Balulalow (Wilfred Heaton, adapted Paul Hindmarsh)


Christmas Song
for unaccompanied mixed voices
Words by Wedderburn, after Martin Luther
Music by Wilfred Heaton
Second setting adapted from Berceuse Elegiaque by Paul Hindmarsh

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Berceuse Elegiaque was composed in the late 1980s by the Yorkshire composer Wilfred Heaton (1918-2000) as a clarinet study for his grand-daughter Emma Stobart. He dedicated this poignant miniature to the memory of her sister Charlotte. It was intended to be the theme for a set of variations, of which only the opening bars of each were sketched. Wilfred Heaton is remembered primarily as a composer of brass band music, his most popular works being composed for The Salvation Army from his teenage years to his mid-30s. Heaton also composed a number of vocal and instrumental pieces, most of which have strong personal associations, composed for friends or for The Salvation Army church (Sheffield Park) in which he was brought up and worshipped until the 1950s.  Berceuse Elegiaque was one of his last works and was conceived as an exercise in smooth legato phrasing. It is therefore beautifully shaped for singing. In 2005, a version was published with a contemporary text penned by Kenneth Tout as a tribute to a much admired composer and friend. This second traditional setting is now being made available, using three verses of Balulalow (Cradle Song) published in 1567 by Scottish poet brothers James, John and Robert Wedderburn. It is a translation of Martin Luther’s Christmas Eve carol Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her, (1535) and concludes with the much loved verse O my dear heart.




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