for mixed voices (SATB) and organ or piano
Text: English (Thomas Hewitt Jones)
This Christmas, I was inspired to write a new carol, Baby in an ox's stall, which I hope captures the Christmas season in a joyful and optimistic new tune, and creates a similar emotion and tinge of nostalgia which appears in some of my favourite carols. I decided to write new words because I wanted them to fit the melody like a glove, and doing it this way I could actually write the melody first.
The tune of this carol begins with a soprano solo in the warm key of F major and it gradually flowers into full SATB textures with a soprano descant, modulating in later verses. It includes a couple of false relations which colour the melody at certain points in a slightly rebellious way. I've always had a bit of an inner schoolchild, and I think this comes through in this carol. I'm also a fan of Peter Warlock's music, and some of the harmonic alterations I have used perhaps owe a debt of gratitude to him in some way. With Baby in an ox’s stall I have created a carol which I hope can be enjoyed as something a little bit fun and spicy, like a Christmas lunch with all the trimmings.
Baby in an ox's stall is also available in a version for unison voices.
Thomas Hewitt Jones
Thomas Hewitt Jones is an award-winning composer of concert and commercial music. Winner of the BBC Young Composer competition in 2003, he has since had a number of pieces performed, broadcast and published. His ballet, vocal and instrumental music, in particular, is highly acclaimed. His carol ‘Child of the Stable’s Secret Birth’ was premiered by John Rutter and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 2010, and he has had pieces published by Faber Music, ABRSM, Novello & Co, Universal Music and Oxford University Press as well as Boosey & Hawkes. Thomas has also worked in Hollywood, and composed the music for the 2012 Olympics Mascots animated films.