Saturday, December 11, 2010

Mulliga's Christmas Spectacular - Shchedryk

If you don't recognize the title of the song that's the subject of this post, or what it has to do with Christmas, then you will after listening to this lovely performace of "Shchedryk" by the Volontyr Boys and Young Men Choir of Mukachevo:



Penned by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych, "Shchedryk" was not originally intended to be a Christmas carol, despite the fact that Leontovych was a church choirmaster. Of course, Leontovych's music has since come to be known as the "Carol of the Bells" in the English world, thanks to the addition of lyrics celebrating the arrival of Christmas by Peter Wilhousky in 1936.

It's one of my favorite carols, and probably one of the most challenging to sing. Leontovych's skill with polyphony makes a traditional Ukrainian folk song into something very, very special; unfortunately, he was reportedly murdered in 1921 as the Ukrainians (and their artists, composers, and authors) fell under the boot of Soviet Russia. The music lives on, however, even in China:

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