Christmas Music Matters: Carols at the Symphony: Fantasia on Christmas Carols

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Greetings on the 8th Day of Christmas!

Ralph Vaughan Williams published his Fantasia on Christmas Carols in 1912. In musical parlance, a Fantasia is a loose musical form which more closely imitates improvisation.

In this meditative piece, Vaughan Williams uses “English folk carols “The truth sent from above“, “Come all you worthy gentlemen” and “On Christmas night all Christians sing” (i.e. the Sussex Carol), all folk songs collected in southern England by Vaughan Williams and his friend Cecil Sharp a few years earlier. These are interposed with brief orchestral quotations from other carols, such as The First Nowell.”

Enjoy this beautiful meditation on Christmas Carols as the joys of the Season continue!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Steven A. Armstrong
Tutor, Editor, Consultant

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