Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Old Year Now Away Is Fled...


... The New Year it is entered
        Then let us all our sins downtread
            And joyfully all appear....

Well, there is 2013 all gone and past, and 2014 is upon us, and I, for one, am glad. The year just gone was a considerable improvement over the one before it, but it was sufficiently trying that I have sort of mentally grouped the last two years together into a single unit, which I am very pleased to see the back of. Oddly enough, I am rather grateful for the last couple years, and think that, hard as they were, I am better for having lived through them. Still, I am delighted to be through with that part of my life, and am looking forward to this coming year with genuine pleasure and hopefulness. So, here's to the New Year - may it bring blessings and happiness with it!

In addition to being New Year's Day, January 1st is also the Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord as well as the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. That being the case, I am posting a really beautiful tune, sung by the Clancy Brothers:



You are getting this version, both because I love the simplicity of the arrangement, but also because the video that accompanies it is very lovely. As far as the song is concerned, I cannot tell you much about it. The only information I can find for its origin, comes from a website called Mainly Norfolk, which has this to say about  it:

According to the New Oxford Book of Carols, John Jacob Niles claimed to have collected this carol in Mayfield, Kentucky, in 1933 and published it in 1948 in The Anglo-American Carol Study Book. This would appear to be a near-miraculous survival of the fifteenth-century English carol text I sing of a maiden that is makeless. Maddy Prior sang this carol on Steeleye Span's CD Winter. She commented in the album's sleeve notes: What a beautiful medieval carol this is. Every word and every note perfectly written.

It would not be too far-fetched for a medieval song to survive America in this manner. There are areas around the Appalachians which, due to their isolation, have retained a decidedly Elizabethan mode of speech, though that is no doubt less common now than it was even 30 years ago.

3 comments:

Katrina DeLallo said...

I would probably say I've never heard another version of this song sung anywhere else, and I love the way they sing this song.

Bella Rose said...

Aw that was a lovely video :) happy new year Mahri - I hope this one is nicer to you

Mahri said...

Kat ~ The only other recording of this song that I know if, is by the Maddy Prior who was quoted in the 'liner notes' for it. And this version is sweeter. Besides, I really loved the shadow puppetry.

Bella ~ I feel rather hopeful about this year - at the very least, my out-look is much better :-)