The Mouldy Cheese Madrigal

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Instrumental Only?

A Christmas Ballett
from The Alto Wore Tweed by Mark Schweizer

One of the few pieces in the literature to attempt to rhyme "Jesus" with "cheeses."

We view the shepherds, abiding in the fields and keeping watch over their flocks by night, as those plain and simple folk who were the first visited by the angels. The Ballett (Fa-la), an English form of the Renaissance madrigal, also evokes those same pastoral images. These humble shepherds were the first to bring mouldy cheeses to the manger. Danger: This one has been sung in church!


See the dawn is breaking,
Sleeping shepherds waking.
Fa la la la.
Unto us is given
God's own son from Heaven.
Fa la la la.

And is it very far
To Bethlehem's yonder star?
Cold and afraid we may be
As we go to see the baby.
The maiden calls us near him
And there with the beasts revere him.
Fa la la la.
What offering can we bring
To give the little king?
A coat of fur to warm him
And a little lamb to charm him
Some milk and mouldy cheeses
We give to the holy Jesus.
Fa la la la.