Hyperion Records

Christmas Carol
The great American preacher Phillips Brooks was on a tour of Palestine in 1885 and rode from Jerusalem to Bethlehem to take part in the Christmas services there. He was deeply affected by his experience and wrote this, his only hymn to survive, on his return. Towards the end of the century it was rediscovered and now no hymn book would be complete without it.

It is often sung to Vaughan Williams’s arrangement of an English folk tune, but Walford Davies wrote two tunes to it. He was a prolific composer, a great influence in musical education, and in the music of the Church; he was Master of the Kings Musick from 1934 to 1941. Few of his compositions survive in use, but it would be a pity if his simple, tender interpretation of this Christmas hymn were to be forgotten.

from notes by Alan Luff 2002

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