The Colonial Williamsburg Madrigal Singers | Songs for a Williamsburg Christmas

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Songs for a Williamsburg Christmas

by The Colonial Williamsburg Madrigal Singers

The Williamsburg Madrigal Singers have spread the music of Christmas from Bruton Parish Church to King’s Arms Tavern, from “groaning board” feasts to outdoor bonfires. Christmas songs from a variety of sources are joined together in the spirit of peace.
Genre: Holiday: Kids/Family
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Deck the Halls
1:14 $0.99
2. The Holly and the Ivy
2:27 $0.99
3. Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming
1:48 $0.99
4. Shepherd's Carol (Shiloh)
1:30 $0.99
5. Jesu Sweet
1:54 $0.99
6. Hodie Christus Natus Est
3:54 $0.99
7. Joy to the World
1:32 $0.99
8. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
1:37 $0.99
9. Lute-Book Lullaby
1:58 $0.99
10. What Child Is This (Greensleeves)
2:04 $0.99
11. Shepherds! Shake Off Your Drowsy Sleep
1:14 $0.99
12. A Virgin Most Pure
2:35 $0.99
13. Good King Wenceslas
2:17 $0.99
14. We Wish You a Merry Christmas
1:16 $0.99
15. Rocking
1:47 $0.99
16. Ding Dong! Merrily On High
1:31 $0.99
17. Past Three a Clock
2:08 $0.99
18. A Virgin Unspotted (Judea)
2:22 $0.99
19. Away in a Manger
2:07 $0.99
20. Masters in This Hall
1:25 $0.99
21. Coventry Carol
2:39 $0.99
22. Angels from the Realms of Glory
2:04 $0.99
23. While Shepherds Watched (Bethlehem)
2:33 $0.99
24. If Angels Sung (Milford)
2:11 $0.99
25. The Boar's Head
1:31 $0.99
26. Gloucestershire Wassail
1:36 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

It will not be amiss to take a Walk in the Country, to observe the Effects of Christmas on rustic Minds. Here, indeed, the Whole is a Scene of universal Joy. It comes but once in the Year, and they make the most of it. Noise and Mirth walk Hand in Hand, and good Humour keeps Pace with good Eating. The Spade, the Pitchfork, and the Wheelbarrow, are thrown away; the one-eyed Parish Fiddler is sent for, and the well smoked Gammon of Bacon is taken down from the Roof. On the well brighten’d oaken Board are spread the rural Dainties, such as Nature boon gives to her Children; Dainties long prepar’d to celebrate this Day; and with good Cheer to grace its Triumph. Crystal Gooseberries, by Housewife well prepar’d, are pil’d in Heaps. Pride of the Autumn, sound green Codlins, float in dulcet Steams. Nor wants the last Year’s Store; the hardy Nut, in solid Mail secure, impregnable to Winter Frosts, repays its Hoarder’s Care; whilst the blithe cheerful Swains crack Nuts and Joes alternately. Cheesecakes and Pies, in various Forms uprais’d, in well built Pyramids aspiring, stand; Black Hams, and Tongues, that speechless can persuade to ply the brisk Carouse, and cheer the Soul with jovial Draughts. Nor does the jolly God deny his precious Gifts; here jocund Swains, in uncouth Mirth delighted, gaily quaff their native Beverage; in the brimming Glass the liquid Amber smiles. The modest Maid but coily sips, and blushing drinks, abash’d. Each Lover, with observant Eye, beholds her graceful Shame, and at her glowing Cheeks rekindles all his Fires; but Matrons sage, better experienc’d, and instructed well in Midnight Mysteries and Feast Rites old, grasp the warm Bowl, and draw a long deep Draught. Such is the Face of Things within, but is abroad that Revelry breaks loose. The Sports, the Games, the Gambols of their Ancestors, are not forgotten; those sacred Reliques of ancient Manners, which have been piously transmitted down from Generation to Generation, unsullied and unchanged. Dancing, Wrestling, Racing, Cricket, Cudgel playing, Skittles, Bowling, or Hunting, are met with in every Thicket, in every Field. Every Place resounds with the Cries of Jollity, the Hill answers to the Dale, and the Dale replies to the shelving Rock; babbling Echo runs laughing from Field to Field, and the whole Firmament is filled with the broken and confused Sound of Guns, Tabors, Fifes, Fiddles, Horns, Hounds, and Men.
These exuberant lines from “Christmas, An Essay” reprinted on the front page of the Virginia Gazette, December 30, 1773, from the London Magazine epitomize the joys of Christmas to the colonists and to present-day Williamsburg visitors alike. Elsewhere the anonymous author may lament, “Here is enough of every Thing suitable to the Time and Occasion. . . except Religion,” but his enthusiasm for holiday activities betrays his delight in “this naturally inspiring Mirth and Cheerfulness” of the Yuletide season.
(Written in 1982) The Williamsburg Madrigal Singers have spread the music of Christmas from Bruton Parish Church to King’s Arms Tavern, from “groaning board” feasts to outdoor bonfires. Invariably they are welcomed wholeheartedly for their spirited performances of carols and songs beloved by everyone. All five are permanent residents of the town, and their musical activities continue year-round. They are members of the Bruton Church choir and sing there each Sunday morning. Spring and fall concerts at the Capitol re-create a documented eighteenth-century activity, while summer programs occur in Bruton Parish House. Throughout the year convention groups demand their services for banquet entertainment. Even as the full-time musician was a rarity in eighteenth-century Virginia, so these singers incorporate their music into the everyday life of the community. Mrs. Deppe is a public school secretary and Mrs. Kelly teaches the second grade at Walsingham Academy. Mrs. Wilson recently retired as business manager of a local antiques store. Frequently Mr. Fletcher conducts groups through Williamsburg streets interpreting colonial life to visitors unaware that his eloquent voice has been heard in Europe and on the opera stage. Mr. Deppe has long been a school principal, and his commanding six-foot, six-inch frame and rolling bass voice are famous for inhibiting discipline problems before they arise. The present recording continues the format of “O Come Sweet Music” previously issued by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Christmas songs from a variety of sources are joined together in the spirit of “peace on earth, good will towards men” that characterizes the holidays year after year. The Virginia Almanack for 1774 began its January calendar with a rhyme whose sentiment is eternal:

being gone,
a good New Year
I wish to all my
Readers dear;

Both Health
and Wealth,
good Meat,
strong Beer

And all Things else
the Heart to cheer.



Traditional [1] Deck the Halls

English [2] The Holly and the Ivy

German [3] Lo, how a Rose e’er Blooming

Early American [4] Shepherd’s Carol (Shiloh)

German [5] Jesu Sweet [Bach]

Dutch [6] Hodie Christus natus est
Traditional [7] Joy to the World

English [8] God rest ye Merry, Gentlemen

English [9] Lute-book Lullaby [Batten]

English [10] What Child is this

French [11] Shepherds! Shake off your
Drowsy Sleep

English [12] A Virgin most Pure

Traditional [13] Good King Wenceslas

English [14] We Wish you a Merry Christmas

Czech [15] Rocking

French [16] Ding Dong! Merrily on High

English [17] Past Three A Clock

Early American [18] A Virgin Unspotted
(Judea) [Billings]

English, French [19] Away in a Manger
French [20] Masters in this Hall

English [21] Coventry Carol

French [22] Angels from the Realms of Glory

Early American [23] While Shepherds Watched
(Bethlehem) [Billings]

Early American [24] If Angels Sung (Milford)

English [25] The Boar’s Head

English [26] Gloucestershire Wassail

Songs for a
Williamsburg Christmas

Recording Engineer – Michael L. Puckett

All income from the sales of this recording is used for the purposes of
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
and to carry forward its educational programs. Colonial Williamsburg also welcomes
tax-deductible contributions. Friends interested in discussing gifts to the
Foundation are asked to write the President, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation,
P.O. Box 1776, Williamsburg, Virginia 23187-1776.

©1982 by The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation



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