'Tapestry of Carols' cover
CD - Saydisc CD-SDL 366
(UK, 1987)
Maddy Prior
with The Carnival Band

A Tapestry Of Carols
  1. The Sans Day Carol [3:36]
  2. In Dulci Jubilo [2:59]
  3. God Rest You Merry Gentlemen [4:35]
  4. It Came Upon The Midnight Clear [3:41]
  5. The Holly And The Ivy [3:15]
  6. The Coventry Carol [3:25]
  7. Ding Dong Merrily On High [2:30]
  8. The Angel Gabriel [2:46]
  9. Angels From The Realms Of Glory [3:11]
  10. Infant Holy [1:27]
  11. A Virgin Most Pure [5:15]
  12. Unto Us A Boy Is Born [2:56]
  13. Rejoice And Be Merry [2:05]
  14. Joseph Dearest [3:53]
  15. Personent Hodie [2:55]
  16. On Christmas Night (Sussex Carol) [2:29]
musicians: Maddy Prior - vocals
Bill Badley - lute, baroque guitar, guitar, gittern, banjo, mandolin, mandocello, cittern, vocals
Andrew Davis- double bass
Charles Fullbrook - small and medium tabors, Basel trommel, glockenspiel, small bells, woodblocks, cowbell, triangle, antique cymbals, tambourin provencal, vocals
Giles Lewin- violin, recorders, vocals
Andrew Watts - flemish bagpipes, bassoon (c.1815), curtal, clarinet in C, recorders, shawms, vocals
other credits: Recorded and produced by Gef Lucena (Saydisc) and David Wilkins (Valley Recordings)
All titles arranged Andrew Watts except [9] arranged Andrew Watts and Giles Lewin
Booklet designed by Genny Lucena

N o t e s   a n d   L y r i c s

        was formed in 1984 to perform popular medieval, renaissance and traditional music, not in an `authentic way' but on a mixture of old and modern instruments. The musical background of the five players encompass folk, early music, classical and contemporary music. Their repertoire ranges from Bolivian carnival tunes to Yugoslav dances and Renaissance theatre songs, the only common thread being the spirit of Carnival. Out of this melting pot comes a style full of energy, a sense of fun and immediate rapport with the audience.
     A few months after its formation, producer John Forrest asked the Carnival Band to accompany Maddy Prior in a recording of Christmas Carols for BBC 2. The recording was made in Scotby village hall near Carlisle, with Maddy appropriate enough expecting a child. In spite of interruptions from a village cat and friendly neighbours, the recording was a success. The performers went their separate ways, but the magic of the carols had begun to work on them. A little over two years later they met again in similar circumstances - this time an eighteenth century Quaker Meeting House near Bristol - to make this record.
       It comes as a surprise to discover that many of our `traditional English carols' are neither traditional nor English in origin. Less than half the songs on this record fall into that category. Of the others, some are translations of Christmas songs from other European countries and some are tunes which originally had nothing to do with Christmas but were appropriated by nineteenth century hymn-writers. Ding Dong Merrily On High, a dance tune, is a good example. Nevertheless they have won an unrivalled place in our affections because like the best of all popular culture the words and tunes have a freshness and vitality with speak directly to us.
       In making this record, Maddy Prior and The Carnival Band deliberately shut out all memories of cathedral choirs, brass bands, and supermarket jingles. We took the tunes and words just as we would any other song and allowed them to dictate the style, speed, harmonies and instrumentation. The result surprised us.
       Of course our own experience and backgrounds affected the arrangements and we have taken liberties too. These are not authentic versions. Somewhere along the line Angels From The Realms got changed from a French folk tune into a mixture of Cajun fiddle and New Orleans marching band, but we have always tried to follow the spirit of the original. In this way we trust we have been true to the carols and to the meaning of Christmas.

  Sans Day Carol
Cornish traditional
Flemish bagpipes, violin, mandolin, bass, tambourin provencal

Now the holly bears a berry as white as the milk,
And Mary bore Jesus all wrapped up in silk.
And Mary bore Jesus, our Saviour to be,
And the first tree in the greenwood was the holly

Now the holly bears a berry as green as the grass
And Mary bore Jesus who died on the cross.
And Mary bore Jesus, our Saviour to be,
And the first tree in the greenwood was the holly
Now the holly bears a berry as black as the coal,
And Mary bore Jesus who died for us all.
And Mary bore Jesus, our Saviour to be,
And the first tree in the greenwood was the holly

Now the holly bears a berry as blood it is red,
And Mary bore Jesus who rose from the dead.
And Mary bore Jesus, our Saviour to be,
And the first tree in the greenwood was the holly

  In Dulci Jubilo
German 14th century
recorders, lute, antique cymbals

In dulci jubilo, now sing with hearts aglow
Our delight and pleasure lies in praesepio
Like sunshine is our treasure Matris in gremio
Alpha est et O

O Jesu parvule for Thee I long alway
Comfort my hearts blindness O puer optime
With all thy loving kindness O Princeps gloriae
Trahe me post te
O Patris caritas O nati lenitas
Deeply were we stained Per nostra crimina
But thou for us has gained Caelorum gaudia
That we were there O that we were there

Ubi sunt gaudia In any place but there
There angels singing Nova Cantica
And there the bells are ringing In regis curia
O that we were there

  God Rest You Merry Gentlemen
English traditional
violin, baroque guitar, bassoon, bass, Basel trommel

God rest you merry, gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay,
Remember Christ our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day,
To save us all from Satan's pow'r
When we were gone astray;

O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.

In Bethlehem in Jewry
This blessed babe was born,
And laid within a manger,
Upon this blessed morn;
The which his mother Mary
Nothing did take in scorn:


From God our heavenly Father
A blessed angel came.
And unto certain shepherds
Brought tidings of the same,
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by name:


"Fear not," then said the angel,
"Let nothing you affright,
This day is born a Saviour,
Of virtue, power, and might;
So frequently to vanquish all
The friends of Satan quite".


The shepherds at those tidings
Rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding,
In tempest, storm, and wind,
And went to Bethlehem straightway
This blessed babe to find:


But when to Bethlehem they came,
Whereat this infant lay
They found him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay;
His mother Mary kneeling,
Unto the Lord did pray:


Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All others doth deface:


It Came Upon The Midnight Clear
Tune English traditional, Words E. H. Sears 1810-76
recorder, cittern, curtal, small bells

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold!
"Peace on the earth, good will to men,
From heaven's all gracious King!
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled
And still their heavenly music floats
O'er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing.
And ever o'er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.
Yet with te woes of sin and strife
The world hath suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love song which they bring:
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.

For lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophet bards foretold,
When, with the ever-circling years,
Shall come the Age of Gold;
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And all the world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.

The Holly And The Ivy
English traditional
recorder, cittern, curtal, small bells

The holly and the ivy
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown

Oh the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing all in the choir


The holly bears a blossom
As white as the lily flower
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To be our sweet Savior


The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To do poor sinners good


The holly bears a prickle
As sharp as any thorn
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
On Christmas day in the morn


  The Coventry Carol
English 16th century

Lullay, thou little tiny child, lullay
By, by, lully, lullay
Lullay, thou little tiny child, lullay
By, by, lully, lullay

Oh sisters too, how may we do
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling, for whom we sing
By, by, lully, lullay

Herod the king, in his raging
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight
All children young to slay

The woe is me, poor child for thee
And ever mourn and pray
Lullay, thou little tiny child, lullay
by, by, lully, lullay

  Ding Dong Merrily on High (Branle de l'Officiel)
Tune French 16th cent., Words G. R. Woodward 1848-1934
recorder, violin, lute, bass, glockenspiel

Ding Dong! Merrily on high
In Heaven the bells are ringing
Ding Dong! Verily the sky
Is riv'n with angels singing.
    Gloria! Hosanna in excelsis!
E'en so here below, below
May steeple bells be swungen
And "io io io!"
By priests and people sungen
Gloria! Hosanna in excelsis!
Pray you, dutifully prime
Your matin chime, ye ringers!
May you beautifully rhyme
Your evetime song you singers!
Gloria! Hosanna in excelsis!

  The Angel Gabriel
Tune Basque traditional, Words S. Baring-Gould 1834-1924

  Angels From The Realms Of Glory (Les Anges Dans Nos Campagnes)
Tune French trad., Words J. Montgomery
violin, clarinet in C, guitar, bass, triangle, large tabor

Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o’er all the earth;
Ye, who sang creation’s story,
Now proclaim Messiah’s birth.
Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

Shepherds in the fields abiding,
Watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with man is now residing
Yonder shines the infant light.
Gloria in Excelsis Deo!
Sages leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of nations,
Ye have seen his natal star.
Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

Saints before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear
Suddenly the Lord descending
In his temple shall appear.
Gloria in Excelsis Deo!
Though an infant now we view him
He shall fill his father's throne
Gather all the nations to him
Every knee shall then bow down.
Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

  Infant Holy (W zlobie Lezy)
Polish traditional
mandocello, bass

  A Virgin Most Pure
English traditional
recorder, violin, lute, bass

  Unto Us A Boy Is Born (Uns ist geboren ein Kindelein)
German medieval
recorders, gittern, glockenspiel

  Rejoice and Be Merry
English traditional
violin, clarinet in C, banjo, bass, side drum, wood block, cowbell

  Joseph Dearest (Joseph, lieber Joseph mein)
German 16th cent.
recorder, bassoon, lute, bass

  Personent Hodie
German 14th cent. and Piae Cantiones 1582
Free English translation by Andy Watts
shawm, recorder, mandocello, bass, medium tabor

Personent hodie voces puerulae
Laudantes jucunde Qui nobis est natus
Summo deo datus et de virgineo

In mundo nascitur Pannis in volvitur
Praesepi ponitur Stabulo brutorum
Rector supernorum
Perdidit spolia princeps infernorum

Magi tres venerunt Parvulum inquirunt
Parvulum inquirunt Stellulam sequendo
Ipsum adorando
Aurum thus et myrrham ei offerendo

Omnes clericuli Pariter pueri
Cantent ut angeli Adventisti mundo
Laudes tibi fundo
Ideo gloria in excelsis deo.
On this day youthfull voices sing aloud,
joyfull praising Him who was born for
us, given by God, born of a virgin.

Born into the world, wrapped in
swaddling clothes, laid in a manger in
an animals' stable, the Ruller of all, The
Prince of Hell is robbed of his spoils!

Three Magi came and offered their gifts.
They sought the child, following a star,
offering gold, incense and myrrh in

All clerks and choristers sing with angels:
"You have come into the world;
All praise to You; Glory to God
in the Highest!"

  On Christmas Night (Sussex Carol)
English traditional
Flemish bagpipes, violin, mandolin, bass, tambourine

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