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Voicing/Instrumentation: SATB

We also have other 20 arrangements of "Stars Were Gleaming/Infant Holy, Infant Lowly".

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Children's Songs
A Cappella/Optional A Capella

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Song background:

In researching this carol, I found many performances on YouTube of it in Polish. Most omit the final section from the 1908 Polish songbook. The rest I found omit the middle section, as do most English versions. The words for both sections is the same. I wanted a version that included the complete melody found in the 1908 church songbook.

Because this originates from a folk melody, the meter is suppose to feel a bit irregular in spots, mostly in the middle section. I tried to incorporate some of the beat stress and harmonic elements from the Polish performance on YouTube I found that felt the most Slavic to me [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoovenCFNTc ], and that also stayed closer to the 1908 melody and rhythms. There were other versions that felt more folksy, but that weren’t in 3/4 time [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ep1diNcYBAE ].

There is also some variation on whether the first two eighth notes are the part of the downbeat or a pickup beat. In the end, I put them as part of the downbeat and kept the meter in 3/4 time to keep the notation simple, rather than shifting meters to emphasize where I felt the strong beats on the melody. This also helps it feel more generally like a mazurka, where beat 2 (or 3) is stressed, rather than a waltz, where beat 1 is stressed.

I don’t speak Polish. I ran the Polish lyrics from the 1908 songbook through Google Translate and discovered some lovely themes and imagery. I felt that the existing English adaptations of “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly” and “Stars were Gleaming” did not contain much if any of these original themes and imagery.

Unfortunately, few if any of the English results from Google Translate (or variations on them) would fit the metric structure of the melody. This resulted in me adapting elements of the Polish lyrics into English to fit the melody. For example, I wanted to include “Glory in the highest” from the original, but couldn’t find a sensible place for it (or even a variation of it) to fit, so I replaced it with “Peace on earth, goodwill to men.”

This adaptation includes themes from verses 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 of the 8 verses found in the 1908 songbook. I didn’t find any Polish performances that went beyond verse 3. Rather than repeat the lyrics from the middle section in the final section as is done in the 1908 songbook, I chose to try and include more of the themes from the Polish lyrics.

The following are not directly part of the Polish lyrics, but helped with the rhyming.
The Savior: see Luke 2:11.
Giv’n to us is God the Son: see John 3:16.
Good tidings: see Luke 2:10; Isaiah 52:7.
Of our God’s redemptive love: see John 3:16-17.
Not to fault us, but to rescue: see John 3:17.
Let us love like Christ: see John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:11.
Peace on earth, goodwill to men: see Luke 2:14.

The 1908 Polish version I referenced can be found here on scan #107: https://www.wbc.poznan.pl/dlibra/doccontent?id=154352

In A Manger by Jason Hunsaker

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