Linking the messages of Christmas and Easter, the Sans Day Carol is a variant on the still better-known The Holly and the Ivy. A traditional carol from Cornwall, it first gained wide currency following its inclusion in the Oxford Book of Carols, edited in the 1920s by Percy Dearmer, Martin Shaw and Ralph Vaughan Williams, that indefatigable collector of traditional folk songs and melodies. For ‘Sans Day’, incidentally, read ‘Saint’s Day’ – the carol apparently celebrated a local Cornish saint. Rutter fashioned his arrangement while still an undergraduate.
from notes by Andrew Green © 2001