Luke 2: 8-16
The shepherds go to the manger.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
The shepherds go to the manger.
- O holy nightAdam, Adolphe
Soprano (or tenor) solo, SATB & organ. Everyone's granny's favourite carol.
- Angels tell the Christmas storyArcher, Malcolm
SATB and organ. Setting an original text by the composer, this exuberant carol celebrates the birth of Jesus with a lively tempo and bouncing rhythms. Angels tell the Christmas story is ideal for both concert and liturgical use, and is sure to fill audiences with Christmas joy!
- Sound of singing fills the air, AArcher, Malcolm
SATB and organ. Malcolm Archer's setting of Timothy Dudley-Smith's 'A sound of singing fills the air' is joyful and uplifting, with a charming melody and warm harmonies. Heralding the birth of Jesus with its jubilant 'gloria' refrain, this carol will be a popular choice for concerts and services throughout the festive season.
- Shepherd's Carol, TheBennett, Richard Rodney
- Shepherds' Farewell, TheBerlioz, Hector
SATB & organ. A perennial favourite!
- Angel AlleluiasBullard, Alan
SATB unaccompanied or with percussion. This energetic and highly rhythmic arrangement of a 15th- century carol uses a folksy call-and-response style, which helps the piece maintain its momentum right through to its thrilling fortissimo conclusion.
- Shepherd's Carol, TheChilcott, Bob
SATB unaccompanied. The text is a beautiful anonymous poem that narrates the experience of the shepherds, drawn by starlight to the baby Jesus. The lovely, poignant melody of folk-like simplicity is supported by languid and atmospheric harmonies. The effect is a sublime marriage of poetic imagery and music.
- Ring the bellsFincham, Paul
Ring the Bells was commissioned by the London Philharmonic Choir and its first performance was given by the choir at the Royal Albert Hall, London on 20 December 2017, conducted by Toby Purser. Lively outer sections contrast with a more contemplative middle section based around a chorale theme. The piece should be easily manageable by any good amateur choir.
- This endres nightHendrie, Gerald
SATB & organ. An enjoyable yomp with the shepherds!
- TorchesJoubert, John
SATB & organ. Familiar setting, capturing the excitement of the shepherds as they run to Bethlehem.
- Song of the AngelsL'Estrange, Alexander
SATB & organ (optional). Written for the annual Service of Nine Lessons and Carols at Westminster Cathedral in December 2015, L'Estrange has delivered another enjoyable but challenging addition to the Christmas carol repertoire. Inspired by the early 17th-century English composer Orlando Gibbons, and setting a text from the satirist George Wither of the same era, this rousing carol is an ideal item to follow the seventh reading, or indeed as a closing hymn of joy after the ninth lesson.
- Silent NightLumsden, Andrew
SATB with divisi, unaccompanied. Rather lovely arrangement of Gruber's original melody.
- See amid the winter's snowMcGlade, Becky
SATB unaccompanied. This setting of Edward Caswall's well-known text shows all the hallmarks of McGlade's characteristic style, with changing time signatures, beguiling chromaticisms, and a beautiful, fluid melody. Changing metres give a sense of fluidity, while a scintillating climax on 'Peace on earth' forms the centre of the work.
- While shepherds watchedPark, Owain
SATB & organ. An original, gently lilting setting of a familiar text. Very accessible.
- In excelsis gloriaPhibbs, Joseph
SS & piano. Written specifically for children of primary school age, and with this in mind may be transposed up or down a semitone, depending on the vocal ranges available. The accompaniment, a gently undulating ostinato which remains constant throughout, is intended for a piano, harp, or organ and might also be played by a child.
- Angels' Carol, TheRutter, John
SATB & harp or piano/organ. A joyful carol of celebration with the refrain 'Gloria in excelsis Deo'. A version for upper voices is also available.
- King of Blis, TheRutter, John
SATB unaccompanied. This lively and uplifting carol sets a joyful fifteenth-century Christmas text by James Ryman and is guaranteed to prove a popular choice with choirs and audiences alike.
- Mary's LullabyRutter, John
SATB & organ. A beautiful nocturne.
- Quem pastores laudavereRutter, John
SATB, unaccompanied. Lush harmonies underpin the familiar melody.
- Quittez pasteursRutter, John
SATB & organ. An arrangement by John Rutter of a French traditional carol.
- Shepherd's Pipe Carol, TheRutter, John
SATB & organ. One of John Rutter's earlier carols, included in Carols for Choirs 2, this is a timeless favourite with singers and listeners alike. Funky rhythms, opportunities for gentle supporting harmonies, and one for the organist to enjoy, too.
- Zither Carol, TheSargent, Malcolm
SATB unaccompanied. Czech traditional arr Sargent. Click 'watch' for a vintage Durham performance introduced by Sir Harry Secombe!
- Silent NightStopford, Philip
SATB, flute & organ. This lovely and lyrical carol setting is perfect for that peaceful and reflective moment.
- Myn LykingTerry, Richard Runciman
SATB & organ. Setting a 15th century text, this popular carol on the birth of Jesus is flowing and expressive.
- Angel Song IITodd, Will
SATB unaccompanied. The composer writes of this piece: 'Angel Song II is inspired by the idea of angels singing on Christmas night. The music weaves a gentle melody over the aleatoric textures of the accompanying voices. The text is designed to create the echo of the word 'Hosanna', but with no consonants, so that the music feels as if it comes from 'on high'.'
- Angels from the realms of gloryTodd, Will
A radiant original setting of familiar words, this carol displays Todd's characteristically emotive harmonic language, rich in poignant suspensions. The arching melodies for verse and refrain become as instinctive as the traditional carol tune, and the running quavers in the supportive organ part provide a strong foundation upon which the soaring choral lines can rest.
- Lux aurumqueWhitacre, Eric
SATB with divisi, unaccompanied. A poem by Edward Esch (translated into Latin by Charles Anthony Silvestri) with tight, shimmering harmonies. The text translates in English as 'Light, warm and heavy as pure gold and angels sing softly to the new-born babe.'
- Birthday CarolWillcocks, David
SATB & organ. Words adapted from Luke 2, the story of the shepherds told in an energetic way.
- Quelle est cette odeur agreable?Willcocks, David
Baritone solo, SATB & organ. Beautiful, restful arrangement of an ancient French carol.