Tune of the Day: Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella
Several authors have commented that this carol evokes the tradition of erecting a crèche to honor the Christ Child. However, according to both William L. Simon (Merry Christmas Songbook, 1981) and Nancy J. Skarmeas (The Carols of Christmas, 1993), the tune to this carol has been known since the 14th Century — not as a sacred hymn, but as a lively dance for French nobility. Both authors state that the carol, with words and music, first appeared in a compilation of Christmas music, Cantiques de Premiere Advenement de Jesu-Christ, published in 1553 by poet and painter Nicolas Denisot, whose hobby was the collection of Christmas music.
Many thanks to Mark for contributing this arrangement for flute trio!