Advent Calendar Day 25: In the Bleak Midwinter (Holst), plus a few more

It’s always so difficult to come up with the perfect carol for Christmas Day, because there are so many gorgeous ones.  So today, in the spirit of giving (or perhaps of over-indulgence), I present three.

In the Bleak Midwinter is really one of the more beautiful carols out there, and shows what can happen when you let a poet write your lyrics for you.  (What happens is that every subsequent composer misses out my favourite verse, in fact.  Including this arrangement, but it’s pretty enough that I’ll forgive it.)  I love the word-painting, and the harmonies and the solo in the middle.  Just lovely.

But this is Australia, and it can’t all be about snow and ice, so here’s a carol I learned in Grade 2, I believe. It was written in 1948 by John Wheeler and William G. James, and it’s kind of anachronistic, but we aren’t going to worry about that because any carol that includes black swans ought to be encouraged, in my book.

The third carol today was going to be a crazed mashup of the Carol of the Bells and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen by the Piano Guys, but then I said three and giving and thought of three gifts and three kings and then of course I had no choice but to present you with Cornelius’s stunning piece ‘The Three Kings’, which really is, I think, the most gorgeous piece of Christmas music ever written, even if it does, strictly speaking, belong at Ephiphany.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a relaxing break!

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