I don’t know about you, but I have really been enjoying the contributions from our lovely volunteers and committee members over the past week or so. Today it’s over to me to pick your carol for today and I have selected ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’.
Hark the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn King…
All I have to do is hear these words and feel festive. With lyrics written by Charles Wesley, this carol first appeared on the festive scene in 1739 in a collection named Hymns and Sacred Poems, under the title ‘Hymn for Christmas Day’.Wesley actually wanted a slow and solemn tune to accompany his lyrics, completely contrasting the rallying and uplifting music that we all know and love. Let’s face it Charles, Christmas is not a time for solemnity. So thank goodness for English musician William H. Cummings who adapted a tune by Felix Mendelssohn to fit Wesley’s lyrics. I must warn you all, that descant is not to be attempted by amateurs who wish to be taken at all seriously – case in point, myself and a few friends heading attending our University carol service, attempting to sing the descant of the final verse of Hark the Herald Angels Sing… cue much voice straining and embarrassment that no amount of mince pies afterwards can cure. Still a happy memory, regardless of the musical shame!
Angels seem to be a particular favourite craft activity from my childhood. We have many ‘angels’ (I use the term tentatively) kicking about, lovingly hand made from elderly gold tissue paper and lace doilies, clinging on to the twenty year old glue holding them together. My lovely mum relentlessly brings out my brother’s ‘Scary Angel’ from the loft every year to put on display with all our other, much nicer, much classier, Christmas decorations. His earliest craft effort is living proof that, from the tender age of five, he was not destined to be an artist.
On that happy note, have a listen to the video below for pure, classy, festive caroling joy.
All the very best, booklovers, until tomorrow!