Sussex Carol (George Butterworth)

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  • NewScore.gif  (Posted 2019-12-08)   CPDL #56215:  Network.png
Editor: Christopher Shaw (submitted 2019-12-08).   Score information: A4, 4 pages, 80 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Includes a keyboard reduction of the a cappella choral score. Please click on the link for preview/playback/PDF download.

General Information

Title: Sussex Carol
Composer: Anonymous (Traditional)
Arranger: George Butterworth

Lyricist: Luke Wadding (adapted)create page

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SacredCarol

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1912

Description: In the evolution of this carol, the fittest survivor is the version from Vaughan Williams, collected in 1904 at Monk's Gate near Horsham, Sussex (informant Mrs Verrall). Butterworth collected, and published, his version independently in 1912 from an unknown Sussex location. His informant is also unknown, and seems not to have been Mrs Verrall (although he did interview her on occasion). Essentially an evolutionary cul de sac, this variant is worth noting for the rarer set of words, and for the elaborate (?Butterworth's own) coda.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

On Christmas night all Christians sing,
To hear what news the angels bring;
News of great joy and news of mirth,
News of our merciful Saviour's birth.

For why should men on earth be sad;
Redeemer comes to make us glad.
Prisoners all in their chains rejoice
To hear the echo of His voice.

The King of kings, of earth and heaven,
The King of angels and of men.
Angels and men with joy may sing
Glory to our new-born King.