It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

from Austin for Christmas by Karen Mal & Will Taylor

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It Came Upon a Midnight Clear is a poem and song written by Edmund Sears, who was a part time pastor of the Unitarian Church in Wayland, Massachusetts. He was writing during a period of personal melancholy, and with news of revolution in Europe and the United States' war with Mexico fresh in his mind, Sears portrayed the world as dark, full of "sin and strife," and not hearing the Christmas message. In this carol, Reverend Sears describes an angel chorus singing God’s message of peace on the earth, good will to men, but their songs fall on heedless humanity so immersed in wars and strife that they can’t hear the angel songs or God’s message of peace.

One account says the carol was first performed by parishioners gathered in Sears' home on Christmas Eve, but it is unknown to what tune as Willis' familiar melody was not written until the following year.
According to Ken Sawyer, Sears' song is remarkable for its focus not on Bethlehem, but on his own time, and on the contemporary issue of war and peace. Written in 1849, it has long been assumed to be Sears' response to the just ended Mexican–American War.

He thought of his song as a carol. Carols were popular as dance songs and gradually their role expanded to processional songs that people sang during festivals. Carol singing declined after the Protestant Reformation because Calvinists disliked what they considered “nonessential” practices connected with Roman Catholicism. Carols were just beginning a nineteenth century revival as famous composers began to write new and contemporary versions of their ancient forms and It Came Upon The Midnight Clear was one of the first of these new carols.

Source: historybecauseitshere.weebly.com/the-angels-song---it-came-upon-the-midnight-clear.html, Wikipedia

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from Austin for Christmas, released December 2, 2017

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Will Taylor & Strings Attached Austin, Texas

🎻 Violinist heard on The Office, NPR, & Collaborations w/Willie Nelson, Pearl Jam, and Shawn Colvin. ❤️ Will Taylor and Strings Attached has made a name for itself by reworking iconic music like the Beatles ‘White album’, as well as Joni Mitchell, Pink Floyd, Paul Simon, and Jimi Hendrix—adding jazz and roots flavors along with string arrangements to lovingly assembled acoustic renditions. ... more

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