The Coventry Carol

“The Coventry Carol” is an English Christmas carol dating from the 16th century that was traditionally performed in Coventry, England, as part of the mystery play, The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors. The play depicts the events recounted in the second chapter of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, and the carol refers specifically to the Massacre of the Innocents, in which the Judean king, Herod, told by the Magi (Wise Men) of a newly born King of the Jews, orders all male infants under two years of age in Bethlehem to be killed. The narrative takes the form of a lullaby sung by mothers of the doomed children.

In this arrangement for horn and piano, a short, original introduction evokes the “weeping and loud lamentation” of the mothers, then transitions to the tune, which is presented in three verses.

Piano score, solo F horn part — $5.99