In dulci jubilo (movement 2 of "Carol Trilogy")

Program Notes:

In her arrangement of this traditional German carol, Canadian composer Laura Hawley imagined the dazzling scene of many angels all singing together and the dizzying feeling of being drawn into their song and dance.

Conductor Notes:

This is the second movement of Carol Trilogy written by Laura Hawley and commissioned by Elektra Women’s Choir in 2017 as part of Elektra’s Celebrating Women Composers project.

Suitable for an advanced children’s choir, high school or adults.

SSAA (divisi only on one chord) with piano. A virtuosic piano part flutters in the right hand like angels while arpeggios and grand chords anchor the piece in the left. The choral parts overlap frequently with fragments of the melody. The key sits well (on the high side for altos in places), suited to the thrilling speed and energy of the arrangement. A bouyant and enjoyable sing with satisfying lines. The main challenge is rhythmic unity as 6/8 and 3/4 are jockeying for attention simultaneously throughout the arrangement.

Composer / Arranger Notes:

This carol has captured my imagination since first learning the story of how it came to be. According to folklore, the German mystic Heinrich Seuse penned it after having been led by the hand of an angel into a whole host of heavenly beings, who sang this carol as they drew him into a heavenly dance of worship with them. This setting of In dulci jubilo therefore begins with the sound of angel wings, with the piano then introducing the tune first and the altos responding in harmony. In the introductory section, I imagined the dazzling scene of many angels all singing together and the dizzying feeling of being drawn into their song and dance, creating a sense of bright jubilation that carries through the whole setting of this joyfully energetic carol in different ways. Just as the piece begins with angels, the fluttering wings return at the end as the dazzling mystical experience unwinds and vanishes with wings fluttering off into the night.


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




The text is macaronic, meaning incorporating two languages, in this case, German and Latin.

In dulci jubilo, nun singet und seid froh!
Unsers Herzens Wonne leit in praesepio,
Und leuchtet als die Sonne matris in gremio
Alpha es et O!

O Jesu parvule, Nach dir ist mir so weh.
Tröst mir mein Gemüte, O Puer optime;
Durch alle deine Güte, O Princeps Gloriae,
Trahe me post te!

O Patris caritas! O Nati lenitas!
Wir wärn all’ verloren Per nostra criminal;
So hat er uns erworben Coelorum gaudia;
Eia, warn wir da!

Ubi sunt gaudia? Nirgends mehr denn da,
Da die Engel singen Nova cantica,
Und die Schellen klingen In Regis curia;
Eia, warn wir da!

vv. 1, 2, 4 fourteenth-century
=v. 3 Valentin Triller (d. 1573) (Praetorius, 1607)

An English translation reads:

With sweet jubilation, Let songs and gladness flow!
All our joy reclineth in a manger
And like the sun he shineth in [your] mother’s lap
You are Alpha and Omega!

O infant Jesus, I yearn for thee always!
Comfort me and stay me, O best of boys
By thy great love I pray thee, O Prince of Glory,
Draw me after you [to heaven]!

O love of the Father! O mercy of the son!
Condemned we had remained Through our sins
But he for us hath gained The joys of heaven
In paradise afar,
Where joys unending are.

Where are joys

More deep than heaven’s are?

In heaven are angels singing New songs
In heaven the bells are ringing

In the courts of the King
O that we were there!

Translation from source editors
Source: “The shorter New Oxford Book of Carols” ed. Keyte, Parrott, & Bartlett