Sacred

Choral score

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Notes:

This piece has a couple challenging parts to note. In the opening I ask the choir to sustain a pure pedal tone in support of a wordless melody. This can be tricky to tune, but working hard to match the vowels between sections will help. At m. 48, the altos and tenors have to find precision, agility, but also a great sense of legato in their supporting lines. At m. 69, a quarter rest breath may be taken after "boy" if needed. (Try first to do it without, if you can!)


Text:

‘Twas in the moon of wintertime,
When all the birds had fled,
That mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel choirs instead.
Before their light the stars grew dim,
And wondering hunters heard the hymn:
Jesous ahatonia, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

Within a lodge of broken bark
The tender Babe was found;
A ragged robe of rabbit skin
Enwrapped His beauty round;
But as the hunter braves drew nigh,
The angel song rang loud and high: In excelsis gloria.

O children of the forest free,
O sons of Manitou,
The Holy Child of earth and heaven
Is born today for you.
Come kneel before the radiant boy,
Who brings you beauty, peace, and joy.
Jesous ahatonia, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria. 

- Jean de Brebeuf 
- Poetic English trans. by J. E. Middleton
Text used by permission of The Frederick Harris Music Co., Limited, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
All rights reserved.