Your favorite period correct Christmas tunes?

Claude Bauer

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A lot of what we know as traditional Christmas music was around during the Civil War. I thought it would be fun to collect everyone's favorite period tunes--they can be from before the war or during the war, but not after (OK, shortly thereafter works, too 🙂).

I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

This song is based on a poem born of the anguish of a father (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) over his son (Charles Longfellow) being wounded in the war. See this Sons of the Union Veterans Facebook post for the full story:


To kick it off, here are three that emerged in that time frame that are still around today:

Jingle Bells” (originally published as “The One Horse Open Sleigh”)
Up on the Housetop

For an interesting article on the Civil War history of these two tunes, see the recent Washington Post article "The forgotten Civil War history of two of our favorite Christmas carols"

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outl...-jingle-bells-other-classic-christmas-tunes/)


What other Civil War-era Christmas music do you enjoy? Links to performances welcome!
 
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Claude Bauer

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I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, Silent Night, and O Holy Night are my favorites of any period. I wish there were more recordings of the full version of I Heard the Bells.

I believe they typically leave out the 4th and 5th verses, which refer directly to the Civil War:

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South, And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
 

donna

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Another favorite for me is "Once in Royal David's City". The poem was written by Mrs. Frances Alexander in 1848. It was included in book "Hymns for Little Children". The melody was written by Henry J. Gauntlett.

Mrs. Alexander actually wrote eight books of hymns. Some of her other songs were, "There Is A Green Hill Far Away" and "Jesus Calls Us O'er the Tumult".
 

Claude Bauer

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Another favorite for me is "Once in Royal David's City". The poem was written by Mrs. Frances Alexander in 1848. It was included in book "Hymns for Little Children". The melody was written by Henry J. Gauntlett.

Mrs. Alexander actually wrote eight books of hymns. Some of her other songs were, "There Is A Green Hill Far Away" and "Jesus Calls Us O'er the Tumult".

Wow, "Once in Royal David's City" is a nice hymn. Here's a video of a performance by a boy's choir at King's College Cambridge in 2015:

 

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