Christmas CD - "There Were Shepherds"
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The carols, hymns and anthems on this C.D. are nearly all from the period 1750 - 1850. This type of music was driven from the churches by the Victorians and replaced by organs and choirs as we know them today. One of the few areas where the music survived was in various villages around Sheffield, and it is still sung in the pubs there at Christmas. Tracks 2, 3, 4 and 5 are from this tradition. Tracks 7, 8, 9, 18 and 19 would have been performed by Thomas Hardy's father and grandfather when they went carol singing at midnight on Christmas Eve. The American tradition is represented by tracks 10 and 11.

John Williams 2001

1. The King of Glory.
An anthem found in manuscripts from Widecombe, Devon. Words by Isaac Watts.
2. How Beautiful Upon the Mountains.
An anthem by R. A. Smith.
3. Mount Zion.
Music from the Mount/Dawson manuscripts. The tune is a version of 'Providence' by Thomas Clark, a Canterbury shoemaker.
4. Pentonville.
This is one of the main Sheffield pub tunes for 'While Shepherds Watched'. In this version the music for the verses is from the original by William Marsh. The symphonies are from the Mount/Dawson manuscripts. We started playing it in a hornpipe rhythm on the day we recorded it and found it fun so it has stuck.
5. Back Lane.
Music by W. Womack from the Mount/Dawson manuscripts. Words by Isaac Watts.
6. Zion.
Another anthem from the Widecombe manuscripts. Its full titlee is 'An Anthem for Christmas (Zion) by Mr Mathews'.
7. Arise and Hail the Joyful Day.
From the Hardy manuscripts in the Dorset County Museum.
8. Awake and Join the Cheerful Choir.
From the George Hanford Book, 1830, Dorset County Museum.
9. Arise and Hail the Sacred Day.
Music by Joseph Stephenson, 1723 - 1810, clerk at the Unitarian Church in Poole, Dorset. Originally a three part setting, the Hardy manuscripts contain one with only two parts so Jackie Gribble and John Williams sing it as a duet.
10. Advent.
Music by Supply Belcher and published in his 'Harmony of Maine' 1794. The words are Sternhold and Hopkins' Old Version of Psalm 18, vv 9 - 10, one of the few psalms where the words can be applied to Christmas. In the first verse we 'sing the shapes' in traditional Sacred Harp style.
11. Nativity.
This was taught to us by its composer, Bruce Randall on one of his visits to England in 1994. Although written in the 'Shape Note' style we have anglicized it by adding instruments and a symphony composed by myself.
12. The Song of the Angels at the Nativity.
This is the original title of 'While Shepherds Watched'. This tune is by William Knapp 1698 - 1768, a parish clerk from Poole, Dorset.
13. Newton's or St Paul's.
Words by Charles Wesley. Music from the Martin manuscripts Poole 1836.
14. There Were Shepherds.
Words from St Luke's Gospel. This anthem was found in manuscripts at Wheddon Cross, Somerset. The long pauses were probably originally instrumental symphonies.
15. Lonsdale.
From the Bundell manuscripts. The music has been attributed to Correlli.
16. The Infant Saviour.
Music by William Knapp from his New Church Melody 1754. A gloomy carol, just for a change.
17. Angels from the Realms of Glory.
Well known words set to this great tune by Thomas Merritt, 1862 - 1908.
18. Shepherds Arise.
This is from manuscripts from Puddletown, Dorset where the Hardys played in the choir.
19. Rejoice Ye Tenants of the Earth.
This was popular all over southern England in its day. Composed by William Gifford and published in 1805.
If you would like to obtain a copy of the CD - visit our page for CD orders.
We are eternally grateful to the following:
Ian Russell and the Sheffield Carollers (Tracks 2 -5), Mike Bailey and the Madding Crowd (Tracks 1, 6, 15 16 and 18), Bob and Jacqui Patten ( Track 14), Larry Gordon and the publishers of "Northern Harmony" (Track 10), Dave Townsend (Tracks 7, 8, 9 and 13) and of course Gordon Ashman and all members of the West Gallery Music Association.
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