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Oxford’s top 10 carols of 2013

Christmas is big at Oxford University Press and carol-related tasks continue virtually all year. We publish most of the festive music that the world knows and loves, and our editors started working on carols for this Christmas in the summer of 2012. We’re all carolled out every year by August! October, November, and December are particularly frantic for our Music Hire Library. All you carollers out there need your Christmas accompaniments to arrive within the same few weeks (not that we’re complaining — obviously that’s how it has to be), and omissions and additions can happen to anyone, and usually do.

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Miriam and Bethan, the Hire Library worker elves, have despatched hundreds of parcels worldwide containing an average of five orchestral sets in each order. And there’s problem-solving on top of their day to day work-load; OUP has run out of sets of Rutter’s Candlelight Carol, someone’s lost the first clarinet part of O little town, the courier’s arrived with the parcel but the church was locked.

Here’s a Spotify playlist of the 10 carols Miriam and Bethan send out most often. We hope it gets you in the Christmas mood:

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And, digging deeper, here is a list of our top 20 most-hired carols — many of them from the much-loved and much-used Carols for Choirs series. All the old favourites are here, plus a few newer carols which are destined to live just as long!

  1. “O come, all ye faithful,” David Willcocks, from Carols for Choirs 1 and 100 Carols for Choirs
  2. “Hark! the herald-angels sing,” Mendelssohn, arr. David Willcocks, from Carols for Choirs 1 and 100 Carols for Choirs
  3. “Once in royal David’s city,” Gauntlett, arr. David Willcocks, from Carols for Choirs 2 and 100 Carols for Choirs
  4. “Candlelight Carol,” John Rutter, from Carols for Choirs 5
  5. “Shepherd’s pipe carol,” John Rutter, from Carols for Choirs 2 and 100 Carols for Choirs
  6. Angels’ Carol, John Rutter
  7. “Star Carol,” John Rutter, from Carols for Choirs 3 and 100 Carols for Choirs
  8. “The twelve days of Christmas,” John Rutter, from Carols for Choirs 2 and 100 Carols for Choirs
  9. “Sans Day Carol,” John Rutter, from Carols for Choirs 2 and 100 Carols for Choirs
  10. “O little town of Bethlehem,” Vaughan Williams, from Carols for Choirs 1 and 100 Carols for Choirs
  11. “Jingle, bells,” Pierpont arr. David Willcocks, from 100 Carols for Choirs
  12. “A merry Christmas,” arr. Arthur Warrell, from Carols for Choirs 1 and 100 Carols for Choirs
  13. On Christmas Night – vocal score, Bob Chilcott
  14. “Nativity carol,” John Rutter, from Carols for Choirs 2 and 100 Carols for Choirs
  15. Christmas Lullaby, John Rutter
  16. On Christmas Night – score and parts for chamber accompaniment, Bob Chilcott
  17. “Good King Wenceslas,” arr. Reginald Jacques, from Carols for Choirs 1
  18. “It came upon a midnight clear,” Arthur Sullivan arr. David Willcocks, from Carols for Choirs 2 and 100 Carols for Choirs
  19. “Sussex Carol,” arr. David Willcocks, from Carols for Choirs 1 and 100 Carols for Choirs
  20. Dance and Sing (Il est né), Ryan Murphy

The Oxford University Press Music Hire Library is one of the largest commercial music hire libraries in the world. Our hire catalogue contains thousands of individual titles. We have especially strong representation in twentieth-century British music, classic choral editions, and opera choruses. We also own the largest Christmas carol orchestration library in the world.

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