For four male soloists (TTBB), piano or string quartet, flute and offstage SATB chorus, this little gem is comparable to Vaughan Williams at his best. A gentle pastorale that can be staged simply and effectively, combining comedy and a heartfelt message as the four shepherds decide what gifts each will take to the manger. Only eight minutes long, this can work beautifully as a part of any number of Christmas services.
Synopsis: Three of the shepherds are returning from Bethlem and encounter a fourth who questions them about what they saw. As they tell their story and try in vain to mimic the angel’s song they heard on the hillside, once again the heavenly chorus breaks into song. The fourth shepherd is determined to take his gift to the child as well, but as he departs, he is told by the departing trio; “Take whatever gift you will, but he has no need of it. You must give him the gift he desires most. You must give him your heart.”
The String Quartet and Flute score is in the EXTRAS (ZIP) File.