Darkest Midnight in December, The

Program Notes:

Toronto-based composer Kelly-Marie Murphy wrote this work for the Toronto Children’s Chorus and their Artistic Director Jean Ashworth Bartle in 2005. The text was written by Fr. William Devereux in 1728. Alleluias punctuate the story like light in the darkness, first hesitant and then gloriously triumphant.

Conductor Notes:

SSA(div) and harp. The Toronto Children’s Chorus commissioned this work from Canadian composer Murphy and it is a challenging work even for adult choirs. The text uses just three verses from a much longer poem by Fr. William Devereaux (1728). The piece has a sombre, evocative quality, punctuated by flexible, lighter “Alleluia” refrains. The harp part demands a true virtuoso, and you will find that the indicated tempo of 40 through most of the piece is dictated by the harpist need to fit in lots of 32nd notes. Murphy understands choral line and word stress well, and the piece is successful. I worked hard on “storytelling” tone and diction on the verses and keeping a sense of momentum going.


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




The darkest midnight in December,

No snow, no hail, nor winter storm,

Shall hinder us for to remember,

The Babe that on this night was born.

Four thousand years from the Creation

The world lay groaning under sin;

No one could ever expect salvation:

No one could ever enter heaven.

‘Twas but pure love that from above

Brought Him to save us from all harms

So let us sing and welcome Him,

The God of Love in Mary’s arms.