Bethlehem Down

Peter Warlock



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There are few instrumental pieces amongst the works of Peter Warlock who wrote chiefly vocal items. Several of his carols have become firmly established in the seasonal repertoire of singers and choirs; none moreso than Bethlehem Down. The string version by Philip Lane stretches the original four verses to five and seeks to make the piece as effective for strings as it is for choirs. No harmonic changes have been made although the voicing has naturally been varied for textural reasons. This adaptation by Paul Noble has added to the variance in instrumental textures to fully realize the tonal colors of the Concert Band. With key signatures of F/d minor, Bb/g minor, Eb/c minor, and Ab/f minor, numerous suspensions, and softer to louder dynamics, this chorale is a perfect warm-up and tune-up piece for the ensemble, while at the same time exploring worthwhile and programmable concert repertoire.

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