Carol for a a cappella SATB
This carol was composed in March 2009 and bears a dedication to Jeremy Backhouse and the Vasari Singers, with whom I have enjoyed a fruitful creative relationship over recent years. The folk ballad style of the anonymous, traditional text lent itself well to a musical setting that preserved the original strophic arrangement, and this in turn encouraged the use of textural variation in successive verses to offset repetition of the same musical material. One ‘verse’ of music actually spans two verses of text, and therefore the first verse of the poem is here repeated before the fifth and last of the original, an arrangement which permits three complete musical presentations. In the second of these, the melody is sung by the tenors against a flowing, wordlessly hushed background. In the third, the melody deviates slightly, presenting its central material slightly higher in pitch to create a restrained climax before a slower, more melancholic peroration.