Guerrieri: O Bethlehem (2003), SATB chorus (PDF, 175 KB)
Advent starts this Sunday, which, for the non-Christians out there, is when even the devout start counting the shopping days left until Christmas (NOTE: good-hearted joke which eight years of Catholic grade school qualifies me to make). In celebration, here’s a Christmas anthem I wrote a few years back (tinny-sounding piano MIDI here) which has yet to get a public hearing—every year, I pencil it in, and every year, we run out of rehearsal time and I substitute something easy out of the Oxford Carols for Choirs book. This year, we’re doing it whether it’s properly rehearsed or not.
The impetus for this piece was Guerrieri’s Rule of Sacred Text Exigesis: always look up passages in context, since they’re usually weirder than you’d think. (This rule only applies to traditional mainstream religions; Dianetics, for example, is pretty much exactly as weird as you’d think.) Given all the slots to fill up in a lessons and carols service, I make it my mission to include at least one that isn’t all cheese-curd-smooth John Rutter-esque warm fuzzies. (If you’d rather not encourage me, Benjamin Britten’s “The Oxen” also fits this bill nicely.)
By the way, for the month, that brings the current score to Daniel Wolf, 29, me, 1. There’s still fourteen hours left, though.