A Starlit Night It Was In Bethlehem
A Four-Verse Christmas Carol
for SATB, Treble Solo, and SAB Voices, with Organ 
(8 pages of music)

Text, Music and Setting by Ennis Fruhauf


        A Starlit Night It Was In Bethlehem  is a hymn-based verse anthem on an original text and tune, composed in the tradition of an English Christmas carol. Each of the four verses is presented in a contrasting manner, with  transitional interludes provided by the organ accompaniment.

        The first verse is set in four-voice harmony by choir and organ; the introspective words portray Mary beside the cradle of her newborn child, filled with wonder, awe and fear. In the second verse, an alto solo depicts mother and child in their starlit tableau. The third verse is sung a capella by SAB voices; here the
creche scene is viewed from a wider perspective, with angels ranged as guardians around the crib. The fourth and final verse provides a notably bimodal free harmonization of the hymn tune: the melody is sung by unison voices, with a soprano descant soaring above.  The text is celebratory and prophetic of the joys of the Christmas feast and birth of a new era. A brief but uplifting “Hallelujah” rings out the anthem.

 A Starlit Night is a festive work that makes technical demands on the performing ensemble: in addition to an a cappella verse, the concluding free harmonization assigns the hymn tune's melodic line to unison voices without accompanimental support.

   To download a complimentary PDF booklet file, please click on the creche illustration below.
The featured black-and-white silhouette image is courtesy of; it is licensed as being available for adaptation and reuse without restriction. The original file has been adapted for display below and in the PDF booklet.