“On Christmas Night, On Christmas Day, Rejoice!” takes its name from lyrics of the three tunes that comprise this medley.
“On Christmas night all Christians sing” are the opening words of the Sussex Carol, a traditional English tune with words first published by Luke Wadding, a 17th-century Irish bishop, in Small Garland of Pious and Godly Songs (1684). English folk-song collectors Cecil Sharp and Ralph Vaughan Williams both collected versions of the song, and Vaughan Williams published his arrangement of the tune in 1919.
“On Christmas day in the morning” are the concluding words of the refrain of the carol also known as “I Saw Three Ships.” Like the Sussex Carol, it is a traditional English carol, and it was published by William Sandys in his 1833 work, Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern.
“Rejoice” is the imperative verb in the invitation, “Good Christian men, rejoice,” which are the opening words to the medieval carol, “In dulci jubilo” (“In sweet rejoicing”). John Mason Neale, an Anglican priest, scholar, and hymn-writer, wrote the familiar English translation in 1853.
Quick to rehearse and fun to play, this cheerful medley evokes the joy of Christmas.
Score, parts (Bb tpt. 1, Bb tpt. 2, F horn, tbn, tuba) — $12.99