Each year in December an irresistable force meets and unmovable object to test their musical wits in a carol reinvention contest known as Carol Ragnarok. Basically, John Conahan and I fool around in our spare time. In case you missed any entries from week one, I’ve collected them here. To think, I was considering taking a year off. When Covid ends, we’d like to do some of this live, so keep an eye out next year.

My first entry was a Prokofiev We Three Kings that borrows a little from the 3rd piano concerto.

John responded with a Hildegaard von Bingen O Christmas Tree that refrences her famous O Virtus Sapientiae

My second entry was meant to be something post-Vivaldi, pre-J.C. Bach. I was going for a 1730s feel, but it came out as a 1980s BBC sitcom theme — which is pretty much the same thing.

John fired back with a Thomas Morley arrangement of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.  I’m pretty sure he was refrencing Now is the Month of Maying in this one. It’s very clever.

My third entry was at the request of composer David Dies. He asked for a Ravel O Little Town of Bethlehem using the Forest Green tune. I’ve done some Ravel in the past refrencing Le Tombeau and the Waltzes. This time, I used the slow movement of the Concerto in G Major, and just worked the melody in.

John returned the salvo with an ingenious little interpolation of Rachmaninov’s Bogoroditse Devo and Deck the Hall.

My final entry for week 1 was a Carol of the Bells that uses textures from two different movements of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

Parrying every blow, John countered with a Lauridsen Good King Wenceslas that uses Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium as a model.