for mixed choir (SATB) a cappella
Text: English (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
There are already well-known settings of this text, most notably Bing Crosby’s 1956 recording of Johnny Marks’ interpretation; however, people (including Crosby) have tended to omit the central, more overtly historical verses. I wanted to write a setting that included these, as they are critical to the effect of Longfellow’s poem, written as it was during the American Civil War and at a time of great personal difficulty for the poet, not long after the death of his second wife and the injury of his son in battle.
The bells of the carol’s title feature in the melodic spans of an octave and in the directional, often scalar movement between these extremities, taking inspiration from the art of change ringing; and not too much should be made of the irregular, alternating time signatures, which are merely intended to reflect the natural rhythm of the text
Ed was both a chorister and a choral scholar in the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, and has written for a number of groups, including The King’s Singers, VOCES8 and the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. He has also composed music for theatre in London’s West End. The technology company he founded, Jukedeck, is working on artificial intelligence in music and has won several awards including a Cannes Innovation Lion. He lectures and writes about the intersection of artificial intelligence and creativity.