The 12 Quandaries of Christmas

The 12 Quandaries of Christmas

It’s time to choose your Christmas repertoire, and what a mixed blessing it is! Many decisions are easy: the old favourites never tire, and Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without the strains of O Little Town or the Halleluiah Chorus drifting through the hushed streets. But is it time to think about adding something new to the festive mix? Read our guide to finding repertoire to keep you, your choir and your audience/congregation full of peace and goodwill.

 

 

 

 

I’d like to introduce some modern carols into my choir’s Christmas repertoire

 

 

 

 

Be daring with The Faber Carol Book, an exciting volume of carols and songs with an original, contemporary twist. It contains 40 pieces, expertly edited and arranged by Gwyn Arch and Ben Parry, capturing a variety of moods and styles through time – from contemporary arrangements of medieval and traditional carols, to spirituals and music from around the world. There is also an impressive line-up of original pieces by some of today’s best loved choral composers, including Howard Goodall, Lin Marsh, Peter Gritton and Errollyn Wallen.
 
Download individual carols at www.fabermusicstore.com
 
I’m looking for a carol book that offers variety but doesn’t stray too far from the traditional mould
 
Try The Naxos Book of Carols. Antony Pitts presents 24 arrangements of traditional and original carols that tell the Christmas story in the same way that an Advent calendar gradually opens its windows day by day through December - from the hope of Advent and the message of the Angels to the humble birth of the baby in Bethlehem. SATB, with a good mix of accompanied and a capella (even the latter have optional accompaniments)
 
Find out more and listen to extracts at www.naxoscarols.com

I’d like to get my hands on a small, good-value collection that will last more than one season
 
Several titles in Faber’s Choral Programme Series should tick this box: My Dancing Day (arr. Paul Trepte) is a delightful collection of imaginative arrangements of traditional favourites, and Gaudete! (ed. Jeremy Summerly) is the perfect introduction to the
treasures of the medieval period.
 
 
We’re taking to the streets on a carol singing bonanza and we don’t want to lug around lots of books
 
The Essential Carol Singer is a pocket-sized, lightweight volume featuring 30 carols. Designed specifically with the mobile carol singer in mind, it provides the solution to the eternal problem of too many carol books and not enough hands. Offering simple arrangements in practical keys, each carol appears on a single page and is easy to read by candlelight or torchlight.
 
My choir would like to perform some challenging contemporary pieces at their carol service
 
The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College, Cambridge has long been the epitome of the Great British Choral Tradition at this time of year, and Faber Music is proud to publish several pieces that have featured in recent years. Try:
 
I’d like to intersperse traditional carols with something new and imaginative
 
There are some truly exciting composers making their stamp on the Christmas repertoire. Give some of the following short pieces a try:
 
 
I’d like to try some straightforward, fun Christmas pieces with my amateur choir 

Look no further than our Choral Basics series, guaranteed to have your audience reaching for the mistletoe and mince pies! Jazzy yet practical piano parts accompany all songs.
 
 
I’m looking for a big, impressive Christmas piece that will lift my audience’s spirits 

The Manchester Carols is an inspired collaboration between composer Sasha Johnson Manning and Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. A collection of 12 carols, linked by a gentle, entertaining narration, reshapes and modernises the Christmas story. Its creators wanted to write something that is relevant to and reflects modern society, and which acknowledges the fact that even though someone might not subscribe to the religion behind the Nativity story, they can still appreciate it as an inspiring, magical tale. The carols are for everyone, believers or not.
 
The Manchester Carols (Sasha Johnson-Manning & Carol Ann Duffy)The Manchester Carols 10-pack 
The Carol Singers’ Carol (Sasha Johnson-Manning & Carol Ann Duffy | SATB & piano)

Listen to The Manchester Carols and The Carol Singers’ Carol at www.naxos.com
 
I adore Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, and I’m looking for something in a similar style

A Garland of Carols is composer Anthony Bolton’s homage to Benjamin Britten. Scored for harp and upper voices, this piece will thrill your audience with its sonorous melodies and gripping lyrics, topped with a sprinkling of stardust.
 
I conduct an excellent girls’ choir, and I’m on the lookout for something new to show them off
 
Howard Goodall’s Enchanted Carols is a stunning collection of 17 original carols and interpretations of traditional carols. The carols may be performed individually or as a complete set (perhaps interspersed with readings or poetry).
 
 
Each carol is available to download from our website. For £10 per carol, you may print up to 30 copies for your choir. 
 
I’m looking for a light-hearted encore to our Christmas concert
 
Choral Programme Series to the rescue! These lively and imaginative collections are sure to keep your audience smiling. And with several pieces included in one festive package, these publications will keep your choir going year after year.
 
 
Finally... I’m now full of ideas, but my budget is tight and I need some help from Santa!
 
We can’t promise a visit from Rudolf, but we can help you out with some special prices on selected items featured in this article when you order using our special Chorale order form. Merry Christmas!