O Little Town of Bethlehem

  • Composer: Lewis Redner 
  • Arranger: Susan Edwards 
  • Publisher: manuscript - contact Elektra to be connected to the arranger
  • Canadian Composition: Yes
  • Duration: 5:20

Program Notes:

The calm serenity of Bethlehem on Christmas night is reflected in this well-loved carol.

Conductor Notes:

This arrangement by Vancouver musician Susan Edwards was written to close our 2019 Chez Nous concert. I wanted something tranquil and well-known for Elektra, our guest children’s choir, and our instrumentalists on violin, cello, and piano. Edwards weaves the Austrian carol, “Still, Still, Still” into the introduction and throughout the arrangement. The children’s choir is given its own, distinct lines, for which there is a separate score to condense the number of pages. A series of bell-like “Alleluia”s are in the children’s part, but I assigned them to a small group of Elektra singers due to limited rehearsal time. It should work either way.

References:

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

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Text (1868) by Phillips Brooks

O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light.
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary
And, gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wond’ring love.
O morning stars, together
Proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King,
And peace to all on earth!

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of his heav’n.
No ear may hear his coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him, still
The dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in,
Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Immanuel!