What Sweeter Music

Program Notes:

Toronto composer Eleanor Daley has become one of Canada’s most celebrated and most often-performed composers in the international choral scene.

Conductor Notes:

SSA and piano. In the past decade, Eleanor Daley has swept to the top of the choral charts in Canada owing to her unfailing ability to write something that choral singers really want to sing and audiences really want to hear. For many years a professional accompanist for choirs, she brings her understanding of tone colour, tessitura, choral phrasing and piano writing into all of her works. Scored for 3-part treble choir and piano, What Sweeter Music is a Christmas piece that would work equally well for an accomplished children’s choir as for adult women. “What sweeter music can we bring than a carol for to sing the birth of this our heavenly King? Awake the voice, awake the string!” A moderate tempo keeps the piece moving along and the poem center stage. As well as being a successful piece in performance, What Sweeter Music is also a very healthy and rejuvenating singing experience for any choir.

November 2011 update: Elektra commissioned a new accompaniment for string quartet that replaces the piano accompaniment. This was done by Vancouver composer Cameron Wilson, and with the permission of both Eleanor and her publisher. We are not sure if this will be commercially available, but I suggest contacting Eleanor directly to find out.

Composer / Arranger Notes:

What Sweeter Music was commissioned in 2000 by the Bach Children’s Chorus, Scarborough , Ontario , Linda Beaupre, conductor, for that year’s Christmas Concert. The accompaniment was written so that either harp or piano might be used.


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





Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

What sweeter music can we bring
Than a carol for to sing
The birth of this our heavenly king?
Awake the voice! Awake the string!

Dark and dull night fly hence away,
And give the honour to this day,
That sees December turn to May,
If we may ask the reason say:

We see him come, and know him ours,
Who with this sunshine and these showers
Turns all the patient ground to flowers.

The darling of the world is come,
And fit it is we find a room to welcome him.
The nobler part of all the house here is the heart.

Which we will give him and bequeath
This holly and this ivy wreath,
To do him honour who’s our king,
And Lord of all this revelling.

What sweeter music can we bring
Than a carol for to sing
The birth of this, our heavenly king?
Awake the voice! Awake the string!
For this the birth of our heavenly king.