Fantasia on Christmas Carols
The single-movement work of roughly twelve minutes consists of the English folk carols "The truth sent from above", "Come all you worthy gentlemen" and the Sussex Carol ("On Christmas night all Christians sing"), all folk songs collected in southern England by Vaughan Williams and his friend Cecil Sharp a few years earlier. These are interposed with brief orchestral quotations from other carols, such as The First Nowell. The early work remains popular with choral societies, and is sometimes paired with his longer Christmas work Hodie of 1954.
There is also a version of the Fantasia which replaces the orchestra with strings and organ. A purely orchestral version, in which the solo vocal and choral parts were 'cued in' on the orchestral instruments, was performed in Studio 8H, New York, on 19 December 1943 by the NBC Symphony conducted by Leopold Stokowski. The broadcast of this unpublished version, which was presumably arranged by the conductor, has been released on a 'Guild Historical' CD and is also uploaded on YouTube.
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