Old Christmas Returned
Christmas celebrated, banned and restored in 17th Century England
"A wonderful selection of words and music. Although most of these will be unfamiliar to the audience - and indeed to the world at large - this is tempered by the fact that the ballads are often to be sung to well-known melodies.... The versatility of Passamezzo is amazing in smoothly juggling the forces required: lute and guitar, and a variety of viols and recorders, all expertly played. Eleanor Cramer's singing is a delight throughout"
The CD contains carols, consort songs and lutesongs, viol and lute solos, ballads, rounds, readings and madrigals and describes how Christmas was celebrated, banned & restored during the turbulent years of the 17th Century. The programme explores the feasts & revels of the season, following the calendar through Christmas, St Stephen's Day, St John's Day, Innocents' Day, New Year (this was the time for gifts rather than Christmas Day) and Epiphany (including songs about wassailing and the crowning of the king of the bean), before reaching Candlemas, the traditional end of Christmas. Ballads and songs describe how these Christmas festivities were reviled by the Puritans and banned by Parliament, but were restored with great rejoicing under Charles II.
The programme draws on research undertaken by Tamsin Lewis, on music which is either unpublished since the 17th Century or newly transcribed and reconstructed from manuscript sources. Songs like "Wassail, our jolly wassail", "This day our Saviour Christ was born" and "A Christmas song when the Rump was first dissolved" are recorded for the first time.
Includes music by Attey, Bull, Dowland, Gibbons, Lawes, Locke, Purcell, Smith and Wilson.
Listen to a sample from a track on Soundcloud : Balulalow, ane sang of the birth of Christ
Old Christmas Returned - CD