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A Suite of Carols

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Programme notes written by Sarah Clevely.

There are relatively few versions of this carol so I was keen to write a new arrangement and explore different harmonies. The texture remains traditionally homophonic throughout with a powerful descant in the final verse. The key signature changes briefly from 3/4 to 4/4 near the end of each verse to elongate the harmonies and to create a sense of gentleness and slowing down as the verse comes to an end.

This is a less well known carol than the other two in this Suite of Carols and I was keen to add this to the Christmas repertoire. Unlike most other carols, there is a strong and triumphant refrain at the end of each verse. Contrast is provided in the two quieter verses with the women singing one verse accompanied by the men humming and then vice versa. The carol finishes with a rousing final verse and the sopranos divide to add another strong layer of harmony.

This carol is traditionally in 4/4 but I wanted to try it in 3/4 as I feel this time signature suits the gentle nature of the lyrics well. Verses one and four are sung in traditional homophonic harmony. Verse two sees more variety in texture as the harmonies weave in and out of one another. Verse three is sung by women only to observe the peaceful nature of the lyrics and verse four has a strong joyful descant to finish the piece.

Sarah Clevely has been composing since her mid-teens focusing mainly on choral music. She is a passionate educationalist and recently completed a Diploma and a Masters in Music. She has taught music to pre-school children and held the post of Music Specialist at a Montessori nursery school.

Sarah Clevely's love of Christmas and children is clearly reflected in these carols which should appeal to any adventurous choir looking for something new at Christmas.

Difficulty: Medium-Easy
16 pages / A4 format / Paperback
Duration: c.10 minutes


  • 1. Blessed be that Maid Marie
  • 2. Away in a Manger
  • 3. O Little Town of Bethlehem

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Cat No. RM669
Supplier Code RM669
Price £3.50
ComposerSarah Clevely
CategoryCarols (upper Voices)
PublisherRecital Music
ISMN 979-0-57045-669-7
EAN-13 9790570456697
Weight 53 grams
Published 20th November 2013
Availability 63 in stock
See also...
RM159  Adoration Carol
RM468  Ring out the Bells! (CAROLS (MIXED VOICES))
RM670  Silent Night
RM696  On a Holy Night (CAROLS (MIXED VOICES))
RM738  A Carol from Flanders (CAROLS (MIXED VOICES))
RMS033  Little Donkey
RMS040  Away in a Manger