First published in Carols for Choirs 1 in 1961, and then reprinted in 100 Carols for Choirs, David Willcocks' much-loved arrangement of O come, all ye faithful (Adeste, fideles) has come to epitomize Christmas, being sung countless times each year around the world. Using the harmonies from The English Hymnal for verses 1-5, it features his unsurpassed descant to verse 6 ('Sing, choirs of angels') and a reharmonized verse 7
which builds to a stirring climax. An accompaniment for orchestra and an opening brass fanfare are available for hire.
Born in 1919, David Willcocks began his musical career as a chorister at Westminster Abbey, later winning scholarships to Clifton College and King's College, Cambridge. Following war service, he was elected Fellow of King's College, and later became Organist of Salisbury and Worcester Cathedrals, conducting the Three Choirs Festival whilst at Worcester. Willcocks returned to King's College, Cambridge as Director of Music from 1957-1974, with the first collection of his arrangements in the Carols for Choirs series publishing in 1961. He was Director of Music at the Royal College of Music from 1974-1984, and was knighted in the Queen's Silver Jubilee Honours List in 1977. Willcocks also conducted The Bach Choir for 38 years, retiring in 1998. Sir David died in September 2015.