All hail to the days that merit more praise
Than all the rest of the year…
Loreena McKennitt sings it; and it’s on virtually every Anglophile Christmas or Solstice or Winter-related recording. I know of no reason we shouldn’t do it also! This traditional tune, first known as When Phoebus did rest, was set and arranged by John Playford for his country dance primer, The English Dancing Master, in 1651. Related versions of it are also found in the Samuel Pepys collection of broadsides under the title A pleasant Countrey new ditty: Merrily shewing how To drive the cold winter away and a version is also found in d'Urfey's multi-volume set Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melancholy. It remains one of the more popular English ballads in its several incarnations.
December is seene apparel’d in greene
And January, fresh as May…
Considering where we live, I for one am not so eager to drive the cold winter away, though I don’t have to deal with 6-foot snow-storms, either. At any rate, it’s a great song, David Lopez sounds wonderful in his solo verse (listen to the audio teaser below!), the choral parts are fresh, playful, and a little innovative, and evocative visions of hot chocolate and hot cider and maybe a hot toddy or two prevail!
The old and young doth carol this song,
To drive the cold winter away.
This song is also available on our CD Swete was the Songe: An Early Music Christmas in Northern Europe and the British Isles.
Drive the Cold Winter Away, just not too quickly, ok?
TEMP: An Early Christmas. In 4 Days.
It’s still early in the week, but the Friday forecast is 79F. In Austin. We must have some cold winter before we can drive it away, no?