IT’S been a lot of fun putting together these carols day by day, and the readers and I have been down some interesting byways, such as the debate about the Beach Boys and revisiting the oeuvre of Pan’s People.
My favourite is the one I saved for last, Three Kings from Persian Lands Afar. My second favourite is the Coventry Carol, which was not on my original list but was recommended by a reader. The joy of the Messiah’s birth is overshadowed by the Massacre of the Innocents, but the intertwined wartime devastation of Coventry and its renaissance reinforces my hopeful belief in the triumph of good over evil.
Here is the whole collection in the order in which they appeared.
Once in Royal David’s City
Away in a Manger
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
In the Bleak Mid-winter
Joy to the world
Good King Wenceslas
The Coventry Carol
O Little Town of Bethlehem
God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen
It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
I Saw Three Ships
We Three Kings of Orient Are
O Come All Ye Faithful
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night
As with Gladness Men of Old
The Holly and the Ivy/Sans Day Carol
In Dulci Jubilo
See Amid the Winter’s Snow
O Holy Night
Lo! He Comes With Clouds Descending
Three Kings from Persian Lands Afar