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Babe Is Born, A

(English Traditional)

This Christmas carol is from 15th Century England and said to be from the reign of King Henry VI.  It is also listed in variations as “A Babe is Born, All of a Maid” and “A Babe is Born Al of a May”.  It appeared in various publications from the mid-1800s and each verse ends in a Latin line.  These lines are the initial words of other church hymns, which was said to be a common practice among writers of carols of the time.  The composer William Mathias used the text of the carol for his “A Babe is Born for Chorus & Organ, Op. 53” and a further version has a choral arrangement by the composer, Gustav Holst, which appears in his Four Old English Carols.

Cleveland Orchestra & Chorus recordings
Musical Arts Association (promo CD)
Conductor – Robert Shaw