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The Complete Traditional Christmas Carols Collection
Release Date: 10/02/2015   Label: Coro  
Catalog: 16136   Number of Discs: 2
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Sing We Noël - Traditional Carols From St. John's Cathedral
Release Date: 07/06/1994   Label: Delos  
Catalog: 3128   Number of Discs: 1
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Traditional And Modern Carols / Hillier, Pro Arte Singers
Release Date: 11/12/2002   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 3957233   Number of Discs: 1
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Milken Archive - Traditional Cantorial And Concert Favorites / Simon Spiro
Release Date: 03/22/2005   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8559460   Number of Discs: 1
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Traditional Christmas Carol Collection Vol 2 / The Sixteen
Release Date: 10/12/2010   Label: Coro  
Catalog: 16085   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: The first nowell


About This Work
"The First Noel" is one of the most popular of all Christmas carols, known well to schoolchildren and to choral music arrangers who try to outdo each other in maximizing the registral sweep of the refrain by piling on lines of descant Read more harmony. Nevertheless, its origins are shrouded in the mists of non-notated popular musical culture. The word "Noel" is French, and was widely used (along with the variant "noe") in several hundred years' worth of French and Burgundian Christmas music; it seems to be derived from the Latin "natalis," meaning "birth." Accordingly, some historians have suggested a seventeenth-century French origin for the carol. However an English variant of the word, "Nowell," is of comparable antiquity, and many printed versions of the carol use that spelling; others contend that "The First Noel" dates back to English medieval times. By either reckoning, it is one of the oldest carols still in use, and its structure is unusual. While it is often shortened to two verses in modern performance, the carol's essence is that it tells, in a series of strophes, the entire story of Christ's birth. Seven verses have commonly come down to us; the carol's first publication, which occurred in England in 1833, included nine. Read less

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