Carol of the Crib - Composers Notes
My setting of Timothy Dudley-Smith’s beautiful poem is intended for
Christmas Eve services such as the Blessing of the Crib or Christingle
during which, in many churches, the figure of the Christ child is
placed into the crib scene. The words tell of the significance of Jesus’s
birth: bringing the world out of darkness and into the light.
The minor modality of the three verses together with the quieter
dynamics depicts the darkness while the major tonality and louder
(generally) dynamics of the choruses represents the light. The more
contrast that can be achieved between the verses and the choruses the
The melody line and words of the choruses are provided below so that
they can be reproduced in the service sheet to give the congregation
the option of joining in with the chorus each time it occurs. I am
very much in favour of congregational involvement during services
wherever possible and have deliberately written a melody which
is akin to hymn tunes, that is to say with a limited vocal range.
Alternatively, the choir can of course perform the piece as a regular
anthem without participation from the congregation.
I hope that many choirs will enjoy singing this setting of Timothy
Dudley-Smith’s poem whether that’s within the context of a service or
in a Christmas concert.