Well-known English composer, Gustav Holst (1874-1934) wrote this choral fantasy in 1910, about five years before his renowned orchestral suite, The Planets. The piece was originally composed for SATB choir and orchestra and dedicated to the students of Morley College, where Holst taught music. In the years since, it has been arranged for various combinations of voice and/or instruments. This arrangement by Philip Rayment is in the original key and could be adapted for use with choir and/or organ.
Christmas Day features three carols in their entirety: Good Christian Men, Rejoice; God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen and Come, Ye Lofty, Come, Ye Lowly (an old Breton melody). There are also references to The First Nowell. Although well-received initially, this work (like many of Holst’s) was neglected for many years and has not been widely recorded. It is hoped that it will be useful for brass bands during the festive season, particularly in a large acoustic.