Listen to the rousing Agincourt Carol
, recorded in Ascot Priory in splendidly reverberant sound, for a musical trip back in time.
It does conclude, however, with the Agincourt carol
, one of the most stirring melodies of all.
And it was in the attic at the top of the junior school, occupied by a music teacher with an unrivalled collection of 1950s American science-fiction comics, that I first encountered the discordant vitality of the Agincourt Carol
, via the early recordings of David Munrow and his Consort, and, as Secretary of the choir, preparing for the school carol service, settings by Benjamin Britten and Peter Maxwell Davies of haunting Middle English lyrics which opened another window on the pre-Reformation religious world.
The proclamation might also explain why the best known poem composed about the battle, The Agincourt Carol
, was composed as a carol, complete with the refrain:
The arrival of the Birmingham University Singers for a rousing Agincourt Carol
brought the first sound all night of basses or female voices, and by this stage it was a welcome contrast.