During the course of this Advent calendar project I have enjoyed encountering pieces of music new to me, and also those about which I'd long forgotten. The piece I've chosen today belongs to the latter category.
Before I went to university I spent a very happy year as a choral scholar at Norwich Cathedral. During the Nine Lessons and Carols for Christmas we sang a beautiful, simple carol by Bryan Kelly (b. 1934), This lovely lady sat and song. I came across it this week, not having sung nor heard it since!
If you are a singer, or an Evensong aficionado (or indeed both!), then you might be familiar with Kelly's Evening canticles in C which, allegedly, include Latin American rhythms. The carol I've chosen for today couldn't be more different in style!
Old English, extracts from the hymn This endris night (fifteenth-century)
The version I've chosen is sung by the choir of All Saints, Margaret St, directed by Paul Brough.
This lovely lady sat and song, And to her child con say, ' My sone, my broder, my fader dere, Why liest thou thus in hay ? My swete brid, thus it is betid, Thogh thou be king veray ; But nevertheles I will not cese To sing, By by, lullay.'
' My dere moder, whan time it be, Thou take me up on loft, And sette me upon thy knee, And handell me full soft ; And in thy arme thou hill me warme, And kepe night and day ; If that I wepe, and may not slepe, Thou sing, By by, lullay.'
' Now swete son, sin it is so, That all thing is at thy will, I pray thee graunte me a bone, If it be both right and skill, That child or man that will or can Be mery upon my day, To blisse hem bring, and I shall sing Lullay, By by, lullay.'