Peter Bloesch Listen

Choral ~ Holiday ~ A Cappella



“The Coventry Carol”

(An original setting of the text, not an arrangement)



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SCORING:  SATB a cappella (some divisi)

DURATION:  ca. 3:00   —   DIFFICULTY:  5/5   —   PAGES IN PDF SCORE:  8

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In this original setting of the traditional text, I wanted to use a fair amount of dissonance to express the anguish present in the text. 

After three verses of tension and unresolved chords, the piece resolves at last to a tranquil C-major chord, ending the carol on a note of hope and peace.

The Coventry Carol

Anonymous 15th-century text

Complete text:

    Lully, lulla, thou little tiny child,
    By by, lully lullay.

O sisters too, how may we do
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we do sing,
By by, lully lullay?

Herod the king, in his raging,
Chargèd he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight,
All young children to slay.

    Lully, lulla, thou little tiny child,
    By by, lully lullay.

Then woe is me, poor child for thee!
And ever morn and day,
For thy parting, neither say nor sing,
By by, lully lullay!

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