Tyrley, Tyrlow

  • Composer: Mark Sirett 
  • Publisher: Hinshaw Music Inc
  • Cat No: HI.HMC1754
  • Canadian Work: Yes
  • Duration: 3:25
  • Sample Track:

Program Notes:

Canadian composer Mark Sirett wrote this lyrical and original composition in 1998 for the 20th Anniversary of the Toronto Children’s Chorus. The 15th-century poem is set on a hilltop where angels announced to the shepherds the arrival of the Christ Child.

Conductor Notes:

This beautiful new Christmas piece is based on a quirky scale that leads to many augmented chords at cadences, something which on first reading is a bit disconcerting for the singers. But familiarity breeds fondness in this case, and by the time we got to the performances, we were drinking in the lyrical style and mood and couldn’t wait to share it with our audiences. The voicing is SSA with piano and flute or recorder. We used flute in our 2010 Chez Nous performances and have recorded the piece for future release. Those of us who are familiar with Healey Willan’s composition on the same text will be expecting something fast and fleeting. This work is quite slow, lending a different, evocative mood to the poem. Mark understands voicing and tessitura thoroughly, so you will find this piece sits well in the voices and the text speaks clearly through the texture of piano and flute.


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





Text: 15th century English

About the field they piped full right,
so merrily the shepherds began to blow;
a-down from heaven they saw a light:
Tyrley, tyrlow, tyrley, tyrlow.

Of angels there came a company,
with merry songs and melody;
the shepherds anon ‘gan them a-spy:
Tyrley, tyrlow, tyrley, tyrlow.

The shepherds hied them to Bethlehem,
to see the blessed sunes beam,
and there they found that glorious stream:

Now pray we to that meek child,
and to his mother that is so mild,
the which was never defiled:
Tyrley, tyrlow, tyrley, tyrlow.

That we may come unto his bliss,
where joy shall never miss,
then we may sing in paradise:
Tyrley, tyrlow, tyrley, tyrlow.