The short life-span of a Christmas carol

One thing that has surprised me this Christmas: the relatively short life-span we impose on Christmas carols.

If you’re generous you’ll start listening from the December 1st. If you’re looking to delay gratification then it might be the last week before Christmas or even the day before. 

In my case the usual intense anticipation is experienced listening to carols in the week before Christmas Eve. This is topped by the ultimate ‘peak carol moment’ hearing Once In Royal David’s City at the beginning of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. 

I get all het up about the vulnerability in the voice of the chorister. The regret and sorrow mixed with the agonising hope in Arthur Henry Mann’s arrangement of Henry John Gauntlett setting of words by Cecil Frances Alexander.

Yes, I know. That’s a lot of names. But they’re important. These are the people who create the things that colour, support, frame, or in some cases just denote Christmas. Melodies, harmonies, and feelings.

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