From the recording Apples in Winter
"Christmas Day Ida Mornin'" is attributed to Friedemann Stickle, a famous Shetland fiddler of the 18th and early 19th centuries. The Shetland Islands were part of Scandinavia until 1469 when they were pawned to Scotland as part of a royal marriage arrangement. Scandinavian influences still remain in the language, names and music. "The seasonal changes were usually marked with 'foys' (feasts or celebrations) of one kind or another, and for a month following the winter solstice - a period known as the 'Helli-days of Yule' - the gloom of Winter would be kept at bay with as much feasting and jollification, including dancing, as could be afforded." Stickle was paid to play this tune every year on Christmas morning in the hall of his laird, the Laird of Muness. The late Sheltland fiddler, collector and teacher, Tom Anderson, stated that Stickle had composed the tune on the road from his croft at Burrafirth to Buness, and also remembered that Stickle was called 'Stumpie' because he walked with a limp. It is possible that the tune's rhythm reflects the rhythm of Stickle's walk.
The tune for "Masters in this Hall" was originally a French contredanse "La Matelotte," written in 1703 by Raoul-Augur Feuillet. It appeared in English translation in 1710 as "The Female Saylor," the name which English country dancers still use today. Around 1860, William Morris used the tune for his carol "Master in this Hall," which tells the nativity story as news brought from over the sea.
"In Dulci Jubilo" is among the oldest and most famous of the "macaronic" songs, one which combines Latin and a vernacular language in the same song. It is said to have come in a dream to the 14th century German mystic and Dominican monk, Heinrich of Suso. In his vision, he saw angels gathering around and dancing with him as they sang the carol. It quickly became, and has remained, one of the most well-known of all Christmas tunes, having been set to numerous English and German carols through the centuries. The modern English words, "Good Christian Men Rejoice," were written in the mid-19th century by the Reverend Dr. John Mason Neale.