Villanelle de Noël

Music: Michael Buck. Words: Tom Scott (1918-1995)
performance time approx 2m 00s
Range S: c' – c'' / A: g – f' / T: e – c' / B: c – a♭ (or one tone higher in G minor)
Price code: B
Complexity: **

See a perusal copy of the music.
Hear a performance
Tom Scott regarded poetry as 'verse that sings' and this poem, a fable of how the robin got the blood of Christ on its breast as it tried to help Christ on the cross, makes a beautiful – and unusual – Christmas song.

Consider varying the voicing between verses, switching between groups of soli and tutti sections, for example.

We provide a PDF file that includes scores in both the original key of F minor and in G minor, so that you can print whichever will best suit your group.

The recording is by Rudsambee Company of Singers.

Pronunciation guide included


The Robin owre aa birds is blest [aa - all]
At this time of the year, Nowel:
The bluid o Christ is on his breist. [bluid - blood; breist - breast]

Frae Sicily til Hammerfest [from Sicily to Hammerfest - i.e. far and wide]
The bairns relate the sely tale, [bairns - children; sely - holy]
That the Robin owre aa birds is blest. [owre - over]

For on Calvarie he tried to wrest
Frae Yeshu's palm the cruel nail: [Yeshu - Jesus]
The bluid o Christ is on his breist.

Sensyne he's been Yuill's dearest guest, [sensyne - since then]
Nae ither sae welcome as himsel: [ither - other; sae - so]
The Robin owre aa birds is blest.

He wears the Yuilltide like a vest,
And his sang's the peal o a ferlie bell: [ferlie - wondrous]
The bluid o Christ is on his breist.

Nae starred and medalled hero's chest [nae - no]
Can eer wi greater merit swell: [eer - ever; wi - with]

The Robin owre aa birds is blest.
The bluid o Christ is on his breist.

Tom Scott

Words © Chapman Publications and used with permission.

Purchase – 4010: Villanelle de Noël

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Edinburgh EH10 5HB, Scotland
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