Four French Carols

The Concord Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Jamin Hoffman, performs my Four French Carols at The Basilica of St. Josaphat in Milwaukee, 2 pm Sunday December 12th, 2010.

I first wrote these for the Westminster Brass, a brass quintet, in 1988, for whom I’ve composed a number of things. These were written to be used as preludes or postludes in church services. I revised them in 1996, because Westminster was getting them ready for publication. Then I orchestrated them in 2002 for the Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra in Maryland, Sheldon Bair, Music Director, who commissioned the orchestration. They premiered the orchestral version on 7 Dec 2002 (eight years and one day ago, as I write). I’ve also made a version for string orchestra.

I recall that “Saw ye never” was a tune new to me, and that I fell in love with it as soon as I heard it.

Four French Carols
3(2+pic).3(2+ehn).2.2-4.3.3.1-timp.2perc-str. 12′

1. A Cry Went Up at Midnight View full score

A cry went up at midnight,
One like it was never heard there
In the country of Judea: Christmas.

2. Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella View full score

Bring a torch, Jeanette, Isabella!
Bring a torch, to the cradle run!
It is Jesus, good folk of the village;
Christ is born and Mary’s calling.
Ah! ah! beautiful is the mother!
Ah! ah! beautiful is her Son!

3. Saw You Never View full score

Saw you never, in the twilight,
When the sun had left the skies,
Up in heav’n the clear stars shining
Through the gloom, like silver eyes?
So of old the wise men, watching,
Saw a little stranger star,
And they knew the King was given,
And they followed it from far.

4. O Come, Divine Messiah View full score

O come, divine Messiah!
The world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing its triumph,

And sadness flee away.
Dear Savior haste;

Come, come to earth,
Dispel the night and show your face,

And bid us hail the dawn of grace.
O come, divine Messiah!

The world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing its triumph,

And sadness flee away.

Four French Carols
string orchestra. 12′

Four French Carols
1988/96; brass quintet. 12′

1. A Cry Went Up at Midnight (1:15 excerpt)
2. Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella (0:39 excerpt)
3. Saw You Never (0:56 excerpt)
4. O Come, Divine Messiah (0:36 excerpt)


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