John Carbon’s Lullabies for the Infant Jesus for harp and small chorus sets two sixteenth century Christmas texts: the well known “Coventry Carol” from the Pageant of the Shearman and Tailors (1591) and the Scottish “Balulalow” (Wedderburn,
1567). Deceptively simple in style, chordal sections containing subtle
harmonic inflections are contrasted with more contrapuntal sections
whose lines often soar free of the harp accompaniment.
The nuances of the poetry are beautifully portrayed, from Herod’s raging in the Coventry Carol to Balulalow’s ‘I shall rock thee in my hert’. While contemporary in style, both pieces succeed in suggesting a medieval atmosphere of devotion and serenity. (Program Note by Simon Andrews)
Selected Performances of Lullabies for the Infant Jesus
Premiere: December 8, 1989, Franklin and Marshall Chamber
Chorus, Steven Edwards, Director, Nevin Chapel, Franklin and Marshall
College, Lancaster, PA.
December 24, 1989, Church of the Good Shepherd Choir, Arthur Lawrence, Director, NYC
April 9, 1995, The Franklin and Marshall Chamber Chorus, Simon Andrews, director, Miller Recital Hall, Franklin and Marshall, Lancaster, PA