Carols for Choirs

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Carols for Choirs, published by Oxford University Press, edited by Sir David Willcocks with Reginald Jacques and John Rutter, is the most widely used source of carols (predominantly Christmas carols, though some are for other festivals) in the British Anglican tradition, and among British choral societies.[1][2][3][4]

Christopher Morris, the organist and publisher, originally launched the book Carols For Choirs.

There are four books in the original series and a portmanteau book published later.[5] They contain the most commonly performed carols and their harmony arrangements, with descants from the editors (mainly Willcocks) which have become the de facto standard descants for these tunes in the Anglican communion in the UK. Choir singers usually refer to the books by the colours of their covers, with the "green" and "orange" books (volumes 1 and 2) being the most widely used. The "blue" book (volume 3) contains a number of longer anthems,[3] and the "red" book features fifty carols arranged for sopranos and altos.[4] Most of the arrangements were originally written for use by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge or the Bach Choir in London.

The publisher, Oxford University Press, later expanded the series with volumes appropriate for other church seasons,[6] e.g. Advent for Choirs[7] and Epiphany to All Saints for Choirs.[8]

In July 2011, Oxford University Press published the fifth incarnation of the original series, Carols for Choirs 5, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of the first volume.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jacques (24 August 1961). Willcocks, ed. Carols for Choirs. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-353222-9. 
  2. ^ Rutter (16 July 1970). Willcocks, ed. Carols for Choirs 2. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-353565-7. 
  3. ^ a b Rutter (7 September 1978). Willcocks, ed. Carols for Choirs 3. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-353570-1. 
  4. ^ a b Rutter (21 August 1980). Willcocks, ed. Carols for Choirs 4. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-353573-2. 
  5. ^ Rutter (8 October 1987). Willcocks, ed. 100 Carols for Choirs. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-353227-4. 
  6. ^ ". . . for Choirs Collections". Choral Series. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 21 December 2010. 
  7. ^ Archer, Malcolm; Cleobury, Stephen, eds. (6 April 2000). Advent for Choirs. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-353025-6. 
  8. ^ Archer, Malcolm; Scott, John, eds. (4 November 2004). Epiphany to All Saints for Choirs. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-353026-3. 

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