Having worked with this carol for 12 weeks, I have grown to really like it as have members of my choir, the Neston Ecumenical Singers.
The words are by the American, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The composition came about late in 2008 as a result of an annual competition organised by The Longfellow Chorus promoting the poetry of their founder. Graeme Hopson, the composer of this setting was a finalist in the competition with this work.
The snowfall motif in the piano accompaniment delicately flutters throughout the snowflakes’ journey described in the lyrics until the ‘troubled sky reveals the grief it feels’. The harmony takes an anguished turn at this point as the heart rate of the choir members increases whilst the parts get a little more challenging to pitch! Effervescent tranquillity returns along with the carefree snowflake motif as the third verse draws to a close with whispered revelations to wood and field.