for Orchestra

by Robert Myers

Tune: Greensleeves and Noel Nouvelet, traditional English and French carols
Duration:4:15 (approximately)
Orchestation: 2/1/1/0 4/3/3/1 Timpani/Glockenspiel, Percussion (1), Harp, Piano, Strings

Program Notes: The title, What Child We Sing, is a play on two traditional Christmas carols, What Child Is This and Sing We Now of Christmas, which are the basis of this new work. What Child Is This is almost always paired wth the 16th Century English tune, GREENSLEEVES, a ballad of unrequited love. Both the text and tune of Sing We Now of Christmas come from a traditional French Christmas carol, NOEL NOUVELET, believed to be even older than GREENSLEEVES. These two traditional Christmas carols blend together in several ways so as to make the compilation into one work a natural result. Both tunes are set in a minor mode with a very similar narrow melodic range that effortlessly flow together. The question of what child lies in the manger is answered in the refrain of Sing We Now of Christmas with the proclamation, “Sing We Noel, the King is born, Noel.” The result turns out not to be a medley but a melding of two distincts into one union, What Child We Sing?

What Child We Sing best works in the Advent or Christmas seasons with its strong exposition of traditional Christmas carols and would be suitable in a sacred concert or as a prelude, offertory, or reflective music in either liturgical or unstructured service. It has sufficient artistic metric to be suitable for the concert stage as well, although it is not at all difficult, being suitable for intermediate or higher level musicians.


Flute 1, 2 Oboe Bb Clarinet Alto Sax (optional) Horn in F 1, 2 Bb Trumpet 1, 2, 3 Trombone 1, 2, 3 Tuba Timpani / Glockenspiel Percussion (1) Cymbals (Crash, Ride, Suspended) Corinthian Bells or Mark Tree Triangle Snare Drum Bass Drum Harp Piano Strings

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What Child We Sing? – for Orchestra

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