Monday, December 1, 2014

John Williams: Carol Of The Bells - "Shchedryk"




"Carol of the Bells" is a popular Christmas carol, composed by Mykola Leontovych with lyrics by Peter J. Wilhousky. The song is based on a folk chant known in Ukrainian as "Shchedryk". Wilhousky's lyrics are copyrighted, although the original musical composition is not.

The song is based on a traditional folk chant. It was associated with the coming New Year which, in pre-Christian Ukraine, was originally celebrated with the coming of spring in April. (This explains the reason why the original Ukrainian text speaks about a swallow returning and lambs being born.)

With the introduction of Christianity to Ukraine, and the adoption of the Julian calendar, the celebration of the New Year was moved from April to January, and the holiday with which the chant was originally associated became the Feast of Epiphany (also known in Ukrainian as Shchedry vechir). The songs sung for this celebration are known as Schedrivky.

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