The Carol Symphony

Work Name: Carol Symphony
Composer/Origin: Victor Hely-Hutchinson
Composed/Published/1st Appeared: composed in 1927, premiered in 1929
Piece Style/Time Period: Symphony
Summery:  Carol Symphony is a collection of four preludes, written by Victor Hely-Hutchinson in 1927

History: It had its first performance on 26 September 1929 at a promenade concert at the Queen’s Hall which was broadcast live on the BBC’s 2LO, with other music by Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Percy Pitt. It was conducted by the composer.
Structure: It is based on four Christmas carols, given additional orchestration and counterpoint arrangements. The four movements are written to be played uninterrupted consecutively.

  • The first movement (Allegro energico) is based on O Come All Ye Faithful. It is in the style of a Bach chorale prelude.
  • The second movement is a scherzo (Allegro molto moderato) on God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, similar to the Russian Balakirev compositions.
  • The third movement (Andante quasi lento e cantabile) is a slow movement whose outer sections are based on the Coventry Carol, with a central interlude on The First Nowell.
  • The finale (Allegro energico come prima) recapitulates material from the first movement, and also uses Here We Come A-Wassailing before concluding with a re-statement of O Come All Ye Faithful similar to a style of Charles Villiers Stanford in a fugal structure.


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