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Christmas in Fulham: The Director’s Cut

Jonathan Wikeley
Director of Music, All Saints Fulham Church

On Sunday 16th December, Choral Evensong service is replaced by a service of Nine Lessons and Carols at 6pm.

During the service, All Saints Fulham Choir will sing two carols written by Jonathan Wikeley, the Choir’s Director of Music.

The first piece, dedicated to his daughter, sets to music the poem The Burning Babe by Robert Southwell.

Southwell was an English Roman Catholic priest of the Jesuit Order in the 16th century. In 1970, he was made a saint by Pope Paul VI as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.

As I in hoary winter’s night stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow ;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear;

Who, scorched with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.
Alas, quoth he, but newly born in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I!

My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns ;
The fuel justice layeth on, and mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men’s defiled souls.

For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.
With this he vanished out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I called unto mind that it was Christmas day.

The second piece is Jonathan’s new arrangement of the traditional Welsh lullaby, Suo Gân.

This video is a version in Empire of the Sun (1987), a film directed by Academy Award winning director Steven Spielberg.

Huna blentyn ar fy mynwes
Clyd a chynnes ydyw hon;
Breichiau mam sy’n dynn amdanat,
Cariad mam sy dan fy mron;
Ni cha’ dim amharu’th gyntun,
Ni wna undyn â thi gam;
Huna’n dawel, annwyl blentyn,
Huna’n fwyn ar fron dy fam.

Huna’n dawel, heno, huna,
Huna’n fwyn, y tlws ei lun;
Pam yr wyt yn awr yn gwenu,
Gwenu’n dirion yn dy hun?
Ai angylion fry sy’n gwenu,
Arnat ti yn gwenu’n llon,
Tithau’n gwenu’n ôl dan huno,
Huno’n dawel ar fy mron?

Paid ag ofni, dim ond deilen
Gura, gura ar y ddôr;
Paid ag ofni, ton fach unig
Sua, sua ar lan y môr;
Huna blentyn, nid oes yma
Ddim i roddi iti fraw;
Gwena’n dawel yn fy mynwes
Ar yr engyl gwynion draw.

English translation
Sleep my baby, at my breast, a mother’s arms round you.
Make yourself a snug, warm nest; Feel my love forever new.
Harm will not meet you in sleep, hurt will always pass you by.
Beloved child, always you’ll keep in gentle sleep, mother’s breast nigh.

Sleep in peace tonight, sleep, O sleep gently, what a sight.
A smile I see in slumber deep, what visions make your face bright?
Are the angels above smiling at you in your peaceful rest?
Are you beaming back while in peaceful slumber on mother’s breast?

Do not fear the sound, it’s a breeze brushing leaves against the door.
Do not dread the murmuring seas, Lonely waves washing the shore.
Sleep my child, there’s nothing here, while in slumber at my breast,
Angels smiling, have no fear, holy angels guard your rest.


About All Saints Fulham Choir

The All Saints Fulham Church is the home of three choirs. A traditional Parish Choir who sing wide-ranging repertoire which spans nine centuries and tours regularly at home and abroad; a Gospel Choir who sing a mixture of contemporary and traditional gospel styles, and a junior choir for children from Year 3 upwards.


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