Academic journal article The Hymn

Christmas Is Coming: A Collection of Carols for Advent and Christmas

Academic journal article The Hymn

Christmas Is Coming: A Collection of Carols for Advent and Christmas

Article excerpt

Christmas is coming A collection of carols for Advent and Christmas by Nicholas Temperley. London: Staine r Ö?" Bell, 2009. 150 pp. ISBN 979-0-2202-2254-2. US $22.95.

Nicholas Temperley has been carrying on a secret life. Many know him for his long career in musicology at the University of Illinois School of Music. Countless musicians and historians have consulted his definitive study The music of the English parish church. His work with the Hymn tune index has benefited untold numbers of students of the hymn. Yet his new volume, Christmas is coming: A collection of carols for Advent find Christmas, reveals Temperley 's secret life as a caroler!

He describes this clandestine work in the book's introduction: "Every year we make planned visits to people's houses, encouraging them to invite friends for a small party. . . . We go inside and sing about ten carols, then socialize and (if we are lucky) partake of a little refreshment before driving to the next engagement. . . . We can comfortably make five visits in an evening." He ascribes the origins of the idea to The Oxford book of carols^ where it is suggested that the partygoers donate to charity in return for the musical offerings.

Temperley now offers his collection of carols to those who wish to join him in this "suspicious" activity. His book contains thirty-seven carols, seven of which are his own compositions and twenty-two of which he has arranged. Temperley has sung each of these carols with his partners in music making, so the collection comes pretested. Even so, not each carol is appropriate for every choir. Roughly half the pieces call for more than four parts, so this book is not ideal for quartets. …

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