January 04, 2009

Different Shepherds - IN YOUR AREA

British Poet Laureate Nahum Tate's famous text "While shepherds watch'd their flocks by night" has been set to music many many times. I wrote four short ones on Christmas evening (after a half dozen glasses of chardonnay at my brother-in-law's family's house), &, after this, I'll try & record the last one before the twelve days of Christmas are over. (The first & third are here & here.) I call it "Different Shepherds", probably as part of the additional songs addendum to Western Harmony. I was formerly a little skeptical of composers attempting to write shape-note carols in odd meters, but I was inspired by the lovely free-feeling five of Neely Bruce's "Walkley" from the Northern Harmony; so "In Your Area" ambiguously switches between 3+2 & 2+3.

While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around.

All glory be to God on high,
And to the Earth be peace;
Good will henceforth from Heaven to men
Begin and never cease!

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