December 13th, 2008

Christmas, Advent

Advent 2008: This Little Babe

One of my favorite writers of Christmas poetry is St. Robert Southwell, a Jesuit priest who was hanged, drawn and quartered in 1595 on charges of treason, and canonized as a Catholic martyr in 1970. Although Southwell was popular in his day -- Ben Jonson said he would have forfeited many of his own poems to have written "The Burning Babe" -- he's not particularly well known today, despite having written the text of a very familiar Christmas song, "This Little Babe" from Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols. This is not my favorite choral work based on a Southwell poem -- that would be Richard Wayne Dirksen's setting of "A Child My Choice" -- but I don't have a recording of that. This one is nothing to sneeze at, though.

David Willcocks/Choir of King's College - This Little Babe (MP3, 2.7MB)

Previous Advent posts:

2003: A Hymn of the Nativity
2004: Madonna and Child on a Curved Throne
2005: A merry Christmas
2006: Joseph
2007: Madonna and Child