Performed By: Plymouth Festival Chorus, Philip Brunelle, conductor

I. Welcome Yule II. O Hark, the Bells Glad Song III. Beautiful Star IV. Le Petit Nouveau Ne V. At Christmas Be Merry VI. The Shepherds All Are Waking

SATB chorus, handbells, string orchestra

Text: Medieval French text: 1. Welcome Yule (15th Century) Sloane MS. 2593 (cf. No. 36), of the beginning of the fifteenth century or temp. Henry VI. Another version in the Bodleian Douce MS. 302, the collection of John Awdlay, the blind chaplain, c. 1430, printed in Sandys? Christmastide, 1852. See Preface, p. x. Note: The text is taken from a hymn by Sydney H. Nicholson entitled Welcome Yule. 2. O Hark, the Bell?s Glad Song (11th Century)Unknown. 3. Beautiful Starr (17th Century) Ernest Myrand, No?ls anciens de la Nouvelle-France (Qu?bec: Typ. Laflamme & Proulx, 1907), 189. 4. Le Petit Nouveau N? (18th Century) Ernest Myrand, No?ls anciens de la Nouvelle-France (Qu?bec: Typ. Laflamme & Proulx, 1907), 132-133. 5. At Christmas Be Merry, Unknown. 6. The Shephers All Are Waking (16th Century) Edmondstoune Duncan. The Story of the Carol (Detroit: Sing Tree Press, 1968), 147-148.

Duration: 15 minutes

Available From:
ECS Publishing (rental)

Composer's Notes:
“Ah la crèche!” was the cry of the peasants and townspeople in 16th-century France as they prepared to celebrate Christmas. Feasts and merriment surrounded Christmas Day then as now. The young people celebrated with dancing. At first, popular tunes were piped for the dances. Over the years, the words to the popular tunes were replaced with more sacred words which told the story of Christmas, creating new carols with old folk tunes. At the Christmas feasts, the new carols were used for ring dancing.

Carols II through VI were composed for the Grand Rapids Area Community Chorus of northern Minnesota in 1983. In 1984, acting upon the suggestion of Philip Brunelle, the original accompaniment of piano was change to string orchestra, keeping the handbells as in the original. The first carol, completing the set, was composed in 1985. I made translations of the French texts, with the exception of the phrase “le petit nouveau né.” That phrase, loosely translated as “the newborn,” seemed too musical with which to tamper.
— Libby Larsen
To purchase the score, please visit ECS Publishing:
Score Errata:
I. Welcome Yule :
m.10. baritone, beat 3 should be A natural not B natural.