Mary's Lullaby was first performed by the King College Collegium Musicum in Bristol, Tennessee for it's 2010 Christmas concert, conducted by the composer. Scored for Soprano and Alto soloists and SATB chorus, a capella, it remained unperformed for almost a decade before being revisited in 2017. On Christmas Eve of that year, Mary's Lullaby was further edited, rearranged, and debuted at the Episcopal Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Marietta, GA. This version was arranged for soloists, SATB chorus, and organ.
The piece opens with a solo by an alto voice, who plays the role of Mary on the first night of Christ's life. The choir, which plays the role of the host of heaven, echoes her lullaby. After a verse by Mary, the soprano voice, playing the role of Gabriel, sings a descant over the choir, which then breaks out into the song of the angels “Glory be to God.” The piece shifts into a minor key, and the men launch into a counter-melody, foreshadowing the harsh life and death that this child is destined to experience. Finally, the host of heaven, along with Mary and Gabriel, return triumphantly to the main theme, reminding us that, for now, we celebrate this holy birth. As the baby slowly falls to sleep, the piece winds down to a soft whisper.
Mary's Lullaby is available in both the simplified SATB with organ version, as well as the original SATB divisi. Though the original version is preferred to be performed a capella, the organ arrangement is available and may be used. The simplified SATB version must be performed with organ.
I first wrote this piece as an undergraduate student. To this day, I don't know how I was able to write something this robust with such little experience. It is a special anthem that is near and dear to my heart. And I proudly publish it eight years later for anyone else who might be interested in sharing it with their choirs and congregations for the Christmas season.
Thank you, and blessings on your music-making,
Andrew Cumbow, Composer