December 29, 2010

Carol: Lute Book Lullaby and Coventry Carol

Oops! I forgot to post my carol yesterday. So today we get two! I put these two together because I always associated them together when we were in high-school choir. The Coventry Carol is also called "Lulli Lullay" which I clearly thought was "Lute Book Lullaby".

They are associated in theme, though. The Lute Book Lullaby is Mary's lullaby to the Christ child. And the Coventry Carol is the song of the mothers of the Holy Innocents (whose feast we celebrated yesterday)--it uses the lullaby motif as the chorus, turned into mournful song of all that is lost.

This is one of the better videos I have seen of the Lute Book Lullaby. It is best sung with a small choir, so that every voice shines. Though the harmonies are medieval in character, the carol was written in the late 1900s. The best recording I know was done by the great counter tenor Alfred Deller, in his Consort's wonderful Christmas recordings.

The Coventry Carol is of course well known by most Christians. It is from the 16th Century, part of a Mystery Play. I like it best when sung by only women.

1 comment:

  1. I love Coventry Carol. And there are so many great interpretations of it. My favourite are Jessye Norman one in Christmastide and the one in "L'√Čtoile d'Orient" (which is difficult to find outside the francophone world).