Thursday, December 29, 2016
On the Fifth Day of Christmas: Everyone's favorite arrangement of the Wexford Carol
On the Fifth Day of Christmas, I'm listening again to Yo-Yo Ma's arrangement of The Wexford Carol, sung by Allison Krauss, with Ma on the cello, Natalie McMaster on violin, Christina Pat on pipes, and Shane Shanahan, percussion.
This traditional carol is also known as the Enniscorthy Carol in Ireland, as it was "found" (collected is the correct term, I believe) in Enniscorthy (County Wexford) by a Dr. Grattan Flood, organist and choirmaster at St. Aidan Cathedral there. However, tradition has it that the carol dates to the 12th century. Some of the words are found in a 17th century collection of carols known as the Kilmore Carols.
Interestingly, it was almost certainly originally written in English, not Gaelic. It appears to be one of the oldest European carols still sung.
But no doubt Dr. Flood's reintroduction of the Wexford/Enniscorthy Carol in his transcription published in The Oxford Book of Carols in 1928 brought it back into more popular use.