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Sweet was the songfor mixed voices (SATB) & organ
Text: English (Anon, 16th century)
Duration: 4 minutes
Difficulty: 2/5
Use: Christmas

Composer's note
Sweet was the Song is a traditional English carol dating from the 16th century depicting the Virgin Mary singing a lullaby to the newborn Jesus. This setting reflects the text with gentle rocking phrases, static harmonies and a simple melodic line. The music is coloured by soft dissonances, conveying a sense of mystery and uncertainty. Tempo fluctuations in the chorus should have a natural, expressive quality. This piece is taken from a larger work
An Old Belief
which deals with the subject of religious faith in times of crisis. It was commissioned by Alan Brookes for Twickenham Choral Society, who gave the first performance in March 2013, conducted by Christopher Herrick.

Sweet was the song the Virgin sung,

When she to Bethlem was come,

And was deliver’d of a Son,

That blessed Jesus hath to name.

Lullaby, lullaby. ‘Sweet Babe’, sang she.

‘My Son, and eke a Saviour born,

Who hast vouchsafed from on high

To visit us that were forlorn,

lula, lula, lula. Lullaby. ‘Sweet babe’, sang she.

And sweetly rock’d Him on her knee.

Iain Farrington
Iain Farrington has an exceptionally busy and diverse career as a pianist, organist, composer and arranger. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music, London and at Cambridge University. Iain has performed at all the major UK venues as well as internationally, and played the piano at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics with Rowan Atkinson, the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle.

As a composer, Iain has written orchestral, chamber, instrumental, vocal and choral works. He composed two orchestral works for the Wallace and Gromit Prom in 2012 including Wing It, a jazz guide to the orchestra. His organ suites Fiesta and Animal Parade have both been performed and recorded worldwide, and his choral work The Burning Heavens was nominated for a British Composer Award. Iain has composed and arranged numerous works for choir, and has given many concerts with such choral groups as the BBC Singers and the London Philharmonic Choir.

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