Sir Christemas

  • scored for unaccompanied SATB choir, semi-chorus and tenor solo

Programme Note

The text to “Sir Christemas” (believed to have been written by Richard Smerte in the late 15th century) is a festive and jolly poem, encouraging us to “Buvez bien, buvez bien par toute la compagnie” (transl.: Drink up, drink up, with all the company) whilst reminding us of the true purpose of Christmas.

It seemed only appropriate that an equally jolly work was written to accompany the text, while paying homage to the original music written by Smerte. This composition, like many of Joshua’s other works, combines medieval-like harmonies with a more contemporary style.

Scored for Tenor Solo, Semi-Chorus and SATB choir, this work is to be enjoyed both in religious and secular engagements.


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Singers of The 24
Joshua Quinlan (conductor)

Producer: Karl Clarke
Video: Nathan Barker

Recorded December 2019 and released on Apollo Edition Records

Sir Christemas (by Richard Smerte):
“Nowell, nowell, nowell, nowell.”
“Who is there that singeth so nowell, nowell, nowell?”

1. “I am here, Sir Christëmas.”
“Welcome, my lord Sir Christëmas,
Welcome to us all, both more and less,
Come near, nowell.”

2. “Dieus wous garde, bewe sieurs,1 tidings I you bring:
A maid hath borne a child full ying,
The which causeth (you) for to sing,
Nowell.

3. “Christ is now born of a pure maid,
In an ox-stall he is laid,
Whereof sing we alle at a brayde,2
Nowell.

4. “Bevvex bien par tutte la company,
Make good cheer and be right merry,
And sing with us now joyfully,
Nowell.

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The PRS tunecode for this work is: 381191BU