St. James Music Press

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James Kirkby Huron Carol

Categories
Anthems
Instrument(s)
Keyboard [organ/piano]
Voicing
SATB
Original Publication
Carols for Choirs
Difficulty
Moderately Easy
Suggested Uses(s)
Description

SATB Choir and Organ. A delicious setting of the oldest carol in the Americas. The Huron Carol (or "Twas in the Moon of Wintertime") is a Canadian Christmas Hymn (Canada's oldest Christmas song), written probably in 1642 by Jean de Brébeuf, a Jesuit missionary. Brébeuf wrote the lyrics in the native language of the Huron/Wendat pople. The song's melody is based on a traditional French Folk song. The English version of the hymn uses imagery familiar in the early 20th century, in place of the traditional Nativity story. This version is derived from Brébeuf's original song and Huron religious concepts. In the English version, Jesus is born in a "lodge of broken bark", and wrapped in a "robe of rabbit skin". He is surrounded by hunters instead of shepherds and the Magi are portrayed as "chiefs from afar" that bring him "fox and beaver pelts" instead of the more familiar gifts. The hymn also uses a traditional Algonquin name, Gitchi Manitou, for God. C'mon now — how can you NOT sing a Christmas carol that has Gitchi Manitou in it?

'Twas in the moon of winter-time
When all the birds had fled,
That mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim,
And wandering hunters heard the hymn:
"Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria."

Within a lodge of broken bark
The tender Babe was found,
A ragged robe of rabbit skin
Enwrapp'd His beauty round;
But as the hunter braves drew nigh,
The angel song rang loud and high:
"Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria."

The earliest moon of wintertime
Is not so round and fair
As was the ring of glory
On the helpless infant there.
The chiefs from far before him knelt
With gifts of fox and beaver pelt:
"Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria."

O children of the forest free,
the angel song is true,
The Holy Child of earth and heaven
Is born today for you.
Come kneel before the radiant Boy
Who brings you beauty, peace and joy:
"Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria."

Contact

Mark Schweizer
P.O. Box 249
Tryon, North Carolina 28782
Phone 828.859.0323
Toll Free 877.822.0304

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