1. “Here ‘Mid the Ass and Oxen Mild” (traditional French carol); and 2. “Wither’s Rocking Hymn” (traditional 17th century hymn.
“Here ‘Mid the Ass and Oxen Mild” opens as a solo stating this gentle melody set beautifully in D minor. Women enter at measure 9 with a repeat of this same stanza’s text. Men enter at measure 10, briefly in canon with the soprano, maintaining a pedal introduced by the altos. Voices gradually divide into a more clearly defined vertical relationship leading to the quiet closing statement, “Love.”
“Wither’s Rocking Hymn” is a solo accompanied by choir. The four-part “oo” creates a blanket of harmonic color on which the soloist “rocks” and comforts the crying child. Through-composed, this requires experienced singers to sustain the tonality. The rhythms of both selections are easy to follow and the ranges are well within the means of most four-part choirs.
PERFORMANCE OPTIONS include doubling the choral parts at the keyboard for vocal security with less-experienced singers. These anthems may be sung independently on separate Sundays, or together as a unit since each is brief.
APPROPRIATE DAYS: Christmas Eve, or Sundays in Christmastide.
AGE APPROPRIATENESS: Adults
VOCAL DIFFICULTY: Difficult