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Roderick Williams has composed this year’s Financial Times carol and kindly donated his work to help raise money for the FT’s seasonal appeal.
The superstar baritone has set his carol to Henry Longfellow’s “Christmas Bells”, and a simplified version of the score appears on this page.
Longfellow wrote the poem during the American civil war (1861–1865) while mourning his wife, Fanny, who had died after a fire in 1861. The poet was also fearful for his son Charles, who had enlisted in the Union army against his wishes.
Yet for all its anger and sorrow, “Christmas Bells” is defiantly hopeful: “The Wrong shall fail,/ The Right prevail,/ With peace on earth, good-will to men.”
The carol was premiered at the church of St George the Martyr in London, and was performed by the Godwine Choir and pianist Steven Neugarten, with Alex Davan Wetton conducting.
The FT’s seasonal appeal partner this year is International Rescue Committee. Please give generously via ft.com/seasonalappeal.
To see the complete version of the musical score, go to ft.com/carolmusic
Photographs: Victoria Birkinshaw