Press Play: “Once In Royal David’s City”

If there’s one song that is guaranteed to bring tears to my mother’s eye, this is it.

Or, more specifically, if there’s one song that will bring tears to my mother’s eye before launching her into a nostalgic reminiscence of the days when her son was a chorister, this is it.

But in fairness to my beloved mum, it’s a pretty spectacular specimen of seasonal singing. In most Christmastime church services, it gets outshined by the more popular “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and “O Come, All Ye Faithful”. But the most important track on any album is the first track, and there’s a reason that this carol is commonly used as an opener.

Key moment: The angelic solo at the beginning is the highlight for teary mums around the world, but I always liked the descant in the last verse. (Although I have to admit that I prefer the descant that they use in this video.)

That makes me think of: It’s as grand and dramatic as any national anthem I know of. It’s like the national anthem of Christmas.

Andrew Moore is our blogger-in-residence, and author of the music blog Beautiful Song of the Week.”


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