This song was supposed to be featured on our show last year. It was one of those tough decisions when you've got too much material. Somebody had to wait until next year. However, Bob and Wendy were actually on last year's show more than any other musicians, as this piece became the theme music for that show, and they also came in and carefully worked with producer Joe Gunderman to underscore The Night Before Christmas. That underscoring was used again this year.
So we asked them, do you want to do a new song to be featured this year? And they said that, well, they really liked this one and would be happy to have folks hear the whole thing. After all, a theme only plays for a minute. We happily agreed, and it is a beautiful part of the show.
Oh, and about our theme. Well, we wanted another one. So they created this year's theme as well! We think we'll keep their version of the The Gloucestershire Wassail as the official Ornaments music. What do you think?
Here's what Wendy had to say about both songs:
"The Moon Shines Bright or The Bellmans' Song is a traditional English carol collected by Cecil Sharp from Warwickshire. The notes from the Christmas Revelers Songbook suggest that this piece be sung solemnly as the melody is dominated by E and B minor. The suggested slow tempo creates a haunting tune, however we arranged this piece with a rhythmic undercurrent that creates a lightness in spirit with a dynamic and strong melody. We are most appreciative of pieces that are captivating and often unfamiliar.
"In preparing a specific selection for Ornaments and Icing we also wished to play T'was In The Moon Of Wintertime'. This traditional French melody immigrated to Canada where Father Jean de Brebeuf (1593-1649) wrote the original words in Huron Indian. This gentle tune is dominated by E and A minor which worked well with our concept of playing both pieces. Our arrangement ends when we depart half way through the French/Canadian carol to join the last half of the English carol. Our final repeat brings in both instruments playing a spirited melody."
And about our brand new theme music, The Gloucestershire Wassail?
"This traditional English carol was collected by Ralph Vaughn Williams. It is a tune of good cheer and is to be sung or played with a sense of movement and/or swing. The word "wassail" comes from the Anglo-Saxon 'wes hal,' meaning 'be whole,' a greeting for 'good health!' The wassailers traveled from house to house singing with a cup, which their hosts were expected to fill.
Our recording was assisted by two sleeping Airedales, two sleeping (not all of the time) felines and three sleeping, but sighted field mice."