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Episode 6: Gauntlett's 'Once in Royal David’s City'

Stanzas 4 and 5 look forward to the sharing of Christ's glory with his children. As a small girl, Cecil Frances Humphries wrote poetry in her school's journal. In she married Rev. William Alexander, who later became the Anglican primate chief bishop of Ireland. She showed her concern for disadvantaged people by traveling many miles each day to visit the sick and the poor, providing food, warm clothes, and medical supplies. She and her sister also founded a school for the deaf.

Her first book of poetry, Verses for Seasons , was a "Christian Year" for children.

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She wrote hymns based on the Apostles' Creed, baptism, the Lord's Supper, the Ten Commandments, and prayer, writing in simple language for children. Her more than four hundred hymn texts were published in Verses from the Holy Scripture , Hymns for Little Children , and Hymns Descriptive and Devotional Liturgical Use: Christmas Eve or Christmas Day worship services, especially as a glorious processional; anytime during the church year in conjunction with worship services in which this part of the creed or eschatological themes st.

It is usually given in a correct form, and ranks as one of the most popular of Mrs. Alexander's hymns for children. William Alexander, and was then known as Mrs. Cecil F.

Once In Royal David's City - SATB — Jackman Music

Though she likely would have disapproved of any tampering with her texts, many hymnal editors have omitted stanzas or edited phrases throughout the hymn. The first two stanzas are always included. Again editors often alter the last two lines of the sixth stanza. The themes of the hymn divide the original six stanzas into three pairs. The first pair tells what happened — the Lord and King of all creation came down to live as a creature in a humble place.

The second pair describes one perspective on the silent years of Jesus' life, when He was a child before He began His earthly ministry.


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This theme was especially appropriate to the original audience for this hymn — children — but since it is now used more generally, and since perspectives on children have changed, this theme is often subdued in modern hymnals. The third pair looks forward to Jesus' Second Coming, and the contrast it will present to the humble scene in stanzas 1 and 2. IRBY was composed for this text in by Henry Gauntlett and was first published in an pamphlet in London with keyboard accompaniment. The tune name comes from a village in Lincolnshire, England. Gauntlett created a four-part setting for the Appendix of Hymns Ancient and Modern.

Arthur Mann composed a four-part setting for the tune while he was organist at King's College, Cambridge.

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Since , this hymn has been used as the processional in the annual service of Lessons and Carols that is held at King's College on Christmas Eve, so Mann's setting is the one in common use. This hymn is suitable for Christmas, or for a service where the Apostles' Creed is a theme. The setting of IRBY begins with a subdued statement of the melody with a simple countermelody, then grows to a full, rippling statement, but ends quietly, as it began.

It also makes an excellent choral selection. Because of the wide popularity of the King's College Christmas Eve service, it is common to imitate that choir's procedure, which is to have a soprano solo sing the first stanza a capella, and the full choir sing the second, both from the rear of the church, and then have the congregation join the singing as the procession begins.

Even in the final stanza, a forte dynamic is not indicated until the final phrase. While this setting begins in tradition, it follows a non-traditional path of remaining hushed, though rich. Other wonderful settings begin with the congregation or the men of the choir. A separate copy of this score must be purchased for each choir member. If this score will be projected or included in a bulletin, usage must be reported to a licensing agent e. Skip to main content.

Home Page. Once in Royal David's City. Organ Music for the Seas…. Choral Once in Royal David's City. Representative Text 1 Once in royal David's city stood a lowly cattle shed, where a mother laid her baby in a manger for his bed: Mary was that mother mild, Jesus Christ, her little child. Source: Trinity Psalter Hymnal The Herald Angels Sing.

Job Isaiah Daniel Micah Matthew Mark Luke Luke 2.

Carols from King's 2016 - #1 "Once in Royal David's City" - The Choir of King's College, Cambridge

John Acts Any play set at Christmas time automatically conjures an atmosphere of joy, fun, merriment, hope and a little family chaos. But when tragedy strikes, it seems to make that time of year all the more emotionally charged — especially since the annual tradition will act as a reminder of missing family members or loved ones, making Christmas never quite the same again. There is so much packed into this unassumingly staged play — a nod to Brecht and Epic Theatre, there are no bells and whistles except for dream-like sequences with smoke machines, starry lights, and shadow puppets projected onto curtains, lit by Matt Scott.

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The open, sparsely designed set Stephen Curtis , was transformed by the simple words of the narrator, with a few set pieces such as a chair or a hospital bed, and curtains to delineate between holiday house, airport, and hospital, leaving our imagination to create our own spaces. It has a play-within-a-play feel to it including a scene from The Importance of Being Earnest , with various cast members breaking the fourth wall to narrate to the audience, while other cast members or stage crew walk past the actor in focus, handing them a prop ready for the next scene.


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  • The random Christmas dance sequences choreographed by Nerida Matthaei , were especially enjoyable, and helped to inject some light-heartedness into an otherwise heavy themed play. Not that I think it can actually ever be entirely processed. We have to go on but we also have to own that grief and he does so in this funny, clever and moving play about, well, real life.

    There are a lot of references to Brecht in this play. So he organises a Christmas holiday by the beach the Christmas theme is pervasive with his mum, not knowing she is ill too. This is all emotionally confronting but it is also warm and witty and Gow manages to be funny, often blackly funny, while facing the big existential problems. This is his directorial debut with the company and as artistic director I guess he got to choose the best.