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While overseas in 1989 I came upon the book by Erik Routley A Panorama of Christian Hymnody - a sourcebook of hymns and other sacred texts. These four carols draw their texts from that book: the first two by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), the third by Eustace Condor (1820-1892), and the fourth by James Lowell (1819-1891). The fact that the poets are contemporaries is quite coincidental - these are texts which appealed and which appear to form a satisfactory cycle (although individual pieces may be performed separately).
Love Came Down at Christmas is a popular and widely set Christmas text, and originally appeared in Time Flies: A Reading Diary, while The Shepherds had an Angel comes from Rossetti's Poetical Works. Both texts were originally intended as hymns for children. The Childhood of Christ was also a children's hymn and is drawn from the Congregational Church Hymnal of 1867, whereas the Epiphany Carol appeared in the 1865 publication Songs of the Sanctuary.
Over a number of years I have written short Christmas pieces for groups directed by John Rosser - the Summer Singers, Quintessence, the Star Quartet and his fine chamber choir Viva Voce. These four pieces are dedicated to John and Kathryn Rosser as an appreciation for their interest in my music and willingness to perform (and record) it.
Dedicated to John and Kathryn Rosser
1: Love Came Down at Christmas
2:The Shepherds had an Angel
3: The Childhood of Christ
4: Epiphany Carol
Text by Rossetti, Condor and Lowell