When I read the Fred Pratt Green poem, The Word Is Born This Very Night, I immediately knew I wanted to set it to music for SATB a cappella choir. I also imagined the music being sung in a candlelit church on Christmas Eve.
This amazing poem, published with permission by Hope Publishing, asks the question, "...who will heed the Man?" The answer to the question: "...listen to the Man!" The initial melodies are woven to a dissonant climax on the phrase "Which Adam first began", depicting the war that Adam started in the Garden of Eden. Peace quickly returns as we "listen to the Man!"
The excellent recording is courtesy of Le Donne, directed by Wayne Kivell, from Northfield, MN.
The Word Is Born is featured annually during the Christmas season on EWTN: "The Word Is Born: Christmas with the Louisville Chorus".
The Word Is Born This Very Night
Fred Pratt Green Copyright 1972, Hope Publishing (used with permission)
The Word is born this very night:
Hail, Mary, full of grace!
A hanging lantern sheds its light
On Joseph's anxious face.
The Word must come from human form,
In God's redemptive plan.
A Babe takes every heart by storm,
But who will heed the Man?
The Word is born this very night,
And humble is the place;
The world is dark, but hope is bright,
And sinners look for grace.
The Word has come to end the war
Which Adam first began.
O bless the Babe who sleeps on straw.
And listen to the Man!