Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

Program Notes:

Few Christmas carols have the history and pedigree of this lustrous text and melody, popularized in English in the last century by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Today we sing an evocative new arrangement by Doug Claybrook.

Conductor Notes:

This publication from Walton includes two complete arrangements of the work: one for SSA a cappella, which the arranger says works well for a processional, and one for SSAA a cappella, which we chose. It builds from a solo soprano line to a duet in the second phrase, then brings in the whole choir. The melody moves from voice to voice in the various verses. The A2 line is quite low. This is a good arrangement of a timeless melody.


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





Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly-minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth
Our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.

At His feet the six-winged seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia,
Alleluia, Lord Most High!