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This is a spirited winter solstice carol, written for Rudsambee company of singers in Edinburgh in 1997. It's lively, a tiny bit chilling, and very popular with audiences - adding a touch of pagan spice to a Christmas concert. It's not hard, and best performed as far as possible from memory, with electric delivery and energetic diction.
Rudsambee developed a taste for ending the second and fourth verses on an unresolved chord in which tenors hold their final D without moving to the C. It all adds to the sense of misrule!
As many phrases as the singers have breath for should be approached attacca, with a nice contrast between the shorter half-line phrases and those which carry through a whole line. Enjoy!
Holly and mistletoe, ivy and yew a wreath for the old year, a flame for the new votive offerings glitter and shine golden libations; whisky and wine.
Nutmeg and ginger, cinnamon, cloves promise of sunshine baked into loaves fruits of the old year wither and die put to rest finally, gluttony pie.
Chase out the spirits, wassailing go line up the old gods, all in a row grey-bearded shaman, lord of misrule challenge the order, send for more fuel.
Settle the old scores, seek out the blame disease and corruption perish in flame purification fire aglow old grey man's garments; red blood on snow.
Mistletoe, ivy, holly and yew male and female bring life anew a flame for the new year, a wreath for the old fresh hope and mystery keep out the cold.
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