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On an Olde English Carol

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Randall Standridge

Traditional English carol, set by Randall Standridge

General Info

Year: 2021
Duration: c. 4:20
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Carol
Publisher: Randall Standridge Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $65.00; (digital) - $65.00   |   Score Only (print) - $12.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Oboe (optional Flute II)
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F
Trombone I-II
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Finger Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tom-Toms
  • Vibraphone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The Coventry Carol is one of those rare Christmas carols that is not full of light and hope. It is a dark lullaby, mourning the loss of the children who were put to death as King Herod attempted to find and kill the prophesied King of Israel. I have always found both the tale and the music to be haunting and chilling.

When setting this work, I had a few goals. First, I absolutely refused to use sleigh bells or anything “christmassy” as I felt that would cheapen the emotional impact of this terrible tale. Second, I wanted to create a Christmas work that used very reserved orchestration to allow beautiful instrumental colors to shine through and to create a sense of isolation and tension, and allow the work to function in a festival/contest setting as well as a holiday concert. Lastly, I wished to create a work that would serve as an alternative to the typical “joyous” fare.

On an Olde English Carol is a setting of this beautiful, melancholy melody. The work begins with the voices of the mourners singing the souls of their children to sleep (“Lully, Lullah, Lully, Lullay”). The carol is then heard in various choirs. The grief of the parents culminates in a powerful statement at the climax of their work, before returning to a quiet whisper, though the work ends on a slight ray of hope that crescendos to the final release.

I hope you enjoy this work and find it suitable for both holiday concerts and festival performances.

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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