Cradle Song, A

Program Notes:

The music of “A Cradle Song” requires the listener to “lean in” to a sparse and gripping, a cappella setting of familiar words by Robert Croo (1534) which are best known to a different melody as the Coventry Carol. San Francisco-based Eric Tuan dedicated his 2010 work, A Cradle Song, to Robert Geary and the Piedmont Children’s Chorus, an accomplished Bay Area choir known for its decades of commissioning and exploration. This tells the story of King Herod’s systematic and deadly search for the Christ Child across the land. The relentless “lulla, lullay” is the soothing sound of a lullaby to a crying child.

Conductor Notes:

SSAA an soprano solo a cappella

I am a huge fan of the music of Eric Tuan. Frequent dissonances in this sparse piece including D#s and Es sustained in the altos, create an uneasy atmosphere. The high points including the phrase about Herod are in sharp contrast and very dramatic. The result is an effective and haunting work.


This lists any discs, concerts or collections where this piece is included.




Lullay, lullay
My little tiny child
By-by, lullay, lullay
Lullay, lullay
My little tiny child
By-by, lullay, lullay
Oh, sisters two
How may we do
For to preserve this day?
This poor youngling
Of whom we do sing
By-by, lullay, lullay
Herod the King
In his raging
Charged he hath this day
His men of might
In his own sight
All children young to slay
Then woe is me
Poor child for thee
And ever mourn and say
For thy parting
Nor say nor sing
By-by, lullay, lullay

-Robert Croo (1534)