A Cradle Song

Oxford University Press 
Catalog # 0-19-386829-6

SA/harp or piano

Sacred text in English by William Blake
Duration: 4 minutes
Difficulty rating (1-5): 2

Premiered December 6, 2003 Downers Grove, IL by Vox Caelestis Women’s Chorus, directed by Paul Carey

listen to A Cradle Song

Performed by The Michigan State University Children’s Choir, directed by Mary Alice Stollak.

The fact that this is a sacred text is only fully apparent by reading all the way through, at which point you realize that the poem is referring to the baby Jesus. The style of the piece is lush and romantic and really reminds one of some of Andrew Carter’s works. It seems everyone loves this piece -- it is already receiving a lot of performances, including an ACDA division convention performance and as an All-Sate selection. It has also already appeared on two CDs.

The piece is quite appropriately dedicated to my fourth child, a sweet little angel named Aidan Matthew Carey born to Sherri and me as a “gift from God” (that’s the meaning of Matthew) on October 7, 2003.


What others say:
from the Spectrum Music Choral Music Newsletter - New Releases
A Cradle Song, by Paul Carey, English text, Oxford, 386829-6, SA & piano or harp. This provocative carol is brilliantly crafted. Beautiful melodies and fine text painting on a famous poem by William Blake make this piece great for building brilliant head tone in treble voices. Changing keys and meter signatures are handled with strong understanding of rules of composition, yet sound spontaneous in gesture. This is a real winner for the young choir that enjoys beautiful melodies on simple partwriting. It will be particularly effective when a harpist is available.

MSU Children's Choir holiday CD featuring "I Saw Three Ships" and "Cradle Song" -- awesome performances! Kudos to their Grammy winning director, Mary Alice Stollak!




Sweet dreams, form a shade
O'er my lovely infant's head;
Sweet dreams of pleasant streams
By happy, silent, moony beams.
Sweet sleep, with soft down
Weave thy brows an infant crown.
Sweet sleep, Angel mild,
Hover o'er my happy child.
Sweet smiles, in the night
Hover over my delight;
Sweet smiles, Mother's smiles,
All the livelong night beguiles.
Sweet moans, dovelike sighs,
Chase not slumber from thy eyes.
Sweet moans, sweeter smiles, smiles, 
All the dovelike moans beguiles.
Sleep, sleep, happy child,
All creation slept and smil'd;
Sleep, sleep, happy sleep,
While o'er thy mother weep.
Sweet babe, in thy face
Holy image I can trace.
Sweet babe, babe, once like thee,
Thy Maker lay and wept for me.
Wept for me, for thee, for all,
When he was an infant small.
Thou his image ever see,
Heavenly face that smiles on thee.
Smiles on thee, on me on all;
Who became an infant small.
Infant smiles are his own smiles;
Heav'n and earth to peace be-guiles.



Click to See pdf Score
        (partial score)

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