Holidays #7

“It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”

The song first appeared in this instrumental medley of Christmas Hymns from 1917

The first clip to come up in a search of YouTube is this one by Frank Sinatra released in 1948.

The lyrics were written by Pastor Edmund Sears, he requested the poem be set to the hymn titled “Carol” by Richard Storrs Willis. The modern adaptation by Arthur Sullivan is based on this but follows the tune of “Noel”. This is another example of a Christmas song that does not mention Christmas. Thought to be inspired by a mood of melancholy over world strife and the end of the Mexican/American War in 1848, Sears poem and subsequent song has been recorded about 800 times including many instrumentals.

To quote the first song in this series “River” by Joni Mitchell

It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace

I will ‘wrap’ up this series with a couple more songs.

“The Wassail Song” which literally means to sing is perhaps better known as “Here we Come A Caroling”. It’s another song that does not mention Christmas specifically. As with many songs it is derived from old English folks songs and it made it’s was to the US, according to Wikipedia it was first recorded in 1934. The first known recording to survive is “Wassail Song” by Robert Shaw and His RCA Victor Chorale.

“Deck the Halls”

As with the previous song this was traditionally sung by choirs around the New Year rather than Christmas specifically. Based on a traditional Welsh melody the lyrics were written by Thomas Oliphant. Part of the motivation for “Caroling” was to sing for charity at the doors of the more wealthy citizens. These carols were very popular parlour songs as well and are still often performed by choirs and ensembles. However with “Deck the Halls” we have many memorable solo versions such as Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah or however you celebrate.

7 thoughts on “Holidays #7

  1. A nice selection dafoe. What we need with all of these classics is some old fashioned peace and love ! Wishing you and yours many wonderful festive moments into the new year!🔔☕️☕️

    Liked by 1 person

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