“Carol of the Bells” returns to Carnegie Hall 100 years after its North American premiere on this stage, when New York audiences first experienced Ukraine’s unique choral tradition thanks to a historic tour by The Ukrainian Republic Capella. “Carol of the Bells” has since become a worldwide Christmas favorite. Hear it and other beloved Ukrainian carols in a once-in-a-lifetime holiday concert that also features contemporary choral works, a world premiere by composer Trevor Weston, and artists including conductor Daniela Candillari, soprano Janai Brugger, Ukrainian-Canadian singer Marichka Marczyk, the Shchedryk Children’s Choir, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York (as seen on Saturday Night Live), and Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus of North America.carnegiehall.org/Calendar
Carol of the Bells is almost unique in the fact that it is a Christmas song that I don’t automatically loathe upon hearing the first chord. Every other Christmas song that gets airplay in the United States has been played so often to my unwilling ears that I can’t stand to hear the songs even one more time.
I never knew the history of the song before today. It’s a Ukrainian shchedrivka or New Years song that was introduced into to the United States back in the years between World War I and World War II, the last time that Ukraine was desperately trying to escape from Russian aggression, Russian oppression. Happy New Year, Ukraine. Here’s hoping 2023 finally delivers you from the Russia that you never wanted to be part of in the first place.
Bountiful evening, bountiful evening, a New Year’s carol;wikipedia.org
A little swallow flew into the household
and started to twitter,
to summon the master:
“Come out, come out, O master,
look at the sheep pen,
there the ewes have given birth
and the lambkins have been born
Your goods [livestock] are great,
you will have a lot of money, by selling them.
You have a dark-eyebrowed beautiful wife
If not money, then chaff from all the grain you will harvest
you have a dark-eyebrowed beautiful wife.”
The Carnegie Hall performance is tomorrow. Wish I could be there.