for mixed voices (SATB) & organ
Text: English (Tony Barnard)
This lively carol was commissioned in 2005 by Lichfield Cathedral Special Choir (now called the Cathedral Chorus) to celebrate the birth of Hannah Scriven and Holly Mason, the daughters of the two cathedral organists at that time. The words were specially written by Tony Barnard, the then Canon Chancellor at Lichfield, and a member of the choir. This carol, whilst not entirely foreign to my normal style, touches more ‘country and western’/popular buttons than I am in the habit of touching. But I wanted to write a tuneful piece which swayed and danced and reflected the colourful imagery of Tony Barnard’s text.
Recommended recording: Come out, Lazar – The shorter choral works of Paul Spicer (Regent REGCD280) by The Chapel Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge and Claire Innes-Hopkins (organ), directed by Sarah MacDonald.
"It's by no means difficult but it does offer much choral training fodder to the cunning director who takes the opportunity to build his/her choir's technique while they enjoy its attractions. The organ accompaniment includes and important rocking pedal part suggestive of journeying by camel, ass, or pony." (Rebecca Tavener, Organists' Review, June 2016)
This child of God, who’s born on Christmas day,
whom shepherds view, to whom kings homage pay,
is called to be a shepherd and a king.
Sing alleluias, praise this wondrous thing.
This child of God is shepherd, born to lead
through pastures green, by banks of golden reed;
nor left, nor right, but ever on the way,
which leads to Calvary and endless day.
This child of God, this Son of David’s line,
is root of tree, a shoot, a fruitful vine,
it shelter gives to all who see the way
which leads them to the cross and Easter day.
This child of God, this many spangled star,
is light’ning flash which dazzles near and far;
bright light to guide our feet along the way,
that leads to Calvary and endless day.
This child of God is called to save mankind,
to open eye and ear, the heart and mind;
to heal, and make the lame man leap and play
along the road that leads to Easter Day.
This child of God, let angel voices praise.
Give God the glory, live his loving ways.
Let peace on earth o’er come our worldly strife
through all who walk his road throughout their life.
Paul Spicer is one of the UK’s most widely respected choral conductors. He studied at the Royal College of Music where he was a composition student of Herbert Howells. As director of the Finzi Singers, he made many recordings on the Chandos label focusing on his specialist area of 20th century British music, and he currently conducts the Birmingham Bach Choir and the Whitehall Choir in London. He teaches choral conducting at Oxford and Durham Universities, and at the Birmingham Conservatoire, where he also directs the Chamber Choir which has an increasing reputation through its regular recordings. Paul’s choral workshops take him all over the world and his English Choral Experience foundation runs choral courses in the UK and Europe. He has written biographies of Herbert Howells and Sir George Dyson and his compositional output includes the large-scale Easter Oratorio and Advent Oratorio, a choral symphony Unfinished Remembering, and The Deciduous Cross, a five movement work for choir and wind instruments, as well as many smaller-scale works.