At Bethlehem Proper


At Bethlehem Proper


for tenors, basses and cello (1996)

from the choral cycle Silent Night

  • Premiere: 20 April 1997  / Cathedral Church of St. Matthew the Apostle, Washington, DC  / Robert LaRue, cello / American Repertory Singers / Leo Nestor
  • Instrumentation: T.B.vlc
  • Duration: 8.5'
  • Text: Traditional
  • Dedication: "Commissioned by EC Schirmer; to Robert La Rue"
  • All orders are digital downloads. EC Schirmer publishes this work. To order paper scores, visit our partner distributor, Theodore Front.

Program Note

Click on the album cover to buy the premiere recording on Arsis.

Click on the album cover to buy the premiere recording on Arsis.

Part of the choral suite Silent Night commissioned by Robert Schuneman and ECS Publishing in Boston. The text is a traditional English one. The music is based on three tunes, one by Davies Gilbert in 1822, another by Cecil Sharp in 1911, and the third an orignal tune by Daron Hagen.

The aesthetic goal was to create reinterpretations of familiar carols that, as Brian Eno described ambient music, "accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular" — that is, music that is "as ignorable as it is interesting."

The "reinterpretations" were made during December of 1996 at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and premiered, in recording sessions at the Cathedral Church of St. Matthew the Apostle, Washington, DC on 20 April 1997 by the American Repertory Singers, conducted by Music Director Leo Nestor, Robert LaRue, cellist.

I hope that the contemplative and intimate musical space created by these carols in performance together fulfills the function of helping each of us to reconnect at this important time of year with the reason they were created and sung in the first place.

— Daron Hagen, 1997