work details

Hear the Song Begin

a Yuletide song

  • Instrumentation: for soprano and organ
  • Completed: October 2020
  • Duration: 6 minutes
  • Texts: On the poem "Christmas Carol" by Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)
  • Commission and Dedication:

    Commissioned by Emmanuel Episcopal Church (Baltimore, Maryland)
    and dedicated to Christian Lane, Interim Director of Music.

    For Christian Lane and Jolle Greenleaf

  • Composer's Note:

    Christian Lane has been performing with soprano Jolle Greenleaf since his days at St. Thomas Church in New York City, and I remember hearing of their concerts when I first met Chris at the Yale School of Music fifteen years ago. Chris is a dynamic artist, and his performances exhibit poise, grace, and flair in equal measure, so it was a thrill to receive this commission to write for him and for Jolle.

    Hear the Song Begin is a Yuletide song for soprano and organ, which sets Sara Teasdale’s “Christmas Carol.” The poet introduces the kings, the shepherds, the wise men, and the angels, all coming to offer their welcome to the newborn baby. In light of this, I’ve written a regular ostinato figure in the manuals of the organ, always moving forward, always walking, until the end when all of the travelers are present at the manger. At this moment, the walking music pauses, and we observe the baby Jesus, fast asleep.

    I dedicate this work fondly to Chris and to Jolle.

    Dominick DiOrio, October 2020

  • Text:

    "Christmas Carol"
    by Sara Teasdale

    The kings they came from out the south,
    All dressed in ermine fine;
    They bore Him gold and chrysoprase,
    And gifts of precious wine.

    The shepherds came from out the north,
    Their coats were brown and old;
    They brought Him little new-born lambs--
    They had not any gold.

    The wise men came from out the east,
    And they were wrapped in white;
    The star that led them all the way
    Did glorify the night.

    The angels came from heaven high,
    And they were clad with wings;
    And lo, they brought a joyful song
    The host of heaven sings.

    The kings they knocked upon the door,
    The wise men entered in,
    The shepherds followed after them
    To hear the song begin.

    The angels sang through all the night
    Until the rising sun,
    But little Jesus fell asleep
    Before the song was done.

  • Premiere:
    • To be determined, December 2020