Michael Kennedy's standard book on the composer's life and works doesn't mention it, except in the catalogue. This is its very first recording. Vaughan Williams called it a "masque," mainly because he hated the ballet's dancing on point, and he appropriated Dickens's "Christmas Carol" as its basis. He also drastically telescoped Dickens's plot. It's Vaughan Williams light, but "light" doesn't mean "slight."
On Christmas Night is wonderfully dramatic as it traces Dickens's tale, and as it's clearly meant to be used for a dance company, RVW alternates between beauty and coldness and drama and austere mystery, with familiar Christmas songs scattered throughout. After playing On Christmas Night through several times over the last week or so, I cannot fathom how it has so completely eluded the concert halls and ballet stages of the world since RVW wrote it in 1926. I hope you enjoy it! Here is On Christmas Night.