O Holy Night


A reverent choral setting of the favorite solo carol.  Altos are favored with the melody in the first verse, with sopranos entering at the refrain on a beautiful upper harmony line.  Tenors and basses carry the melody in the second verse, as altos and sopranos enter along the way, adding their own canonic imitations of the melodic motives.  A newly composed interlude offers a both a surprise for the listener as well as a deeper experience of the text “truly he taught us to love one another.” The final chorus in four parts brings the piece to a radiant and fulsome close.

This score has optional musical accompaniment available (string quartet). To get these parts, contact skpublishinginfo@gmail.com

A licensed copy is required for each member performing.



This setting of O Holy Night was actually born out of need, for a very practical reason.  Church music directors face a perennial question in preparation for Christmas Eve services: “who gets to sing O Holy Night?”  One year, to avoid the troubles, I just decided to write a version the whole choir could sing.  And I took it one further: I gave the altos the opening verse, in as low a key as I could manage!

Of course, along the way, one gets “enrolled” in the process, and inspiration begins to supersede the practical motivations that launched the endeavor.  Many carols are simply depictions of some portion of the Nativity story, but O Holy Night‘s text gets into the deeper import of Christian purpose.  For this reason, it became more important for me that the piece NOT be a showpiece, with sudden fortissimo, melodramatic “fall on your knees!” moments like blinding light suddenly streaming through a darkened door.

Rather I wanted the piece to capture the earnest heart of the Christian vision, in which the proud are rightly humbled in their own spirits (and glad to be so), and the humble are lifted up.  (“Behold your king; before the Lowly bend” — my little text adaptation to drive the point home.)   I also wrote new music for the third verse, to heighten the impact of the traditional words (which I also modified slightly):

“Truly he taught us to love one another;
His law is love and is gospel is peace.
Chains shall he break, and all bonds burst asunder,
And in his name all oppression shall cease.”

Additional information


SATB piano (choral score)

Reviews (0)


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “O Holy Night”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart