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This very lovely carol - often known as ’The carol of the hay’ - has been sung to various tunes, and I have chosen the most popular. The text exists in various forms, all similar but some longer than others. As the simple melody, with its insistent sarabande-like rhythm, can take only so much repetition in performance, I have followed what seems the commonest text, reducing its 8 stanzas to 4. In my transln we have the original’s stanzas 1 and 2; my st. 3 is the original’s 4; my st. 4 is the original’s st.7. As with many folk songs, there is much repetition of ideas, so my st. 4 also sums up in its refrain the burden of the final stanza of the original. The translation is as accurate as I can make it, and attempts, too, to hint at the rhymes of the Polish version. A very lovely carol not, I think, known to English speakers. Do try it!
Reviews of POLISH CAROL: Sliczna Panienka (The fairest of maidens) SATB choir a cappella
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