The Carols of Christmas: A Celebration of the Surprising Stories Behind Your Favorite Holiday Songs - eBook
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Thomas Nelson / 2015 / ePub
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The Carols of Christmas: A Celebration of the Surprising Stories Behind Your Favorite Holiday Songs - eBook

Thomas Nelson / 2015 / ePub

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Product Information

Format: DRM Protected ePub
Vendor: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2015
ISBN: 9780718031534
ISBN-13: 9780718031534

Publisher's Description

From Oxford professor and renowned British composer, a joyous account of the history behind our favorite carols.

Everyone loves a carol—in the end, even Ebenezer Scrooge. They have the power to summon up a special kind of mid-winter mood, like the aroma of gingerbread or the twinkle of lights on a tree. It’s a kind of magic.

But how did they get that magic? Andrew Gant—choirmaster, church musician, university professor, and writer—tells the story of some twenty carols, each accompanied by lyrics and music, unraveling a captivating, and often surprising, tale of great musicians and thinkers, saints and pagans, shepherd boys and choirboys. Readers get to delve into the history such favorites as "Good King Wenceslas," "Away in a Manger," and "O, Tannenbaum," discovering along the way how "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" came to replace "Hark, how all the welkin’ ring" and how Ralph Vaughan Williams applied the tune of an English folk song about a dead ox to a poem by a nineteenth century American pilgrim to make "O Little Town of Bethlehem."

A charming book that brims with anecdote, expert knowledge, and Christmas spirit, this is a fittingly joyous account of one of the best-loved musical traditions.

 

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  1. gcw1
    York, PA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    The Carols of Christmas
    October 23, 2015
    gcw1
    York, PA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    THE CAROLS OF CHRISTMAS

    A Celebration of the Surprising Stories Behind Your Favorite Holiday Songs

    By Andrew Gant

    Every wonder able the true story behind some of the Christmas carols and where they came from. Andrew Gant offers a history of carols and a background on 21favorite carols that are familiar to all. He uses his musical background to help us understand the stories and histories of the music used with the carols

    I enjoyed the collection of 21 carols that he chose to write about. Including favorites as Jingle Bells and The Twelve Days of Christmas with many of the traditional church carols. The stories are interesting and how the final version of the carol came about will give a new meaning to the carols.

    Andrew offers a copy of the sheet music and verses to each carols to share as we learn more able the carols.

    A book packed with information and useful tool to understanding the origin of a part of our history of a holiday celebrated by millions each year. A great book for sharing with family and friends.

    I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255
  2. SnickerdoodleSarah
    Gender: female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Could have been much better
    October 5, 2015
    SnickerdoodleSarah
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 3
    The Carols of Christmas by Andrew Gant goes through various popular carols of Christmas and tells some of their intricate, and often confusing, history. You may not come out of the book wiser than when you started it about who wrote such and such a carol but Gant himself warns of this in the intro: "if you occasionally get to the end of a chapter in this book slightly unsure about who wrote words or tunes or bits of either, me too." Apparently we don't know exactly who wrote some of the songs, and many of them were revised from their original written form.

    One of the histories I found particularly interesting was that of Hark the Herald Angels Sing, originally Hark How all the Welkin Rings' by Charles Wesley. Apparently George Whitefield was one of the people who revised the song, one of the verses he changed was "universal nature say 'Christ the Lord is born today!'" to "With th'Angelic hosts proclaim, Christ is born in Bethlehem!'" I found it interesting that Mendelssohn, the man who composed the music that was eventually used for the words, didn't think that the tune was fit for religious songs and that it would "never do for sacred words. There must be a national and merry subject found out" Nowadays it would be hard for me to picture it put to secular words!

    Gant's style of writing is a bit confusing at times, he strikes me as trying too hard to be casual, which doesn't always flow very well in my opinion. Also some of his statements were a bit weird, for instance, his comment, "the most potent force in the shaping of human destinies: luck", and then again, when speaking of the original lines of Wesley's hymn, cited above, "universal nature say" he declares that , "there is something gloriously inclusive, almost pantheisticin Wesley's linesmuch better than Whitefield's replacement." Statements like that seem a bit odd for a Christian to say. There were several songs where I had wished that he would have dealt more with the history of the wording and meaning of the words but he focused on the development/ evolution of the commonly used tune (or tunes) for the carol instead.

    All in all it was a bit confusing, and I think it could have been written a lot better than it is, but it did have interesting tidbits of carol history in it, and the cover is pretty and feels neat!

    I received a complimentary copy of this book from the BookLook blogging program in exchange for my review, which did not have to be favorable.
  3. Cheryl
    Prospect,KY
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    The History of Christmas carols
    September 14, 2015
    Cheryl
    Prospect,KY
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Anyone who knows me knows that Christmas is my favorite season and that my husband extends it as long as he can and never ceases to sing Christmas carols regardless of the time of year. Guess that makes it easy to know who is coming down the hallway at school.

    Christmas holds my favorite memories and one of my very favorites is the Christmas Eve service at church and, even today more than 10 years after her death, I can hear my grandmother's voice singing next to me, making it difficult to get through the songs but that doesn't stop me from loving the songs. How did we get these songs? You may or may not be surprised to know that most didn't begin as Christmas carols. Some had words while others were only tunes with words added later. But each of the 21 well known and loved carols has a story behind it. Andrew Gant has done the research for us and his new book The Carols of Christmas: A Celebration of the Surprising Stories Behind Your Favorite Holiday Songs contains all you could want to know about songs from Advent to Christmas Day and beyond. In each case, the history includes a copy of the music and, in some cases, a copy of the manuscript of the original score or words by the composer or author or a historical image that goes along with the song.

    The volume is hardback but the paper more like the type found in a paperback volume. I must admit that some of my favorites weren't included but that may very well be because Gant focused on English carols. Gant is thorough in his explanation of the history of the song which may get a bit long for some if it isn't a song you love. For me, that song will always be The Twelve Days of Christmas which is included. Each story is somewhere between 5-10 pages so I wouldn't recommend necessarily reading the volume from cover to cover in a few days. I think it might be better used looking at each song as a short story and read one, ponder on it for awhile, then maybe read another. Perhaps use it each evening as a family time during Advent to learn together.

    Carols include: O Come, O Come Emmanuel, O, Christmas Tree, The Holly and the Ivy, I Saw Three Ships, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Good Christian Men Rejoice, O Come All Ye Faithful, While Shepherds Watched, O Holy Night, Ding Dong! Merrily on High, Angels From the Realm of Glory, Hark the Herald..., Away in a Manger, I Wonder as I Wonder, Good King Wincelas, Personet hodie, Here We Come a-Wassailing, The Twelve Days of Christmas, We Three Kings, What Child is This?, and Jingle Bells.

    I did receive this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and was in no way obligated to leave a positive one.

  4. Jen Pen
    Midwest
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Informative and interesting accounts of favorite Christmas carols...
    September 2, 2015
    Jen Pen
    Midwest
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    SUMMARY:

    Not originally composed as Christmas carols, in fact, many not even containing words at the beginning, several Christmas tunes evolved from folk songs, street singing or plain music. Influenced by many nationalities, carols were first sung on the street rather than church but have found their way into the pews to the chagrin of some. Exploring many Christmas songs (O Little Town Of Bethlehem, O Come, All Ye Faithful, even Jingle Bells), author Andrew Gant, composer, choirmaster, church musician, university teacher and writer, shares his great depth of knowledge on the subject. Complete with illustrations, history and interesting tidbits on the carols, The Carols of Christmas is bound to make singing these songs more memorable and meaningful.

    A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:

    With the Christmas season just around the corner and a bit of musical ability in my repertoire, I thought this would be a very interesting and relevant bookI was right. Obviously extremely proficient in his musical wisdom, Andrew Gant went above and beyond in his new book. I found most information to be useful, intriguing and readable; however, some of the information was beyond my curiosity. Definitely enlightening, after reading The Carols of Christmas, I will always reminisce as I carol at Christmas.

    RATING:

    4 (out of 5) pennies

    *I received a complimentary copy of The Carols of Christmas from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*
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