The Carols of Christmas: A Celebration of the Surprising Stories Behind Your Favorite Holiday Songs by Andrew Gant
Every year I love to choose and read a book that is Christmas-oriented in its theme. This year I chose Carols of Christmas and it was a wonderful way to ease into the holidays. The Carols of Christmas explores the history of 21 favorite Christmas carols — both the lyrics and the music. The carols span a wide time-period — from the middle ages to modern days (O Come, O Come Emmanuel to Jingle Bells).
Andrew Gant is well-qualified to write on this subject, being himself a composer, choirmaster, church musician, and university teacher. He doesn’t just collect quaint little anecdotes about the songs, he digs deep down to the origins of where the ideas for the lyrics came from, how they changed over time, how church music has changed over time, and the function of the carol in our culture.
I must admit that I was smitten with the cover of the book which is beautifully designed and very attractive. And, I was impressed with the solid research that went into this book. I felt I came away with a greater understanding of carol singing both past and present. The only small complaint that I could have with the book was the amount of technical detail included which may not appeal to all audiences.
All in all, I think this is an excellent Christmas read and a good gift choice for someone in the music world.
Please note: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher for the purposes of review. All opinions are purely mine.