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The Word Is Born

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!

Psalm 66

Psalm 66 is a Choral Introit with joyful rhythms and flowing melodies.  It dances and sings!

I'm grateful for the excellent recording by Caritas, a choral ensemble in Minneapolis that raising funding and awareness for people in need through the gift of song.  Check out their website: Caritas Vocal Ensemble

A Christmas Carol

The G.K. Chesterton poem, A Christmas Carol, is one of my favorites.  I was so happy to set it to music, and then to receive a recording from David Young with his Illinois Wesleyan University Choir, I was very pleased with the results.  Your singers will enjoy the dialogue between the sopranos (Child) and the basses (World), with the "bells" of the altos and tenors in the distance. All the voices join together for an expressive ending to this subtle lullaby.  I think the triangle and wood block add needed color and rhythm to the work.  A unique addition to any Christmas service or concert.

Here's the poem:

A Christmas Carol
by G. K. Chesterton

The Christ-child lay on Mary's lap,
His hair was like a light.
(O Weary, Weary were the world,
But here is all aright.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's breast,
His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the Kings,
But here the true hearts are.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's heart,
His hair was like a fire.
(O Weary, Weary is the world,
But here the world's desire.)

The Christ-child stood at Mary's knee,
His hair was like a crown,
And all the flowers looked up at Him,
And all the stars looked down.

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