Check out the 2021 Fiddlerman “White Christmas” Group Project.
I ended up picking through 'Colonial Christmas Music' to choose an instrumental Christmas CD for Friends and Family this year.
What surprised me, was I didn't really hear 'American' music, well except maybe one or 2 - the majority is Old English and Celtic and many other Countries of origin.
I have fallen in love with some of the tunes I encountered and want to share them, but I'd certainly appreciate it if someone would recommend a better place for 'Colonial Music'.
A HUGE variety of Carols & Dance music in these CD's!
🎄 These are just some that I happen to fancy at the moment - there are definitely MORE JOYFUL tunes on these CD's, also! 🤣
The CD I chose this year is, "Colonial Christmas", by Barry Phillips and Friends.
This has THE best version of, 'Christ Child Lullaby'!
'Höken' is obviously a Nordic tune and I LOVE IT! Google translate says 'Hawk' in Swedish, so there's my guess. What a wonderful surprise to find in this CD!
Now, 'New Year's Eve' is ridiculously bubbly - okay, I LOVE IT!
'The Merry Wassail' pairs really nice with 'New Year's Eve' - same bubbly Baroque! THIS IS HAPPY MUSIC!
"A Colonial Christmas" by Early Music New York, really was 'my' 1st choice!
HUGE no. of tunes, quite a few are sung and so this CD didn't qualify (even though I like them) for my needs, but it has some GREAT tunes that I hadn't heard before!
A marvelous 'Christmas Cheer'!
And I MUST learn this, 'Lumps of Pudding'! 🤔... kinda describes how I've been feeling.
This is the best 'Drive the Cold Winter Away' that I've heard! It would pair nicely with 'Gloomy Winter'. Em tune - interesting info on this tune, I read elsewhere it was 1st believed Scottish, but now North Umbrian - maybe part of an earlier tune. https://thesession.org/tunes/11278
I HAVE to squeeze 'Twelfth Eve' in here - it's just too good to miss!
I highly recommend listening to all the tunes on this CD!
...still a few more tunes from other Colonial Christmas CD's.
P.S. I opted to show the videos here instead of just the links, because I think everyone's is getting a little sick of all the ads on YouTube. 🥰 I'll convert these to links a little later.
AND, the painting at the top of this post is "The Christmas Coach", by J.L.G. Ferris (1795). "Colonial Quills" offers this painting full size for desktop wallpaper, here.
So, how did the Colonies celebrate Christmas?
What about the Puritans, they were totally against Christmas - the biggest Grinches of all time!
Krampus? He might have snuck over with settlers - originating in the Alpine regions of Europe - the character known to deal with 'Santa's Naughty List'!
History.com has some great articles!
Figure I better mention about "John Playford's Dancing Master: The Compleat Dance Guide", since these tunes and dances would have been used in Colonial America. First published in 1651
This is "An exhaustive collection, catalogue, and index of all dances published in editions of the Dancing Master, 1651-1728".
Fortunately, this wonderful website has them ALL - scores and dance instruction!
Check out about 'Early American Life Magazine' at Gregory LeFever's 'Early American Writings'.
More from History.com - this article is VERY interesting!
Here's some tunes from Craig Duncan's "Colonial Christmas" album.
I haven't heard 'Blessed Be That Maid Marie' before - really like it.
Love this version of 'Cold and Raw'!
You might find some others you like here.
Craig Duncan also has an album of 'Colonial Hymns'.
So, here's a glimpse of what Jamestown was like at Christmas in the early 1600's.
If anyone has trouble finding sheet music for any of these,
let me know - I'll try to help.
The Yankee Tunesmiths
So, it's been hard to find anything of Americans composing Carol's or Christmas music, until the mid 1800's to early 1900's.
I love the "Huron Carol" by Jean de Brébeuf (1642) - it's considered the 1st Carol of the New World, but Canadian - since the Huron People were based in the Québéc area. What I don't understand is why didn't I grow up hearing it? There were many Huron that migrated to Michigan!
William Billings of Boston, Massachusetts, composed 2 Carols - "Judea" (1778) and "Shiloh" (1781). He was one of the first Americans to publish a collection of his original compositions.
Amos Munson was an American Composer in the 1700's - can't find any more info on him except he had a cousin that was also a composer. "Christmas" (circa 1785).
Daniel Read of New Haven, Connecticut, was one of the first composers to publish collections of his original work in the Colonies. He composed the Christmas Carol, "Sherburne" (1785).
James Lyon composed "Urania" (1761), while living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - the 1st (?) American to publish a collection with his original works.
Other noteworthy 'Yankee Tunesmiths':
- Justin Morgan (1747-1798), Massachusetts to Vermont.
- Timothy Swan (1758-1842), Massachusetts.
- Daniel Belknap (1771-1815), Massachusetts.
- Jacob French (1754-1817), Massachusetts.
- Jeremiah Ingalls (1764 - 1828), Vermont.
- Stephen Jenks (1772-1856), Connecticut & all over New England - ended up in Ohio.
- Abraham Wood (1752-1804), Massachusetts.
- Supply Belcher (1751-1836), Massachusetts to Maine.
- Lewis Edson (1748-1820), Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut.
- Elisha West (1752-ca. 1808), Maine.
- Alexander Gillet (circa 1700's), Connecticut.
- Oliver Brownson (circa 1700's), Connecticut.
- Jacob Kimbal Jr. (1761-1826), Massachusetts.
Found a HUGE archive of Colonial Music at ChoralWiki!
Música Colonial Archive!
The Música Colonial Archive is a collection of manuscripts and printed music originally held at the cathedral in Antigua - now held at the cathedral in the current capital, Guatemala City.
The works are from the 16th - 18th centuries.
Most of the composers are Spanish, some from other European countries and some from Latin American states.
List of Composers:
Alphabetical List of all the transcribed Música Colonial scores:
Pretty spectacular - I'll be hunting for treasure!