Paul Johnson. Sacred Choral Music and Solo Songs
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The Prioress in Spring


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Christmas Carols
The text for the first of the Christmas carols Born that Night is also by Paul Johnson and was originally written to fit the traditional Austrian setting of Heidenroslein as sung by the Vienna Boys Choir. It is published by Decani Music (Tel: 08142 819830).
Balulalow was written for the annual Carol Party given by the composerʼs brother, Alan. Among the singers was the future literary editor of the Faber Catholic Hymnal, which is how it came to be included in that book. Later it appeared in Volume Two of the Novello Book of Carols, whose editor William Llewellyn suggested that it was too short. Acting on this comment, the Wedderburn Brothersʼ two verses now have a Johnson middle verse, and a tenor solo in canon with the choir.
Thirdly, Robert Southwellʼs Behold a Silly Tender Babe has the textual substitution of simple for silly. Today the latter just means ʻdaftʼ, whereas the poetʼs Elizabethan contemporaries would have been aware of its Old English meaning, ʻholyʼ (from the German selig)