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Hymns and Carols are the two main sources for the melodies that are associated with traditional Christmas music. While hymns are predominately sacred, the historical roots of carols are in religious and pagan folk music and dance. The latter association with pagan and dance music has throughout history brought carols alternatively in and out of favor with Christmas worship. Fortunately, interest in Christmas music grew in the 20th century, and has lead to the popularity it presently enjoys.The lyrics for As with Gladness Men of Old were written by Englishman William Dix (1837 – 1898) in the 1860s, reportedly on the day of the Epiphany while Dix was sick in bed. The tune was included in a collection of German chorales edited by Conrad Kocher and published in the 1830s. As a testimony to the flexibility of such music, the hymn is also sung during Thanksgiving under the title For the Beauty of the Earth. This arrangement for saxophone quartet, rather than favoring a soprano solo with accompaniment, strives to include all the players in the music making, particularly by distributing melodic material. In addition, all dynamics and articulations, minimally marked, should be taken as suggestions only, as performers are encouraged to make their own interpretations.


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