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Sample pagesfor SATB & piano or organ
Text: English (Richard Wilberforce) with Latin refrain
Duration: 4'30''
Difficulty: 3/5
Use: Christmas

Available in both mixed (SATB) and upper (SSA) voices arrangements, this carol (written for the Leeds Philharmonic Chorus) sets a text written by the composer which tells the Christmas story from the perspective of the visiting shepherds, with a Latin refrain, Natus est nobis hodie Salvator (A Saviour is born today). The up-tempo music is suitably joyous with a syncopated melody which develops from verse to verse from unison, through upper voices, a slower lusciously harmonised version, and a final descant for sopranos. An exciting new piece in the Christmas repertoire, this would make a thrilling addition to any choir’s seasonal repertoire. The upper voice arrangement can be found here.

Up on the hill last night, warmed by the glow
of angels singing both high and low,
We heard a story, learnt a new song,
and now we’ll sing it all the day long:
‘Natus est nobis hodie Salvator.’

Listen carefully, tell all who hear,
Born where the star shines bright, a child so dear.
His guiding light doth pour down from the sky,
So raise your voices as we cry:
‘Natus est nobis hodie Salvator.’

Born on a bed of hay, wrapped all in white,
This King of kings is huddle from the night
by kindly oxen, and parents proud
sing him their lullaby, but not too loud:
‘Natus est nobis hodie Salvator.’

Gathered together, raising our song
in perfect harmony, loud singing along.
We sing a story of peace and love,
Go forth and tell of God’s gift from above:
‘Natus est nobis hodie Salvator.’

Richard Wilberforce
Originally from London, Richard studied at the University of Cambridge and the Royal College of Music, and now shares his time between France and the UK, where he holds a conducting and teaching position at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Paris, chorus masters the Leeds Philharmonic Chorus and fulfils his role as Composer-in-Residence with Trinity Boys Choir. His works are performed globally and have been recorded and broadcast by a number of leading choirs. For many years he was conductor of the Exon Singers and Director of the Hallé Youth Choir, and has conducted many of the UK’s and France’s foremost choirs. After an early success with the BBC Proms Young Composer Competition, Richard made composition the main focus of his time at Cambridge University, where he studied with Robin Holloway and Giles Swayne. His passion for writing for voices has been influenced by his first career as a countertenor, and one of his guiding ambitions as a composer is to write vocal lines that are rewarding for singers to sing, and melodies that are infectious!

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