Today’s carol is the first piece of music I ever sang with the Wesley Choir, and today must be pretty close to the (? 8th) anniversary of that carol service, since it would have been the Sunday before Christmas. I don’t think we’ve sung it since, which is a pity, if only because Soprano S would have a field day with the lyrics.
We’re back in the genre of medieval carols that hark back to the Garden of Eden and have lyrics that I find more amusing than I should. My personal favourite line in this is the bit which goes ‘And I did what I can, therefore repent.’ There’s a certain note of ‘look, you guys, I’ve done my part, now you’ve got to step up and keep your end of the bargain’ that I find rather appealing.
It’s astonishingly hard to find a good recording of this. I don’t understand why, because it’s a fairly simple piece of music, but perhaps the slightly puritanical lyrics put people off. The recording with good voices tend to have crying babies and medieval costumes (the latter are admittedly rather cool; the former not so much), or else they start midway through the first bar – or they miss the first verse entirely! Or they interminably slow. This recording one is a little on the slow side, and the soloist irritates me beyond belief, but the harmonies are right and the words are there.