John 1: 1-14
St John unfolds the great mystery of the Incarnation.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that light, but was sent to bear witness of that light. That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
St John unfolds the great mystery of the Incarnation.
- Break forth, O beauteous heavenly lightBach, Johann Sebastian
SATB unaccompanied. Chorale setting from Bach's Christmas Oratorio.
- And every stone shall cryChilcott, Bob
SATB (with divisions) unaccompanied. This poignant and reflective carol is set to a poetic text by Richard Wilbur inspired by verses from St Luke's Gospel. The poem foretells not only of Christ's birth, but also his death; the contrasting, bittersweet emotions it portrays are captured perfectly by the wistful melody which prevails throughout.
- As the bells ringChilcott, Bob
SATB and piano. With a lively tempo, dance-like rhythms, and bright harmonies, Chilcott's music perfectly expresses the festive joy of this original Christmas text by Charles Bennett. The uplifting melody is interspersed with jubilant bell-like tones, and the driving chords in the piano add an underlying sense of excitement.
- Marvellous Birth, TheChilcott, Bob
SATB and piano. This gentle carol, set to a beautiful text by Elizabeth Jennings, reflects upon the birth of Christ and the coming New Year. In a simple setting, Chilcott perfectly captures the warmth of the season, the wonder of this child's birth, and the significance of his coming into the world.
- Where riches is everlastinglyChilcott, Bob
SATB and percussion. Something different for the end of the carol service, this joyful and upbeat Christmas carol uses the syncopated rhythms of rumba. The choir sings a vibrant and engaging melody while the congas, shaker, and cowbell provide a toe-tapping rhythmic ostinato.
- Verbum patris umanatur (Word of God now made incarnate)Corp, Ronald
SATB unaccompanied. This energetic setting of a 14th-century Christmas gradual recalls the lively rhythms and open harmonies of medieval song. It can be sung in the original Latin or in English.
- Tomorrow shall be my dancing dayGardner, John
SATB & organ. Take it fast; take it slow - it's up to you!
- On Christmas night (The Sussex Carol)Kelly, Bryan
SATB & organ
- On Christmas night (The Sussex Carol)Ledger, Philip
SATB & organ. Like Willcocks, but different...
- Novo profusi gaudioMartin, Matthew
SATB & organ. A vibrant and festive Christmas motet, Novo profusi gaudio sets a medieval text in English, Latin, and French. This joyful account of the nativity is set to colourful, exuberant music featuring memorable motifs, rhythmic phrases, and triumphant climaxes. Sure to add sparkle to any service or concert at Christmas time.
- 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.
- Christ is the morning starMcDowall, Cecilia
SATB and organ. This lively setting of the Venerable Bede's Christ is the morning star features all the hallmarks of McDowall's original and vibrant style. With rich harmonies, compelling modulations, and a flowing organ accompaniment, this piece is perfect for services and concerts throughout Advent and Christmas.
- Tomorrow shall be my dancing dayRutter, John
SSA & organ, piano or harp. Beautiful, delicate arrangement.
- On this day earth shall ringStewart, Haldane Campbell
SATB & organ. If you're looking for a show-piece that's not too difficult to round off your carol service, this fits the bill perfectly. The text summarises the entire Nativity story, and the music is very singable, with joyful outer sections and two rather more lyrical verses in the middle.
- Christmas Blessing, AStopford, Philip
A lilting Christmas benediction that will fill every heart with the joy of the season! Displaying the exquisite choral style of Philip Stopford, this work is ideal to close the carol service.
- On Christmas night (The Sussex Carol)Stopford, Philip
SATB unaccompanied. In a "part song" style with varying choral textures during verses and linking passages between. The last verse culminates in a fabulous full choir section with an uplifting ending.
- Tomorrow shall be my dancing dayStopford, Philip
SATB unaccompanied. This famous text receives a madrigal-like setting with vibrant mixed metres and colourful vocal textures.
- Boy was born, ATodd, Will
SSATBB & piano. A new carol from composer Will Todd, written for a service of Jazz Carols at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London. Full of jazz inflections, this restrained and reflective piece will be a valuable addition to the Christmas choral repertoire.
- Christ is the morning starTodd, Will
SATB & organ. Will Todd's style is instantly accessible and lastingly memorable. In this glorious setting, simple choral writing underpinned by a luminous organ part combine to create an anthem of beauty and radiance.
- SoftlyTodd, Will
SATB unaccompanied. With words and music by Will Todd, this is a tranquil carol that captures the peace and spirit of Christmas. Featuring subtle suspensions, modulations, and time signature changes it will appeal to a wide range of choirs.
- All this timeWalton, William
SATB unaccompanied. Short, lively and pithy. 'Verbum caro factum est'.
- What cheer?Walton, William
SATB unaccompanied. Text points the listener towards 'this good New Year'.
- Winter's WaitWhitbourn, James
SATB & organ. Written during wintry weather in January 2010. The words are by Robert Tear, for many years one of British music's most distinguished tenors. Music by the British composer James Whitbourn. This is a striking and effective piece, beginning quietly and rising to a majestic climax.
- Ding, dong! Merrily on highWilberg, Mack
SATB & organ. Lively and full-bodied arrangement of this adaptable carol. One to put the choir and organist through their paces! The organ accompaniment was transcribed by Peter Stevens for the King's College, Cambridge Nine Lessons and Carols service in 2007.
- Ding, dong! Merrily on highWillcocks, David
SATB & organ. Lively organ accompaniment, some unaccompanied singing with voices played off against each rhythmically. Exquisite arrangement.
- On Christmas night (The Sussex Carol)Willcocks, David
SATB & organ
- Tomorrow shall be my dancing dayWillcocks, David
SSAATTBB unaccompanied, with solos for soprano (or group of sopranos) and baritone.