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Coventry Carol, The (arr Musella)

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Gabriel Musella

Traditional, arranged by Gabriel Musella

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General Info

Year: 2018
Duration: c. 1:20
Difficulty: I (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Carol
Publisher: RBC Music Publications
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $55.00   |   Score Only (print) - $8.00


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Despite its dark and tragic lyrics, this sixteenth-century English carol has endured the test of time as a popular melody during the holiday season. Also known as Lully, Lullay, this simple setting attempts to paint the desperate narrative without being overly technical or complex. It ends, per tradition, with the Picardy third lending some hope and optimism to an otherwise sorrowful tale of sacrifice, cruelty, and paranoia.

- Program Note by composer

The Coventry Carol is an English Christmas carol dating from the 16th century. The carol was traditionally performed in Coventry in England as part of a mystery play called The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors. The play depicts the Christmas story from chapter two in the Gospel of Matthew: the carol itself refers to the Massacre of the Innocents, in which Herod ordered all male infants under the age of two in Bethlehem to be killed, and takes the form of a lullaby sung by mothers of the doomed children.

The music contains a well-known example of a Picardy third. The author is unknown; the oldest known text was written down by Robert Croo in 1534, and the oldest known setting of the melody dates from 1591.The carol is traditionally sung a cappella. There is an alternative, modern setting of the carol by Kenneth Leighton, and another by Philip Stopford.

- Program Note from Wikipedia

Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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