The First Christmas

The First Christmas
Louis Halsey
Catalogue No.

A rare, beautiful and unusual Christmas compilation: three 1960s Argo recordings of contemporary settings and arrangements of carols – Sir Cristemas, Sing Nowell and Carols Of Today – released collectively on Decca CD for the first time. The settings include composers such as Nicholas Maw, Peter Maxwell Davies, Malcolm Williamson, Louis Halsey, Bernard Naylor, William Walton, Edmund Rubbra, Peter Racine Fricker, Benjamin Britten, Richard Rodney Bennett, Arthur Oldham, Kenneth Leighton, William Matthias, Alun Hoddinott, It is a worthy reissue of the many recordings made for Argo by The Elizabethan Singers and their long-time musical director Louis Halsey.


CD 1
1 I saw three ships come sailing in (Trad., arr. Preston)
2 The first Christmas (Fricker)
3 Deck the halls (Trad., arr. Cole)
4 Dormi Jesu (Trad., arr. Bennett)
5 Wassail Song (Trad., arr. Joubert)
6 Our Lady’s Song (Anon., arr. Maw)
7 Unto us is born a son (arr. Eastwood)
8 There is no rose of such virtue (Joubert)
9 We wish you a Merry Christmas (Trad., arr. Gardner)
10 Silent night (Gruber, arr. Ridout)
11 The Boar’s Head Carol (Trad., arr. Williamson)
12 Balulalow (Trad., arr. Halsey)
13 Out of your sleep arise (Milner)
14 Ecce Puer (Naylor)
15 What cheer? (Walton)
16 From heaven winging (arr. Ramsey)
17 Welcome Yule! (Joubert)
18 Ave Maria – Hail, blessed flower (Maxwell Davies)
19 The first Nowell (Trad., arr. Gardner)
20 God rest ye merry, gentlemen (Joubert)
21 Infant holy (Rubbra)
22 A babe is born (Fricker)
23 Ding! Dong! Merrily on High (arr. Williamson)
24 Away in a manger (arr. Cole)
25 When Christ was born of Mary free (Gardner)
26 The holly and the ivy (arr. Britten)

CD 2
1 Salutation Carol (arr. Bennett)
2 Shepherds! Shake off your drowsy sleep (arr. Naylor)
3 Remember, O thou man (Oldham)
4 Good King Wenceslas (Williamson)
5 The old year now is fled (arr. Ridout)
6 Eastern Monarchs (Naylor)
7 O leave your sheep (arr. Leighton)
8 Wassail Carol (Mathias)
9 Jesu, Thou art our Saviour (Britten)
10 A Little Child there is yborn, Op. 48 (Joubert)
11 The sorrows of Mary (Bennett)
12 What tidings? (Hoddinott)
13 In Excelsis Gloria (Fricker)
14 Balulalow (Maw)
15 Alleluya, a New Work is come on Hand (Wishart)
16 Coventry Carol (McCabe)
17 The Oxen (Rawsthorne)
18 Laetabundus (Crosse)
19 Ave Plena Gracia (Maxwell Davies)
20 The Virgin and Child (Tate)
21 The Shout – An Easter Carol (Gardner)

Recording information

Recording Producers: Michael Bremner (CD1: 1-19, CD2, 8-21); Andrew Raeburn (CD1: 20-26, CD2: 1-7)
Balance Engineers: Michael Mailes (CD1: 1-19), Stanley Goodall (CD2, 8-21); unidentified (CD1: 20-26, CD2: 1-7)
Recording Locations: Holy Trinity Church, Kensington, London, UK, July 1963 (CD1: 20-26, CD2: 1-7), April 1965 (CD1: 1-19), April 1966 (CD2: 8-21)