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Sample Pagesfor mixed voices (SATB) a cappella
Text: English (Grace-Evangeline Mason)
Duration: 3 minutes
Difficulty: 2/5
Use: Christmas, Winter (secular text)

Each year the BBC Music Magazine commissions a brand-new Christmas Carol for their readers and, when Grace-Evangeline Mason was invited to compose the 2021 carol, she decided to write and set her own poem titled A Winter Carol. The words, which depict snowy scenery and starry allusions to heaven and earth, also include a modern twist as the composer dreams of walking home at Christmas time under the warm glow of the street lamps all covered in a silver frost. Written in three verses with a short refrain in between repeating the word ‘winter,’ the piece is a small, celebratory reflection of Christmas time. The carol begins in quiet consideration before opening up to feel hearty and warm. After a playful midsection, the work returns to a softer final coda, which is reminiscent of the opening.

Laden with snow,
The trees hang low,
Under golden streetlamp glow,
Keeping warm
Under my coat,
Homeward, I go.

Winter, winter.

Creation waits,
As heaven’s gates
Rend wide the starry skies,
A silent air,
A quiet hush
All around us lies.

Winter, winter.

On winter’s morn,
A gentle fawn
Explores the day’s delight,
A silver frost,
A glist’ning dream,
Earthly wonders in sight.

Winter, winter.

All blanketed white,
Soft speaks the night
In winter.

Grace-Evangeline Mason
Born in 1994, Grace-Evangeline Mason grew up in the West Midlands, learning trombone, clarinet and piano. She studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and the University of Oxford, and is currently pursuing her Doctorate in composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Her breakthrough as a composer came as an 18-year-old when she won the 2013 BBC Young Composer competition, the first of many awards and prizes Mason would go on to win. This saw her working with leading ensembles and artists including members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Aurora Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, with works presented by leading UK arts organisations including the Cheltenham Festival, Southbank Centre and BBC Proms. In 2020, Mason was named the ‘face to watch’ for classical music in The Times Calendar of the Arts and in 2021 the newspaper selected her as one of five young stars featured at the BBC Proms, linked with the premiere of her orchestral work The Imagined Forest.

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