A Shepherd's Carol


SATB a cappella

A Shepherd's Carol


SATB a cappella

Series: Music Sales America Publisher: Novello SATB Composer: Benjamin Britten

This product has a minimum order quantity of five copies.

for SATB unaccompanied (including SATB solos)

Text: W. H. Auden

Publisher: Novello (published in Sing Nowell carol collection)

Difficulty level: 1

While Britten and Auden were living in the United States Auden wrote the text for a Christmas Oratorio which he later re-titled For the Time Being. It was always intended that Britten would set the poem to music. In the end, however, Britten returned to the UK and only set two brief portions of the text when asked to contribute to a BBC radio programme called A Poet's Christmas. Britten then set the Shepherd's Carol and Chorale after an Old French Carol. Auden had remarked that the text for The Shepherd's Carol should be set as either 'jazz or Folk-song'. Britten's rather lovely easygoing setting seems to show that he had listened to Auden's advice.

The format of this beautifully simple carol is a repeated refrain sung by the choir ('O lift your little pinkie, and touch the winter sky...') interspersed by a verse each for the four soloists. It is one of Britten's most touchingly direct settings. It seems odd that he chose to withdraw it after its first performance.

Duration: 4 minutes

Paul Spicer, Lichfield, 2011

This product is printed in small quantities. Inventory is currently available but may change due to the low quantities normally kept on hand.

  • A Shepherd's Carol
  • Choral

$2.50 (US) Inventory #HL 14002562 UPC: 884088445881 Publisher Code: NOV401436 Width: 6.75" Length: 10.5" 4 pages

Prices and availability subject to change without notice.