Scarlet Letters Christmas “Concert” 2013

Since the Big Box won’t be happening over the holidays due to Hester’s church and concert schedule, I’ve decided instead to treat my dear readers to a sort of internet mini-“concert” of various Christmas carols. First up is Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day (arr. John Gardner). The full carol has eleven verses (though Gardner’s arrangement stops at 4) and traces Jesus’ life from His birth to His ascension.

Tomorrow shall be My dancing day,
I would My true love did so chance
To see the legend of My play,
To call My true love to My dance:
Sing O My love,
O My love, My love, My love,
This have I done for My true love.

Then was I born of a virgin pure,
Of her I took fleshly substance,
Thus was I knit to man’s nature,
To call My true love to My dance, etc.

In a manger laid and wrapped I was,
So very poor this was My chance,
Betwixt an ox and a silly poor ass,
To call My true love to My dance, etc.

Then afterwards baptized I was,
The Holy Ghost on Me did glance,
My Father’s voice heard from above,
To call My true love to My dance, etc.

Next is The Cherry Tree Carol, a medieval carol-ballad widespread in English folk music (and not that rare in American folk music either). It may be based on a story from the apocryphal Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew – though the original features a date palm instead of a cherry tree – and also happens to be Child #54. The recording below is by Anonymous 4 from their album Wolcum Yule, which I highly recommend.

Joseph was an old man,
And an old man was he,
And Joseph married Mary,
The queen of Galilee.

Mary and Joseph
Together did go,
And there they saw a cherry tree,
Both red, white and green.

Then up speaks Mary,
So meek and so mild:
“O gather me cherries, Joseph,
For I am with child.”

Then up speaks Joseph,
With his words so unkind:
“Let them gather thee cherries
That brought thee with child.”

Then up speaks the little child,
In His own mother’s womb:
“Bow down, you sweet cherry tree,
And give My mother some.”

Then the top spray of the cherry tree
Bowed down to her knee:
“And now you see, Joseph,
There are cherries for me.”

Our next carol is significantly less serious…at least this version. Below is the tune to The Angel Gabriel From Heaven Came, a Basque Annunciation carol arranged for handbells by Joel Raney. A normal performance, however, does not include the house, light show or passing motorists. 🙂

The angel Gabriel from heaven came,
His wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame:
“All hail,” said he, “thou lowly maiden Mary,
Most highly favored lady!” Gloria!

“For know a blessed mother thou shalt be,
All generations laud and honor thee;
Thy Son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold,
Most highly favored lady!” Gloria!

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head:
“To me be as it pleaseth God,” she said,
“My soul shall laud and magnify His holy name.”
Most highly favored lady! Gloria!

Of her Emmanuel, the Christ, was born,
In Bethlehem all on a Christmas morn;
And Christian folk throughout the world will ever say:
“Most highly favored lady!” Gloria!

And finally our last number is really just for fun…because who doesn’t love ThePianoGuys?

And with that I’d like to wish all my readers a very merry Christmas(tide)!

One comment on “Scarlet Letters Christmas “Concert” 2013

  1. Refugee says:

    What a treat! Thank you!

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