In the Bleak Midwinter SSAA

In the bleak midwinter

A new setting of a traditional poem, “In the Bleak Midwinter” juxtaposes simple melodic beauty with a wider harmonic palette in the interior sections. These interior sections can be performed with the optional accompaniment, or a cappella. The use of the oboe accents melodic fragments in a subtle imitation of the melodic line introduced by the voices, available in SATB, SSAA, or TTBB.

Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) was an English poet whose life was marred with bouts of depression and related illness. Emerging from these challenges, her writing is recognized as having strong themes of religious devotion and also provides social commentary on various themes associated with the Victorian Era. Her poem, In the Bleak Midwinter, on which this work is based, became widely known when it was set by Gustav Holst in 1906 as a Christmas Carol in the English Hymnal, and it was further popularized in the setting by Harold Edwin Darke.

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In the Bleak Midwinter

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.