|Title||The First Nowell|
|Performers||Sir Malcolm Sargent
Royal Choral Society
Arnold Greir (organ)
(later published on record F.8934-87)
|Matrix no.||Side A:
DR 12349 1 CT B I
DR 12349 2 CT B I
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This year’s advent calendar opens with a piece of old British Christmas music, performed by the Royal Choral Society, led by Sir Malcolm Sargent.
Sir Malcolm Sargent (1895 – 1967) was among the leading conductors of his time in Britain. He especially gained recognition as a great choral conductor; he conducted the Royal Choral Society for nearly 40 years, from 1928 until his death.
From 1948 to 1967, he was the principal conductor for “The Proms ”(” The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts presented by the BBC”), the world’s largest classical music festival.
As an orchestra conductor, he caused some controversy when he expressed that orchestral musicians shouldn’t expect a job for life, and that they should give of their lifeblood with every bar they played. But as controversial he was among orchestra musicians, as beloved was he among the choirs, and it was as a choral conductor he felt at home and thrived.
During this advent calendar, we will present a number of carols recorded with the Royal Choral Society in 1948. The recordings are digitized from sample records issued by Decca. These recordings were later released as a 5-record set with edition numbers F.8934-87, in November 1948. A total of 10 songs were recorded for these records, and we will present five of these. First up is, quite naturally: The First Nowell.
The First Nowell is among the oldest Christmas carols. It originated as a British folk song in the 16th or 17th Century, but was not written down and published until the beginning of the 19th century. In 1833 it was published in William B. Sandys collection of carols, one of the first written records of this carol.
Over time, the spelling of “Nowell” changed to the French version “Noel”, causing many to falsely believe that the carol had French origins. Nowadays, the experts agree that the carol most likely originated in Cornwall in the southwest of England.
The lyrics have been criticized for being crude and historically inaccurate, but the melody makes up for this in its simplicity and joyfulness, and the carol is usually placed securely among the classic carols. In this recording, the Royal Choral Society is accompanied by Arnold Greir on the organ.
The First Nowell
Wonderful to have you back again for another year. Thank you.
Fantastic idea to prepare us to Christmas! Congratulations
On a cold, snowy day in Manchester this certainly cheered me up! Hearing those voices from over sixty years ago was really quite moving as well.
Last update: 11.04.2011 12:28. Webmaster
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