Looking for five minutes of orchestral Christmas music which includes all the old favourite carols? Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Christmas Overture is probably just the ticket.
Amongst the easily recognisable Christmas carol themes encompassed in the Overture are God rest you merry gentlemen, Good King Wenceslas and Hark the herald angels sing.
Arranged by Sydney Baynes (best remembered for his Destiny Waltz) in 1925, some years after Coleridge-Taylor’s tragically early death, the music is thought to be derived from SC-T’s incidental music for The Forest of Wild Thyme op.74, a ‘charming poetical fairy drama’ for children by Alfred Noyes (and intended for production in 1910, but not then performed).
The score is available, e.g., from http://www.goodmusicpublishing.co.uk/info/default.aspx?id=GMCL166
Reviews of the work and its recordings can be read here: