Songs of the Nativity

Songs of the Nativity

Being Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern

Author(s): Emma Bennett, Edited by Peter Boxall, Wil Tirion, William Shakespeare, Edited by William Henry Husk

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This collection of Christmas carols was published in 1864 by William Henry Husk (1814-87), a solicitor's clerk and amateur singer who was librarian of the Sacred Harmonic Society in London. He wrote many entries for the first edition of Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, and in 1875 published An Account of the Musical Celebrations on St Cecilia's Day (also reissued in this series). He organises some eighty carols (some of which are familiar, others less known in these versions, and others no longer in common use) in two groups, religious and 'festive'. Each has a headnote explaining its origin, and the general introduction describes Christmas customs, including carol-singing, which Husk fears may be in decline. The songs range from 'A babe is born' and 'Here comes holly', to several variants of 'The boar's head carol', and Husk provides musical settings for twelve of them.

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