‘The First Noel’ (originally ‘The First Nowell’) is a traditional English Christmas carol with Cornish origins, most likely from the early modern period, although possibly earlier. ‘Nowell’ is an Early Modern English synonym of ‘Christmas’ from French ‘Noël’, the Christmas season. The word was regularly used in the burden of carols in the middle ages towards the early modern period. Today, ‘The First Noel’ is usually performed in a four-part hymn arrangement by the English composer John Stainer, first published in his Carols in 1871.
Nowadays it belongs to one of the most famous Carols all over the world. Dutch arranger Matthias van Nispen tot Pannerden arranged ‘The First Noel’ for voice and a Woodwind Ensemble.