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Wexford Carol (Irish Carol)

Wexford Carol (the Irish Carol) (arr. November 2012) is arrangement for vocalist and orchestra which draws its influence from the Irish overtones of drones and idiomatic harmonic progressions derived from bagpipe-like chordal structures.  This sparsely textured and richly evocative arrangement suggests a vast, open atmosphere from its quiet beginnings and modal inflections.  This is one of my favorite carols and it’s thinly veiled and quiet arrangement adds a mysterious quality of the Irish moors and simple beauty.  This traditional religious Irish Christmas carol originated from County Wexford dating around the 12th century and features texts that describe the nature of the nativity of the birth of Jesus Christ. 

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English Verse:

Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending his beloved son
With Mary holy we should pray,
To God with love this Christmas Day
In Bethlehem upon that morn,
There was a blessed Messiah born

The night before that happy tide
The noble Virgin and her guide
Were long time seeking up and down
To find a lodging in the town
But mark right well what came to pass
From every door repelled, alas
As was foretold, their refuge all
Was but a humble ox’s stall

Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep
To whom God’s angel did appear
Which put the shepherds in great fear
Arise and go, the angels said
To Bethlehem, be not afraid
For there you’ll find, this happy morn
A princely babe, sweet Jesus, born

With thankful heart and joyful mind
The shepherds went the babe to find
And as God’s angel had foretold
They did our Saviour Christ behold
Within a manger he was laid
And by his side a virgin maid
Attending on the Lord of Life
Who came on earth to end all strife