Christmas Eve, Bells – Carol Barnett

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Product Type: Digital Download

Format: Choral Score

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Composer: Carol Barnett

Text by: Canto XXVIII – Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Instrumentation: SSSAAATTBB

Duration: Approx. 4 minutes

Date Written:  1991

Composer’s note: 

In a new take on the Christmas spirit, Carol Barnett takes the first three stanzas from Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s In Memoriam, canto XXVIII, and paints a provincial soundscape of a December English countryside, bleak and beautiful in its heavy snowfall. Imagine the voices as bells ringing the changes, exploring the variations of their tunes, a background hum always present in their combined overtones, all in service to a sense of wistful nostalgia. Christmas Eve, Bells was written in 1991 for the Dale Warland Singers’ Echoes of Christmas concert.

– Carol Barnett


The time draws near the birth of Christ:
The moon is hid; the night is still;
The Christmas bells from hill to hill
Answer each other in the mist.

Four voices of four hamlets round,
From far and near, on mead and moor,
Swell out and fail, as if a door
Were shut between me and the sound:

Each voice four changes on the wind,
That now dilate, and now decrease,
Peace and goodwill, goodwill and peace,
Peace and goodwill, to all mankind.

from In Memoriam
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

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