Choral ~ Holiday ~ A Cappella
“Out of Your Sleep, Arise and Wake!”
(An original setting of the anonymous English text)
SCORING: SATB a cappella (frequent divisi)
DURATION: ca. 2:30 — DIFFICULTY: 5/5 — PAGES IN PDF SCORE: 15
HOW TO PLACE AN ORDER — PDF: $50 (for all the copies you need)
This piece is a jubilant and dancelike setting of a stirring ancient text, which describes in mystical language how the wonder of Christ's birth should cause us to wake from our “sleep.”
I created this piece to be challenging but rewarding. The vocal lines are quite contrapuntal and seem to “chase” each other throughout the piece. This creates a complex tapestry of movement and energy befitting the proclamation of “Arise and wake!”
Out of Your Sleep, Arise and Wake!
Anonymous 14th or 15th-century text
Out of your sleep, arise and wake!
For God mankind now hath ytake [“ytake” = taken]
All of a maid without any make; [“make” = equal]
Of all women she beareth the bell. [“she beareth the bell” = she's the leader]
And through a maiden fair and wise
Now we are made of full great price;
Now angels kneel to our service,
And at this time all this befell.
Now we are brighter than the sun;
Now we in heaven on high shall won; [“won” = dwell]
Blessèd be God, this game is begun.
Whoever was thrall, now is he free! [“thrall” = in bondage]
Whoever was small, now great is she!
Now shall God deem both thee and me
Unto His bliss, if we do well.
Now may we all to heaven wend;
Now heaven and earth to us they bend;
He that was foe now is our friend.
This is no nay that I you tell. [“no nay” = no idle tale]
Now blessèd Brother, grant us grace
At doomès day to see Thy face,
And in Thy court to have a place,
That we may there sing Thee “Nowell.”