I remember my days as a young chorister singing the classic Christmas song, “Carol of the Bells,” and always hating it. The piece never made sense to me at all. Why was I singing this piece that textually was so uplifting, but harmonically sounded dark and the least bit hopeful?
While initially setting this classic text, I wanted to capture the hope and joy behind the words by setting the piece to be initially minor, like how it is traditionally done, and then shifting it half way to being major. After months of hard work, the project had been completed, or at least I had thought. After a short period of time, I soon discovered that the text to Carol of The Bells was under copyright. Ironically, this text that I had set to be happy and in a major key, was once again turning out to be a minor and depressing song.
I knew process of writing a new text was going to be difficult and full of challenges. The new text had to be as timeless as the, “Carol of The Bells” text and it had to fit the mood of the music. Immediately I knew that I needed to contact my talented poetic friend from college, Sara Hansen. Below she shares her thoughts about setting this new text. Collaborate
~Zachary J. Moore
Notes From The Poet:
“Set to the tune of Carol of the Bells, One Winter’s Night is a mixture between the tune we all know and love, and the lesser known story behind the original Ukranian folk chant the song is based on: Shchedryk. Shchedryk describes a little sparrow telling his master to come see and be grateful for all of the good in his life. His cattle and his crop are bountiful, he is extremely prosperous, and he has a beautiful wife by his side. Substituting the sparrow for a dove, we wanted to allude to the hope and peace symbolized by this bird, the joys surrounding the Christmas season, and the appreciation we can feel for some lightness shed on what can be a dreary
time of year. One of the most magical things about Carol of the Bells is the juxtaposition between the dark, intense feeling of the melody and the positivity of the lyrics. To me, this dissonance is reminiscent of the warmth that Christmas time brings during the bitter coldness of wintertime, and what we hoped to capture within One Winter’s Night. By all accounts a wonderful collaborative effort with the hugely talented Zach Moore, it is my pleasure to present this reimagining of a Christmas classic.”