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The Fagus Carol Book


(From the Publisher’s Preface)


One may well query the need for yet another book of carols. However, the desirability of the present publication became clear to me at Christmas 2005 when I decided to attempt to freshen up my own choir’s Christmas repertoire.

I imagine that, across the country, there will be many choirs like mine, keen and reasonably competent, more or less balanced in 4 parts and able to sing simple music unaccompanied, but with limited rehearsal time, and usually without a separate conductor, not able safely to perform more complex music. (It should hardly need saying that it is infinitely preferable to do straightforward music well than to come to grief in something more demanding.)

So I was trying to satisfy the following criteria: 


No more difficult than say, a four part hymn + descant

Not too complex an organ part 

Not too saccharine (with facile enharmonic modulations)

Not in syncopated rhythms that usually don’t work on the organ, or in a resonant acoustic

‘A capella’ settings should be allowed an optional accompaniment



Despite having a large library of Christmas music  I found great difficulty in finding suitable items.  Some that were useful had been done frequently before. Many were noticeably old-fashioned, many were far too complex or needlessly extravagant in demand.  I then realised that this represented an opportunity.   I decided to send out a ‘challenge’ to Fagus composers (and would-be composers) to come up with material which attempted to follow the brief.  In the event I was absolutely delighted to receive a considerable number of highly acceptable items.  In the end, because of their high quality, I have included one or two pieces which are a little more difficult.  I felt that to keep things manageable it was advisable to restrict the issue to 24 pieces. I also wanted to include three reissues of memorable items from the former Oecumuse lists.  In the event a few submissions have had to be held over, and if this issue is successful there may be a second volume.


Geoffrey Atkinson, Summer 2006





Individual carols can be heard by clicking on the item (please allow time for the files to download).  We have decided to put this section of the catalogue into our site as wav. files because the sound is so much better.  Unfortunately this means we cannot show you the music.  Please be reassured that most if not all the items are not difficult and can be performed by choirs and organists of modest accomplishment.  For the ultra-cautious we will happily send you a free pdf of all except the last page of anything in which you are interested.




1 A Boy was born Humphrey Clucas
2 As Joseph was a-walking Trevor Webb
3 Away in a Manger arranged by John Ellis
4 Before the Paling of the Stars Alan Smith
5 Behold a simple tender Babe June Nixon
6 Blessed be that Maid Marie Gordon Lawson
7 Coverdale’s Carol Gordon Lawson
8 If You would hear the Angels sing Kenneth Pont
9 In Another Land and Time John Ellis
10 Love came down at Christmas Nigel Gaze
11 Love came down at Christmas Gordon Lawson
12 Love came down at Christmas Peter Naylor
13 Lullaby my Liking Gordon Lawson
14 Lute-book Lullaby John Ellis
15 On Angels’ Wings Alan Smith
16 Silent Night arranged by Alan Smith
17 Sweetest of Scents arranged by Geoffrey Atkinson
18 Tambourine Carol Nigel Gaze
19 The Babe in Bethlehem's Manger laid Geoffrey Atkinson
20 The Cherry Tree Carol Ronald Watson
21 The Kings (Cornelius) arranged by Geoffrey Atkinson
22 The Seven Joys of Mary arranged by Brian Daniels
23 There is no Rose Gordon Barker
24 When Christ was born of Mary free Clive Walkley


Please observe carefully the purchase options

 1 Buy the whole book outright:      

 One copy £15.00

Five or more copies £11.50 each


Please note that the printing of bulk orders for the whole book will need to be outsourced so you should allow 14-21 days for delivery


2  Buy individual items

50p per page


3 Accept the offer of a ‘licence to print’


This costs 12.5p per page.  You can keep the copies and use them at any time, just as though you had bought them in the traditional way

In this instance the master copy can be sent via pdf



If still confused please phone or send an e-mail.

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Last updated: 03/03/24 14:05:35