Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December 8

Yorkshire moor in winter



Sweet Bells
a lovely folk version of "While Shepherds Watched"
performed by
"The Barnsley Nightengale" a.k.a. Kate Rusby




I do love this charming version of the more formal (and, if I may say so, more than slightly whine-y sounding) "While Shepherds Watched". I have never been very fond of the traditional carol, and confess to stooping to the more juvenile lyrics, "While shepherds washed their socks by night, all seated on the ground..." Being a knitter with a weakness for all things woolly, of COURSE I imagine those shepherds cleaning their beloved hand-knits with extra care (using nothing but eucalan, of course!)

However, ever since hearing Yorkshire lass Kate Rusby's beautiful Christmas album for the first time last year, I have been resolved that if I ever have a primary class of my own, THIS TUNE shall be the one I choose to have my students perform at the holiday musical-- with bells on! "While Shepherds Watched" turns up in many forms in the South Yorkshire carol tradition, sung to a wide selection of tunes; including Cranbrook (better known nowadays as Ilkley Moor Baht'at).

The lyrics of the carol "While Shepherds Watched" were written by Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady, and were some of the earliest "poetic paraphrasing" of the traditionally-sung Psalms of David. The tune most usually chosen was "Winchester Old", from Este's Psalter of 1592. Tate and Brady's words appeared in 1696, and were "allowed" by the King in Council, in place of the Old Version of the hymnal of 1556.

1 comment:

book reader said...

Lovely! J in Kingston

 
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