Secret Angels

 

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Secret Angels Concert & Reception

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Our holiday concert takes the theme of Secret Angels who are seen and not seen. With music by John Tavener, Adrian Peacock, Francis Poulenc and others, the concert is loosely based on the traditional service of Nine Lessons and Carols. It includes carols for choir and congregation using the fine organ in Old South Church, and an international selection of sacred and secular carols to get you into the holiday spirit!

The concert will be followed by a festive reception and holiday auction in Old South Church’s Gordon Chapel, so be sure to stick around to partake in some refreshments, bid on some great items, and say hello. All concert attendees are invited!

Saturday 17 December, 2016 at 3:00 PM, at Old South Church, Boston (preceded by an organ recital by Andrew Shenton at 2:30 PM)

Additional information

Ticket Type:

Adult, Student, Senior

Event Details

Date: December 17, 2016

Start time: 15:00

End time: 16:30

Venue: Old South Church, Copley Square, Boston

Coordinates: 42.3502705,-71.0801606

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Organ Recital Program

J. S. Bach: In dulci jubilo, BWV 729 3:00

John Watkinson: Christmas prelude on “Divinum Mysterium” 

Harrison Oxley: Prelude on “Whence is that goodly fragrance” 

Joe Utterback: Love came down at Christmas 

Eric Thiman: Postlude on “Adeste fideles”

 

Concert Program

Congregational carol: O come all ye faithful (arr. David Hill)

Adrian Peacock: Venite, gaudete!

Introduction 

Felix Mendelssohn: Denn Er hat seinen Engeln befohlen

Traditional Basque Carol (arr. Edgar Pettman): The angel Gabriel from heaven came

Judith Weir: Illuminare Jerusalem

Congregational carol: The first nowell (arr. James O’Donnell)

Claudio Monteverdi: Angelus ad pastores ait

Reading 1 

Traditional French Carol (arr. Howard Helvey): Angels we have heard on high

Francis Poulenc: Quem vidistis pastores?

Henry Smart (arr. Dan Forrest): Angels from the realms of glory

Reading 2

Gustav Holst (arr. Ola Gjeilo): In the bleak midwinter

Eric Whitacre: Lux aurumque

John Tavener: Rocking (from Ex Maria Virgine)

Reading 3 

Traditional English carol (arr. Richard Allain): Coventry Carol

Traditional English Carol (arr. Ola Gjeilo): The holly and the ivy

Invitation 

Congregational carol: Hark! The herald angels sing (arr. Christopher Robinson)

Mykola Leontovich: Carol of the bells

James Pierpont (arr. Ralph Allwood): Jingle bells

 


Program Notes

Venite, Gaudete! – Adrian Peacock

Adrian Peacock is a British award-winning conductor and professional singer. Venite, Gaudete! borrows well-known Latin Christmas texts, Veni, Veni, Emmanuel (O Come, O Come, Emmanuel), Gaudete Christus est Natus (Rejoice, Christ is born). This piece is written for double choir and is organized in three large sections. At the opening, the sopranos introduce the ostinato (repetitive rhythmic gesture) that is sustained throughout the first section. As the sopranos and altos sing the ostinato, the tenors and basses sing on long tones on the same text. The texture swells and diminishes to the tenors singing the ostinato alone on the text, Alleluia. Along with the new ostinato in the tenors, the sopranos and altos sing new text, Hodie Christus natus est in a chorale-like texture. The music crescendos to the text, Gaudete. At this new text, Peacock sets all the voices polyphonically, all voices independent from one another, with the ostinato is noticeably absent. The texture grows to eight voices singing their own independent line. As the music continues to grow, the ostinato reenters in the second choir while the first choir continues the leaping polyphonic music, remaining full until the end of the work.

Denn Er hat seinen Engeln befohlen (Psalm 91) – Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1809 – 1847) was a German composer, organist, and conductor in the early Romantic period. Mendelssohn’s compositional style was greatly inspired by the composers of the past, particularly Johann Sebastian Bach. As a composer, he is most well-known for his dramatic masterwork, Elijah, op. 70, and his sacred choral music, particularly his symphonic and a cappella settings of Psalm texts.

Mendelssohn’s setting of Psalm 91 is written for an eight voice a cappella choir. In close connection to the sacred musical practices of Germany, Mendelssohn’s musical language mimics the style of a “German Chorale”, homophonic choral writing with the melody in the highest voice and a harmony provided by the lower voices. The opening phrase, sung by the sopranos and altos, introduces the main melody in a chorale texture on the text, “for he shall give charge to his angels.” This opening phrase dovetails into following phrase as the tenors and basses enter to finish the text of the first verse, “to keep you in all your ways.” Throughout this work, Mendelsohn overlaps phrase endings with beginnings, creating expansive and unending phrases that consistently deceive the listener. When the choir sings the text, “und du deinen Fuß nicht an einen Stein stoßest” (let thou dash thy foot against a stone), Mendelssohn moves away from the tonic key of G Major, until the head motive, sung by the sopranos and altos, returns on the opening text. Given the constant deception and long phrases, the final cadence on the text, “in all your ways,” comes a great relief to the listener.

Illuminare, Jerusalem – Judith Weir

Judith Weir (1954) is an award winning Scottish composer and currently serves as the Master of the Queen’s Music in the United Kingdom. Prior to her studies at Cambridge University, Weir studied composition at a young age with renowned British composer, John Tavener. While Weir composes for all performance mediums, she has gained her greatest acclaim from her operatic works, drawing comparisons to fellow British composer, Benjamin Britten.

Illuminare, Jerusalem sets a 15th century carol that exclaims the joy of Jesus’ birth. In Weir’s setting, she sets the English text in the original Middle English dialect. For example, the word for “star” is written and sung as “sterne.” Weir sets the first three verses from the carol within a similar manner. All three stanzas are set syllabically using a harmonically ambiguous scale. Weir differentiates between the verses by using a different grouping of voices for each verse. For example, at the final stanza, the lower three voices sing text that alludes to the rage towards King Herod and his actions during the Massacre of the Innocents. At the conclusion of each stanza, all voices sing “Illuminare Jerusalem” (Illuminate Jerusalem) with a low, mottled organ accompaniment; a choice that provides a mysterious ambiance given the joyful allusions to light throughout this carol.

Angelus ad pastores ait – Claudio Monteverdi

Claudio Monteverdi (1567 – 1643) is easily considered as the most important Italian composer in the Renaissance Era. Many historians view Monteverdi as the “bridge” between the Renaissance and Baroque eras. His music existed in a variety of styles and he is most well-known for his madrigals and his opera, L’Orfeo. His most notable contribution to the Western Music canon, by far, is his development of a melody with accompaniment; a newly formed musical idea that became fully explored throughout the Baroque era.

Angelus ad pastores ait comes from his book of sacred songs, Sacrae Cantiunculae. Sung in Latin, it is written for a three part, treble choir, a capella. This text is from the second chapter of Luke, verses 10 – 11. “The angel said to the shepherds, I bring you tidings of great joy. For the Savior of the world has been born to you today.” This setting, organized into three sections, is polyphonic throughout. Text painting, a musical hallmark of the Renaissance era, is a musical gesture that accentuates the meaning of the text. Monteverdi paints the text Annuntio (announce) with a fanfare-like melody. At the text, “bring tidings of great joy,” Monteverdi moves to a faster triple meter, typically associated with dance music from this time. The work closes at the slower duple meter with ascending melodic lines that allude to Christ’s spirit descending from Heaven to be born on Earth.

Quem Vidistis Pastores Dicite – Francis Poulenc

Francis Poulenc (1899 – 1963) was a French composer and pianist. His orchestral works, ballets, and operas were quite popular within his lifetime. Due to his humorous and light-hearted personality, his sacred works were under performed and often forgotten. It is only within the past few decades that Poulenc’s sacred choral music has firmly planted itself within the Western choral music canon.

Quem Vidistis Pastores Dicite is the second motet within Poulenc’s Four Motets for Christmas. (Quartre Motets pour le temps de Noël). The text, sung in Latin, alludes to people asking the shepherds to describe what they saw and the shepherds’ description of Christ’s birth. The question begins with the text “Quem vidistis” (Whom do you see?) and the answer begins with “Natum.” (Newborn) This question and response sequence occurs four times throughout this piece. Poulenc sets the “question” to one melodic line accompanied by other voices humming within a minor harmony. At the answering text, Poulenc does not write a melody with accompaniment. Rather, the voices sing together at a louder dynamic within a major harmony. At the third sequence of the text, Poulenc introduces new text accompanied with new music. This new text poses a similar question, but takes on a new character through Poulenc’s use of dynamics and harmony.  At the word Dicite (speak), Poulenc writes for all four voices to sing together at fortissimo, the loudest dynamic thus far, emphasizing a greater desire for their question to be answered. The work closes with the same restrained and gentle sound from the first two sequences, ending firmly with all for voices singing the word “Dominum.” (Lord)

Angels from the Realms of Glory – Forrest / Angels We Have Heard on High – Helvey

The next two selections on our program are two popular Christmas carols arranged with a four-hand piano accompaniment and performed by two members from the choir.  Angels from the Realms of Glory, arranged by Dan Forrest, takes the traditional tune through various keys. At the opening, Forrest marks both piano parts to “ring like bells” throughout the entirety of this arrangement. The “ringing bells” in the piano can be heard throughout, particularly in the bass part of the second piano and the treble part of the first piano. In order to shift to a new key, Forrest treats the refrain, “Come and Worship” differently throughout each verse. Forrest ends the arrangement in the bright key of D Major with the choir singing long tones for the final repetition of the refrain. As choir sustains the final chord on “King,” the bells in the piano continue to ring. Angels We Have Heard on High, arranged by Howard Helvey, follows a similar stylistic idea. Helvey deceives the listener at the end of each refrain by resolving the phrase in an unexpected way. These settings truly stand-alone given the continuous harmonic shifts and exciting four-hand piano accompaniment.

In the Bleak Midwinter – Holst/arr. Ola Gjeilo

Ola Gjeilo (1978) is a Norwegian-born composer who currently resides within the United States. Gjeilo composes for all musical mediums, but he is most well-known for his choral compositions and arrangements. Some of his well-known choral works include, The Sunrise Mass, Dreamweaver, and The River; all compositions for choir and strings. In his first arrangement on our program, Gjeilo arranges the adored song, In the Bleak Midwinter by Gustav Holst, for two choirs, a cappella. Gjeilo’s arrangement differs from others like it in how he treats the accompanying voices. The melody, in the soprano voices, remains in the foreground while the lower voices, in both choirs, provide accompanying harmony. At the beginning, the lower three voices in the first choir sustain long tones, while the second choir sings the text syllabically, as if it were an echo. As this arrangement progresses through the verses, the choirs exchange roles, but the warm, sonorous texture remains constant throughout. The arrangement grows in dynamic to the text, “what can I give him,” emphasizing the desire, within the text, to give our heart to the newborn Jesus. Before the concluding verse, the arrangement ebbs back to the placid texture established from the beginning. As the close draws near, Gjeilo writes a soaring, yet still soprano solo line, expanding the texture one final time before the concluding chord on “heart.”

The Holly and the Ivy – arr. Gjeilo

The Holly and the Ivy is an arrangement of the popular melody with the same title. Within this arrangement, Gjeilo sets all six verses of this British Christmas Carol. Generally speaking, Gjeilo groups two verses uses the refrain to shift to a new key. One unique aspect of this arrangement occurs at the middle two verses. At the third verse, Gjeilo arranges for the altos to carry the melody while the basses sustain a pedal note throughout with the sopranos and tenors accompanying. The sopranos and tenors sing related music at a longer note value causing a echo-like effect from those two voices. The final two verses appear in a similar style to the opening in this delightful arrangement.

Lux Aurumque – Eric Whitacre

Eric Whitacre (1970) is an American Composer known for his wind ensemble, orchestral, and choral music. In 2009, Whitacre created the “Virtual Choir” by asking for singers to submit recordings of themselves singing his well-known choral works, Sleep and Lux Aurumque, while they watched a pre-recorded video of Whitacre conducting. In its first two performances, Whitacre selected approximately 200 singers from across the world. The latest performance of the Virtual Choir has approximately 6000 singers.

Lux Aurumque is one of Whitacre’s most well-known choral works. Sung in Latin, the text is an English poem by Edward Esch that describes the light surrounding the newborn Jesus as “warm and heavy as pure gold.” In a minor key, the work opens on the word “Lux” (light) with the lower three voices stacked in close proximity, a hallmark of Whitacre’s musical language. Whitacre uses gradual dynamic swells while gently expanding the choral writing to depict the shimmering glow of the “light around the newborn.” As the work progresses, the music continues to ebb and flow, until a long and gradual crescendo to the word, “angeli” (angel). Whitacre effectively achieves this crescendo not only by expanding the distance between the highest and lowest pitches, but he also creates chordal sonorities that have upwards of seven or eight pitches in one chord. In doing this, the word “angeli,” written on a major chord, sounds purer, given a major chord is constructed using only three pitches. After the long crescendo, the closing section begins a much softer dynamic, gradually getting softer to an almost inaudible final chord.

Rocking – John Tavener

Sir John Tavener (1944 – 2013) was a British composer, well-known for his sacred choral works. At the age of 24, he received great acclaim for his cantata, The Whale, a dramatic work based upon on the allegory of Jonah and the Whale. His other well-known works include: The Protecting Veil (1988), Song for Athene (1997), The Lamb (1984), and Ex Maria Virgine (2008). Rocking comes from one of his larger choral works, Ex Maria Virgine. The text for this tender lullaby is structured in two stanzas centered around the text, we will rock you. The swaying and repetitive rhythms truly lull listener into a quiet calm. Tavener, a minimalist composer, uses only five different chords throughout this work creating a simple structure in this profoundly personal lullaby.

Conventry Carol – arr.  Richard Allain

This arrangement by Richard Allain is based on a 16th century English Carol by the same name. The text for this carol is quite tragic as it alludes to the biblical account of the Massacre of the Innocents, depicted in the Gospel according to St. Matthew. The original carol comes from a Christmas play that depicts this account and others during this liturgical season. Within in the play, this carol was sung by mothers to their infant children who were going to be murdered. In Allain’s arrangement, he introduces a “lulling” rhythmic gesture that mimics a mother nervously rocking her infant child. The anxious “lulling” is present throughout the arrangement, consistently on the text, “Lully, Lulla, Lullay.” Allain preserves the melody from the original carol throughout all the verses. As the work progresses, he expands the vocal writing to the text, “Woe is me, poor child” as the mother laments that her child has been slain. At this point, the “lulling” rhythm is absent and all the voices sing together in homophony. The arrangement concludes with the repetition of the first verse of the carol with a return of the anxious lulling.

Carol of the Bells – Mykola Leontovich

Mykola Leontovich (1877 – 1921) was a Ukrainian composer who specialized in a cappella choral music. By far, his most well-known composition is Schredryk (Carol of the Bells). While “Carol of the Bells” has been immensely popular, his other works never garnered the same attention. Along with many of his contemporaries during his lifetime, Leontovich was fascinated with folk songs of his home country, Ukraine.  Many of his compositions, including Carol of the Bells, incorporate folk melodies or dance rhythms from the Ukrainian Folk tradition.

Notes (c) Sean J. Watland 2016.

 


Text and Translations

Traditional: O, Come All Ye Faithful

O Come All Ye Faithful
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

God of God, Light of light

Lo he abhors not the virgin's womb:

Very God, begotten, no created.
Give to our Father glory in the Highest;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

O Sing, choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation,
Sing all that hear in heaven God's holy word.
Give to our Father glory in the Highest;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee,
Born this happy morning,
O Jesus! for evermore be Thy name adored.
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

 

Adrian Peacock: Venite, Gaudete!

Veni, veni Emmanuel,
O venite adoremus.
Puer natus est nobis,
Alleluia.

Hodie Christus natus est.
Laetantur, laetantur archangeli.
Guadete, venite,  Christus est natus,
Alleluia.

O come, o come, Emmanuel
Oh come let us adore him.
For unto us a child is born,
Alleluia.

Chris is born today;
The archangels celebrate.
Rejoice, come because Christ is born.
Alleluia.

 

Felix Mendelssohn: Denn Er hat seinen Engeln befohlen über dir (Psalm 91)

Denn Er hat seinen Engeln befohlen über dir, daß sie dich behüten auf allen deinen Wegen,
daß sie dich auf den Händen tragen und du deinen Fuß nicht an einen Stein stoßest.

For he shall give his angels charge over thee: to keep thee in all thy ways.
They shall bear thee in their hands: that thou hurt not thy foot against a stone.

 

Rev. S. Baring-Gould: The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came

The angel Gabriel from heaven came,
With wings as drifted snow, with eyes as flame:
"All hail to thee, O lowly maiden Mary,
Most highly favored lady." Gloria!

"For know a blessed mother thou shalt be,
All generations laud and honor thee;
Thy son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold,
Most highly favored lady." Gloria!

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head;
"To me be as it pleaseth God," she said.
"My soul shall laud and magnify God’s holy name."
Most highly favored lady." Gloria!

Of her, Emmanuel, the Christ, was born
In Bethlehem all on a Christmas morn,
And Christian folk through-out the world will ever say:
"Most highly favored lady." Gloria!

 

Judith Weir: Illuminare, Jerusalem

Jerusalem rejos for joy:
Jesus the sterne of most beauty
In thee is rissin, as richtous roy,
Fro dirknes to illumine thee.
With glorious sound of angel glee
Thy prince is borne in Bethlehem
Which sall thee mak of thralldome free:
Illuminare, Jerusalem.

With angellis licht in legionis
Thow art illuminit all about.
Three kingis of strange regionis
To thee are cumin with lusty rout,
All drest with dyamantis,
Reverst with gold in ev'ry hem,
Sounding attoneis with a shout:
Illuminare, Jerusalem.

The regeand tirrant that in thee rang,
Herod, is exileit and his offspring,
The land of Juda that josit wrang;
And rissin is now thy richtous king.
So he so mychtie is and digne,
When men his glorious name does nem,
Heaven, erd and hell makis inclyning:
Illuminare, Jerusalem.

 

Traditional, arr. James O'Donnell: The first Nowell

The first Nowell the angel did say
Was to certain poor shepherds
in fields as they lay;
In fields as they lay, keeping their sheep,
On a cold winter's night that was so deep.

Nowell, Nowell, Nowell, Nowell,
Born is the King of Israel.

They looked up and saw a star
Shining in the east beyond them far,
And to the earth it gave great light,
And so it continued both day and night.

And by the light of that same star
Three wise men came from country far;
To seek for a king was their intent,
And to follow the star wherever it went.

Then entered in those wise men three
Full reverently upon their knee,
and offered there in his presence
Their gold, and myrrh, and frankincense.

Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord;
Who hath made heaven and earth of nought,
And with his blood mankind hath bought

 

Claudio Monterverdi: Angelus ad pastores ait

Angelus ad pastores ait: annuntio vobis gaudium magnum,
quia natus est vobis hodie Salvator mundi.'
Alleluia.

The angel said to the shepherds: 'I bring you tidings of great joy,
for the Saviour of the world has been born to you today.'
Alleluia.

 

Traditional, arr. Howard Helvey: Angels we have heard on high

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains.

Refrain:
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heav’nly song?

Come to Bethlehem and see
Him Whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.

See Him in a manger laid,
Whom the choirs of angels praise;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
While our hearts in love we raise.

 

Francis Poulenc: Quem vidistis pastores dicite

Quem vidistis, pastores, dicite,
annuntiate nobis, in terris quis apparuit?
Natum vidimus et choros angelorum
collaudantes Dominum

Dicite, quidnam vidistis?
et annuntiate Christi nativitatem.

Whom do you see shepherds? speak,
announce to us: on earth who has appeared?
new-born we saw and choirs of angels
praising the Lord

Say, what did you see?
And announce Christ's nativity.

 

James Montgomery: Angels From the Realms of Glory

Angels, from the realms of glory,

Wing your flight o'er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation's story,
Now proclaim Messiah's birth:

Come and worship, come and worship
Worship Christ, the newborn King.

Shepherds, in the fields abiding,
Watching o'er your flocks by night,
God with us is now residing,
Yonder shines the infant light:

Come and worship, come and worship
Worship Christ, the newborn King.

Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of nations,
Ye have seen his natal star:

Come and worship, come and worship
Worship Christ, the newborn King.

All creation, join in praising
God the Father, Spirit, Son,
Evermore your voices raising,
To th'eternal Three in One:

Come and worship, come and worship
Worship Christ, the newborn King

 

Gustav Holst: In the bleak midwinter

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, heav’n cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heav’n and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter, a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what can I give Him, give my heart.

The bleak midwinter, what can I give Him, give my heart.

 

Eric Whitacre: Lux Aurumque

Lux,
Calida gravisque pura velut aurum
Et canunt angeli molliter
modo natum.

Light,
warm and heavy as pure gold
and angels sing softly
to the new-born babe.

 

John Tavener: Rocking (from Ex Maria Virgine)

Little Jesus, sweetly sleep, do not stir;
We will lend a coat of fur,
We will rock you, rock you, rock you,
We will rock you, rock you, rock you,
See the fur to keep you warm,
Snugly round your tiny form.
Mary’s little baby, sleep, sweetly sleep,
Sleep in comfort, slumber deep;
We will rock you, rock you, rock you,
We will rock you, rock you, rock you,
We will serve you all we can,
Darling, darling little man
 
Traditional, arr. Richard Allain: Coventry Carol
Lully, lulla, thou little tiny child,
By by, lully, lulla thou little tiny child,
By by, lully, lullay!
O sisters too, how may we do
For to preserve this day
This pore yongling for whom we do singe
By by, lully, lullay?
Herod, the king, in his raging,
Chargid he hath this day
His men of might in his owne sight
All yonge children to slay,—
That wo is me, pore child, for thee,
And ever morne and may
For thi parting nether say nor singe,
By by, lully, lullay.

Traditional, arr. Ola Gjeilo: The Holly and The Ivy

The holly and the ivy,
The rising of the sun
The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown.

The rising of the sun
And the running of the deer,
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.

The holly bears a blossom,
As white as the lily flower,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ,
To be our sweet Saviour.
 
The rising of the sun
And the running of the deer,
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.
 
The holly bears a berry,
As red as any blood,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
For to do us sinners good.
 
The rising of the sun
And the running of the deer,
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.
 
The holly bears a prickle,
As sharp as any thorn,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
On Christmas Day in the morn.
 
The rising of the sun
And the running of the deer,
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.
 
The holly bears a bark,
As bitter as any gall,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
On Christmas Day in the morn.
 
The rising of the sun
And the running of the deer,
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.
 
The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown.
 
 

Traditional: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Christ by highest heav'n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

 

Traditional, arr. M. Leontovich: Carol of the Bells

Hark how the bells,
Sweet silver bells,
All seem to say,
Throw cares away
 
Christmas is here,
Bringing good cheer,
To young and old,
Meek and the bold.
 
Ding dong ding dong
That is their song
With joyful ring
All caroling.
 
One seems to hear
Words of good cheer
From everywhere
Filling the air.
 
Oh how they pound,
Raising the sound,
O'er hill and dale,
Telling their tale.
 
Gaily they ring
While people sing
Songs of good cheer,
Christmas is here.
 
Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas,
Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas.
 
On on they send,
On without end,
Their joyful tone
To every home.
 
 

Arr. Ralph Allwood: Jingle Bells

Dashing through the snow
In a one-horse open sleigh
O’er the fields we go
Laughing all the way,
Bells on Bobtail ring,
Making spirits bright;
What fun it is to ride and sing
A sleighing song tonight.

Jingle bells, jingle bells,
Jingle all the way;
Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells,
Jingle all the way;
Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh.

Now the ground is white;
Go it while you’re young,
Take the girls tonight,
And sing a sleighing song.
Get a bob-tailed bay,
Two-forty for his speed;
Then hitch him to an open sleigh and
Crack! You’ll take the lead.

Jingle bells, jingle bells,
Jingle all the way;
Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells,
Jingle all the way;
Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh.

James Lord Pierpont, 1957

 

Arthur Warrell: We Wish You a Merry Christmas

We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Good tidings we bring to you and your kin;
We wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Oh, bring us some figgy pudding;
Oh, bring us some figgy pudding;
Oh, bring us some figgy pudding and bring some out here.

Good tidings we bring to you and your kin;
We wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

For we all like figgy pudding;
For we all like figgy pudding;
For we all like figgy pudding; so bring some out here.

Good tidings we bring to you and your kin;
We wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

And we won’t go till we’ve got some;
We won’t go till we’ve got some;
And we won’t go till we’ve got some; so bring some out here.

Good tidings we bring to you and your kin;
We wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Traditional 16th-century English carol