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page one of Wassail

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Full details

The UK’s folk tradition of Wassailing evolved through a number of guises in previous centuries. Robert Herrick’s (1591-1674) poem suggests a forerunner of the contemporary practice of knocking on doors in a neighbourhood to sing carols in exchange for food, drink, or money. The poem is written from the perspective of those wassailing and they begin by offering blessings on kin (bin in the original text) and basket if they are allowed to enter. In this setting, the wassail is led by two soloists. After a couple of minutes (bar 71) it becomes apparent that no one is answering the door and the mood becomes less generous until the group decide to move on.

Score ID
Year of composition
Robert Herrick
Difficult (Grades 7+)
4 minutes
Classical music

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Cover art for Wassail

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