:From Oxford professor and renowned British composer, a joyous account of the history behind our favorite carols.
Everyone loves a carol – in the end, even Ebenezer Scrooge. They have the power to summon up a special kind of mid-winter mood, like the aroma of gingerbread or the twinkle of lights on a tree. It’s a kind of magic.
But how did they get that magic? Andrew Gant – choirmaster, church musician, university professor and writer – tells the story of some twenty carols, each accompanied by the lyrics and music, unraveling a captivating, and often surprising, tale of great musicians and thinkers, saints and pagans, shepherd boys and choirboys. Readers get to delve into the history of such favorites as “Good King Wenceslas”, “Away in a Manger”, and “O, Tannenbaum”, discovering along the way how “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” came to replace “Hark, how all the welkin’ ring” and how Ralph Vaughan Williams applied 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”.
A charming book that brims with anecdote, expert knowledge, and Christmas spirit, this is a fittingly joyous account of one of the best-loved musical traditions.
MY TAKE: Anyone who grew up singing and listening to the classic Christmas carols will enjoy reading of their origins and their paths to becoming the songs we now know. Many of them have roots in Pagan culture as well as beginnings that have absolutely nothing to do with celebrating Christ and Christmas.
This is a very well-researched book, filled to the brim with lovely details and facts. I did find myself bogged down in a couple of spots just because of the sheer amount of information presented. It was very interesting but at times a bit of a job to get back on track. I always did though.
I was very pleased that the author included the (sheet) music and lyrics. I found myself singing along to many of the carols as I was reading. I’m looking forward to getting to the piano and seeing if I can remember how to play – just in time for Christmas.
Out of 5 JEWELS, I give it:
Get your copy in time for the upcoming holidays, will make a lovely gift.
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