The Wexford Carol is a 15th-century Irish hymn that's intricate in its beautiful melody, while relating the story of the Nativity.
As the kids from Peanuts would say, “Christmas time is here,” and since the radio stopped playing holiday tunes, Aleteia is continuing to bring our readers some of the finest Christmas songs for the season. Today we’re listening to an old Irish hymn known as the Wexford Carol, freshly recorded by VOCES8 in 2022.
The Wexford Carol was so named for its origins in Wexford Country, Ireland, and is sometimes known as the Enniscorthy Carol, as it is believed to have come from this Irish town. While it is unknown who wrote the traditional melody, it is believed to have originated around the 15th-century. The tune was saved from obscurity by William Gratton Flood, who transcribed the piece in the late 19th century.
The lyrics of this carol tell the story of the Nativity and calls on all Christians to celebrate the birth of Christ. The first verse goes:
Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending His beloved Son
With Mary holy we should pray,
To God with love this Christmas Day
In Bethlehem upon that morn,
There was a blessed Messiah born.
According to the description provided by VOCES8, this rendition of the Wexford Carol was arranged by Timothy Noon, who is the father of Molly Noon, one of VOCES8’s sopranos. Molly Noon can be heard singing the first verse solo in the recording featured above.
Timothy’s arrangement is marked by expressive, lilting harmonies and complex voicing. The personal nature of the arrangement lends itself well to the holiday season, making this an excellent Christmas gift from VOCES8 to their fans.