Set to a traditional 16th-17th century Irish tune, the Irish Carol (“Christmas Day is Come”) is attributed to Luke Wadding (1558-1657), a Franciscan friar and historian born in Ireland who did much to strengthen the Catholic Church in Ireland and raise its profile in Rome. Although he was a prolific writer who published his own “Small Garland of Pious and Godly Songs” (1684), the so-called Irish Carol appeared in “A New Garland Containing Songs for Christmas” by William Devereux (1696-1771) as “The Second Carol for Christmas Day.” It is likely that Devereux, not Wadding, was the author of the text, which begins:
Christmas Day is come; Let us prepare for mirth,
Which fills the heav’ns and earth at His amazing birth.
Through both thy joyous angels in strife and hurry fly,
With glory and hosannas, “Holy, Holy” they cry.
In Heav’n the church triumphant adores with all her choirs,
The militant on earth with humble faith admires.
Although more than one tune has been associated with “Christmas Day is Come” (including one known as “The Brown Little Mallet”), the tune that is the basis for this arrangement is most commonly associated today.
Score, parts (Bb tpt. 1, Bb tpt. 2, F horn, tbn, tuba) — $12.99