What Child Is This?

from by Brian Blume

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about

"What Child Is This" was written by English poet and lay theologian William Chatterton Dix as a poem entitled "The Manger Throne." It was first used as a hymn text in Sir John Stainer's Christmas Carols New and Old, 1871. It's well-known tune, Greensleeves, is a traditional English ballad dating back to the 1580s.

While some versions of Greensleeves include a minor 6th (in this case E-flat) for the melody, I prefer the major scale degree 6 (E-natural), as I believe it gives the tune a more traditional character.

lyrics

What child is this, who, laid to rest,
On Mary’s lap is sleeping,
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping?

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The babe, the son of Mary!

Why lies He in such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear: for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.

Nails, spear shall pierce him through,
The Cross be borne for me, for you;
Hail, hail the Word Made Flesh,
The babe, the son of Mary!

So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh;
Come, peasant, king, to own Him!
The King of Kings salvation brings;
Let loving hearts enthrone Him!

Raise, raise the song on high!
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy! joy! for Christ is born,
The babe, the son of Mary!

credits

from Let It Snow, released November 19, 2012
Words by William Chatterson Dix
Music: 16th c. traditional

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about

Brian Blume Lakeland, Florida

Composer, percussionist, and educator, Brian currently serves as Assistant Professor of Percussion at Southeastern University (Lakeland, FL). As a composer, Brian has works published by Tapspace, drop6, and PercMaster. Brian earned MM and BM degrees in performance from Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music. ... more

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