CV 42-96830 | In the Bleak Midwinter

SATB divisi, violin, piano

Written for the Taylor Festival Choir in 2005. The opening chords serve as a musical illustration of a cold, snow-glistened wintry landscape. The melody, clearly inspired by famous settings of this text by Gustav Holst and Harold Darke, makes its first appearance amidst a cascading ostinato in the upper voices; the climax of the arch form occurs as the “cherubim and seraphim throng the air.”

Recorded on the ensemble’s Christmas disc, Sing We Now of Christmasreleased on MSR Classics, and by the Pacific Lutheran University Chorale on Peace: A PLU Christmas.

Text

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.

— Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)