Luke 2: 1; 3-7
St Luke tells of the birth of Jesus.
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
St Luke tells of the birth of Jesus.
- BalulalowAllain, Richard
- What sweeter music can we bringAllain, Richard
SATB & organ
- Infant holyArcher, Malcolm
SATB & organ. This is a new original setting of the well-known Christmas text. With a gentle melody, warm harmonies, and a graceful organ accompaniment, Infant Holy will make a moving feature in any mixed-voice choir's Christmas festivities.
- BalulalowBritten, Benjamin
SSS & harp, piano or organ.
- And all the stars looked downBullard, Alan
SATB with divisi. Atmospheric setting of G.K. Chesterton's familiar text. Published in OUP's 'The Ivy & the Holly' (2008)
- Love came down at ChristmasBullard, Alan
SATB & piano. This appealing setting of a poem by Christina Rossetti has a memorable tune and a gentle, flowing piano accompaniment. Joyful, vibrant, and accessible, this carol is a great option for church and concert choirs at Christmas.
- Hodie Christus natus estCarter, Andrew
SATB and organ. An exciting and exuberant carol, using jazzy rhythms and constant shifts of key.
- Cradle Song (Balulalow)Causton, Richard
SATB. Originally published in the New Horizons collection 'The Ivy and the Holly', this carol has a mysterious, other-worldly character that complements the sixteenth-century text attributed to the Wedderburn brothers.
- Flight, TheCauston, Richard
SATB with divisi unaccompanied. Uniquely challenging and unsettling, commissioned by King's College, Cambridge for the 2015 Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, this setting of a poem by George Szirtes on the subject of the flight to Bethlehem as related to contemporary refugees has rich and ethereal harmonies.
- Lulajze, Jezuniu (Lullaby, Jesus child)Chilcott, Bob
SATB (some divisi) with SAT solos, unaccompanied. Lulajze, Jezuniu is a dual-language arrangement of a well-known Polish carol, presented with the original Polish text and an English singing translation by the composer.
- Mary's ChildChilcott, Bob
SATB unaccompanied and optional flute. This tender carol sets an evocative text by Norman Nicholson depicting Mary's gentle nurturing of her child. Chilcott's beautifully simple setting features sumptuous harmonies, lyrical melodies and an optional part for flute.
- The night he was bornChilcott, Bob
SATB and organ. This is a gentle and lyrical setting of a text by Helen Dunmore. Uniting a simple, tuneful melody with luscious harmonies, this evocative carol retells the Christmas story beautifully. A wonderful addition to the Christmas repertory.
- Time of Snow, TheChilcott, Bob
SATB & piano or organ. The story of the journey of Mary and Joseph to the stable in Bethlehem, set against a bleak winter landscape.
- What sweeter music can we bringChilcott, Bob
SATb unaccompanied. What sweeter music is an atmospheric setting of Robert Herrick's popular Christmas text. The carol opens with hushed, interweaving choral lines, creating a soft veil of sound that expands texturally and dynamically into an expressive central section.
- Love came down at ChristmasCleobury, Stephen
SATB & organ. Original melody by R.O. Morris, this gently lilting arrangement by Stephen Cleobury will grace any carol service.
- Boy is born in Bethlehem, ADavies, Hywel
SSAATTBB unaccompanied. A new carol for unaccompanied choir by Hywel Davies, featuring the composer's own text
- Away in a mangerGjeilo, Ola
Soprano solo & SATB unaccompanied. The familiar melody, supported by smooth, deep textures that set this exquisite arrangement apart.
- Love came down at ChristmasGrindle, Harry
SSAATTBB unaccompanied. A short and effective setting of a text by Christina Rossetti to the familiar Irish melody 'Garton', arranged by Harry Grindle, formerly Director of Music at St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast.
- Little road to Bethlehem, TheHead, Michael
SATB with divisi, unaccompanied. Michael Head's solo song, here arranged for a cappella choir.
- Child of the stable's secret birthHewitt-Jones, Thomas
Flexible voices in one or two parts, with optional mixed-voice choir and piano or organ. Setting a text by Timothy Dudley-Smith, the flexible scoring makes this accessible to choirs of all types and sizes.
- Sweet was the songIves, Grayston
SATB & organ. A lovely arrangement in which the vocal textures are supported throughout by a lyrical organ accompaniment. It will lie well within the grasp of most church choirs and organists.
- Ane sang of the birth of ChristJackson, Gabriel
SATB and organ. Inspired by a 16th-century Scots text, Jackson has composed a memorable carol full of character and beauty. The choir is serenaded throughout by the organ, which imitates the haunting qualities of the bagpipes - full of ornamentation and extemporized flourishes. In contrast, the vocal lines are written with daring purity of the kind found in the earliest forms of melody. Choirs will relish this very special carol.
- Christ-child, TheJackson, Gabriel
SATB (with divisions) unaccompanied. Commissioned by King's College, Cambridge for the 2009 Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, this beautiful carol sets a well-loved text by G. K. Chesterton. It would make an ideal introduction to Jackson's choral music.
- Hodie!L'Estrange, Alexander
SATB & organ. Hodie! was written for Portsmouth Grammar School and is an ideal opener for Christmas concerts. The soaring vocal lines are underpinned by rhythmic and harmonically rich organ part, resulting in a joyous and accessible work
- Still, still, stillLedger, Philip
SATB & organ. Straightforward, yet lovely, arrangement of a traditional German carol.
- I wonder as I wanderLloyd, Richard
SA & organ. Beautiful setting of a well-known melody with delicate organ accompaniment.
- Love came down at ChristmasLloyd, Richard
SATB with divisi, unaccompanied. Tender and lyrical.
- Hodie Christus natus estMathias, William
SATB unaccompanied. A joyous antiphon heralding the birth of Christ with rhythm and vigour.
- Sir ChristemasMathias, William
SATB & organ. A perennial favourite with school and church choirs, an upbeat setting of an ancient text, combining French and English, with a mighty shout of Nowell to finish with.
- BalulalowPott, Francis
SATB with divisi and soprano solo, unaccompanied. This gentle and expressive carol provides a wonderful alternative to more familiar settings of this well-loved text. The music is harmonically rich, and the floating soprano line adds another dimension to the texture. Suitable for a wide range of choirs at Christmas.
- Hodie Christus natus estPoulenc, Francis
SATB unaccompanied. Ecstatic piece celebrating the birth of our Saviour.
- Joseph lieber, Joseph meinPraetorius, Hieronymus
SSAA+TTBB unaccompanied. The work is a setting of one of the Cantiones Sacrae.
- Dormi JesuRutter, John
SATB with divisi. This haunting lullaby combines economy and restraint with warmth and an intensity of feeling.
- Love came down at ChristmasRutter, John
SATB & organ. Very singable!
- Still, still, stillRutter, John
SATB (with divisions) unaccompanied. This festive arrangement of a traditional German carol features an English text, translated and adapted by John Rutter. The first two verses are sung by soloists (or alternatively by a semi-chorus) over a background of choral hums, before all singers come together in the final verse.
- What sweeter music can we bringRutter, John
SATB & organ. Rutter at his best, with ample opportunity to hear both the upper voices and the gents.
- I wonder as I wanderRütti, Carl
SATB & organ. Rütti's increasingly popular contemporary arrangement of this traditional carol, lively and challenging.
- Child is born in Bethlehem, AScheidt, Samuel
SATB unaccompanied. Lovely, antiphonal carol.
- Child is born in Bethlehem, AStopford, Philip
SATB & organ. An uplifting rhythmic drive and buoyant melody make this accompanied carol a sparkling choice for Christmas programming.
- Love came down at ChristmasStopford, Philip
SATB unaccompanied. With the voices singing love, love... the music descends on the listener as if from above, just as the Christ Child was born on earth as the ultimate gift of love. This gentle short work for unaccompanied voices uses the treasured Christina Rossetti text.
- What sweeter music can we bringStopford, Philip
A lovely setting of the Robert Herrick poem will showcase the sonority and expressiveness of your choir.
- Hodie Christus natus estSweelinck, Jan Pieterszoon
SSATB unaccompanied. One of the great Renaissance motets.
- Earthly Blessing, AnTodd, Will
SA with divisi & piano. Written for the singers at Downe House School, Newbury. An Earthly Blessing is a gentle reflection on the miracle of Jesus' arrival at Christmas. The text is a poem written by Will Todd which brings out the personal and individual nature of the Christmas story. The music flows around the words, gradually building to the phrase 'Open My Heart'. In the four part section fewer vocal lines may be used if extra parts are not available.
- My Lord has comeTodd, Will
SATB unaccompanied This heartfelt setting of words by the composer begins with a pianissimo drone over which the sopranos introduce the expressive melody. With lush harmonies, moments of dynamic intensity, and an overriding sense of awe, it would make an ideal centrepiece for a Christmas or Epiphany concert or service.
- O little town of BethlehemWalford Davies, Henry
SATB unaccompanied. A lovely alternative to the better-known Forest Green (congregational) setting, this is in 100 Carols for Choirs, published by OUP.
- Benedicamus DominoWarlock, Peter
SATB unaccompanied. Warlock's setting of this ancient Latin text, though thoroughly rooted in his own style, nevertheless harks back to an earlier tradition, with distinctive parallel fifth passages evoking the music of the medieval monastery.
- Infant holy, infant lowlyWilberg, Mack
SATB & organ. This well-known, ever-popular Polish carol-lullaby has been set by Wilberg in a beautifully simple style, incorporating rich harmonies into the organ part.
- Infant holy, infant lowlyWillcocks, David
SATB unaccompanied. Simple but effective.