This piece is based around the ‘Coventry Carol’, a Christmas carol dating from the 16th century. The carol was performed in Coventry in England as part of a mystery play called The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors. The play depicts the Christmas story from chapter two in the Gospel of Matthew. The carol refers to the Massacre of the Innocents, in which Herod ordered all male infants under the age of two in Bethlehem to be killed. The lyrics of this haunting carol represent a mother’s lament for her doomed child. It is the only carol that has survived from this play.
The piece begins in heraldic fashion before making way for a more modern upbeat approach complete with a driving percussion and bass line.
The finale then comprises another 2 Christmas Carols, In Dulce Jubilo & Once In Royal played simultaneously and finishes in rousing fashion.