Christ was Born on Christmas Day

Siblings will love practicing and performing this joyous mixed-level duet for the holidays!

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John Mason Neale, the distinguished English clergyman and author, was born January 24, 1818 in London, England. He is best known as a hymnwriter and, translator, having enriched English hymnody with many ancient and medieval hymns translated from Latin and Greek. More than anyone else, he made English-speaking congregations aware of the centuries-old tradition of Latin, Greek, Russian, and Syrian hymns. The 1875 edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern contains 58 of his translated hymns.

In particular, he is remembered for his contributions to the Christmas repertoire, including Good King Winceslas; Good Christian Men, Rejoice!; O Come, O Come, Immanuel; and Christ was Born on Christmas Day.

Christ was Born on Christmas Day is a loose paraphrase and translation of the 14th century German chant Resonet in laudibus.

Resonet in laudibus, translated into English as Let the voice of praise resound, is a 14th-century carol which was widely known in medieval Europe, and is still performed today. Although probably earlier, in manuscript form it first appears in the Moosburg Gradual of 1360 and occurs in several 15th, 16th and 17th century printed collections from both Catholic and Lutheran traditions.

This mixed level arrangement is great for families with young performers. The Primo part is written at the primer level with a fixed hand position with the thumbs on C and D, and has a clean primer level engraving without rests cluttering the score. Adventurous primer level players are encouraged to play the additional cued notes to make the piece sound even fuller. The Secondo part is written at the elementary level, with the left hand in C position and the right hand in G position, with one crossover and accidental.  

Engraved in “facing pages” format as well as “combined score” format for maximum flexibility.

Key: C major

Mood: celebrating, joyous

Pedagogy: 3/4 time, mixed hand positions, repeats, ensemble playing


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