The Hymns and Carols of Christmas


The Cowley Carol Book
First Series, Expanded and Enlarged
Compiled and Arranged by George Ratcliffe Woodward, Mus. Doc.
London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., ca. 1902

First Series, Expanded and Enlarged, Preface To First Series
London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., ca. 1902
Second Series, Preface To Second Series
London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., ca. 1912
Table Of Contents

In answer to a request that he should compile a small volume of Carols for use in the Church of S. John the Evangelist, Cowley, the Editor of this work put forth, in the Autumn of 1901, a series of thirty-nine carols, entitled, The Cowley Carol Book. This publication has been well received, and already a Second Edition is called for. The Editor has gladly availed himself of this opportunity to enlarge and improve his book. All the words contained in the first will be found in the second issue, but additions have been made. Here and there some of the harmonies, however, have been altered slightly, or written anew.

The contents and treasures of those most admirable collections of Carols for Christmas-tide, 1853, and Carols for Easter-tide, 1854, by the Rev. J. M. Neale and the Rev. T. Helmore, have again been freely drawn upon. In the New Edition (containing sixty-five Carols in all) no fewer than twenty-one can claim Dr. Neale for their Author. His words are given unaltered, except in one case (No. 50 [The World Itself Keeps Easter Day]) where, owing to the exigencies of the music, a short Latin phrase has been substituted for two Alleluyas. Concerning the words of the other Carols, some, as Nos. 40 and 42 are in Latin; others, as Nos. 2 and 32, are of old English origin. For the remainder the Editor is himself responsible. They are, for the most part, translations of Latin or German Carols, ranging from the XIIth to the XVIth Century. In half a dozen instances, for some fine old melody's sake, the Editor has written words of his own. Fault has been found with the Latin lines which occur here and there interspersed amongst the English verse; but the Editor ventures to think that the rhythm and association of the original tongue is sufficient excuse for his not having altered the arrangement.

The source of the tunes, as well as of the words, is given, as far as possible, over the head of each Carol. From Peter of Nyland's Piae Cantiones again many of the loveliest airs in this book have been fathered. In Nos. 1 and 63 (3rd Tune), the chief melody is assigned, as was the custom in the XVIth Century, to the Tenor voice. Mr. W. S. Rockstro recommends a more general return to this practice. Nos. 11, 12 (1st Tune), 14, 22, 43, and 63, have more the character of Chorales than of Carols. Their venerable age, intrinsic merit, and skilful treatment by Joh. Seb. Bach almost compelled their admission into the first edition. It was proposed to remove them from the present issue (they being more fit for insertion in a forthcoming volume of German Chorales), but the publishers begged that they might be retained.

It is the Editor's duty and pleasure to thank Mr. B. Laurd Selby, Mr. W. Shebbeare, Mr. E. W. Goldsmith, and especially the Rev. G. H. Palmer, and Dr. Charles Woods, for much valuable help and good taste in harmonizing the melodies. The face that Dr. Charles Wood has revised and passed the proof-sheets of the music is a guarantee of its correctness.  Among the faithful departed, the Editor records hi gratitude for the learning and labours of the Revs. John Mason Neale, Thos. Helmore, Wm. John Blew, John Rob. Lunn, and all of the other well-known or unknown authors of the words and tunes contained in this collection.

G. R. W.

Cadenabbia, Oct. 24, 1902

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