David Fisher - Mary Laid Her Child

Mary Laid Her Child


SATB with divisi + optional organ accompaniment

Recording, download - 2.53MB

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David Fisher - Mary Laid Her Child

Other Information

Carol for Christmas or Easter and a companion piece for Balulalow written in 1983. It can be performed with or without organ accompaniment. It is strophically set with a modal melody and the texture expands as the piece develops. 

Dedicated to Peter White and Leicester Cathedral Choir, Mary Laid Her Child is published by Roberton Publications.

First performed by the Wienersängerknaben [Vienna Boys’ Choir] at Gloucester Cathedral, 4th October 1972. Published by Roberton in 1977. Other notable performances have been Leicester Cathedral in 1972 & 1973 under Peter White; Bede College Chapel with the musicians from St. Hild´s College and The College of the Venerable Bede, 11th December 1973]; Chichester Cathedral in 1982 under Alan Thurlow and Oakham School under the direction of Peter Witchell. In 1987, the Choir of Sevenoaks School, Kent under their Director of Choral Music, Graham Bartholomew, performed the carol in its Christmas programme at the Priory Church of St Bartholomew-the-Great, London, and St Nicholas Church, Sevenoaks. The carol was recorded a cappella on CD by Kingfisher Chorale in 1999 and more recently by the Roder Jongenskoor in Holland on their brilliant CD "A Babe is born" released in November 2011. The Roden Boys´ Choir [with the treble soloist Wilko Koekoek] is conducted by Rintje te Wies with Sietze de Vries performing the world première recording of the optional organ part. The recording is available on line on the choir site and the CD number is WM 081111.

Rintje te Wies, the Musical Director, writes in the CD notes: "Mary laid her child is an especially atmospheric work in which a beautiful modal melody is heard in unison in the first verse and is followed by two and three voice settings, culminating in the six voice final verse with its exuberant final chord. The organ part provides the interludes which bind the work together."

A request from the CCA website from the Wiener Sängerknaben for contact with me and then a phone call from Vienna confirmed that not only was my carol “Mary Laid Her Child” performed by the Vienna Boys’ Choir at the Konzertsaal der Wiener Sängerknaben [MuTh] on the 5th, 6th & 7th December 2013 but they have recorded the work and it may be released on the second edition of their most recent DVD. It was also great to note that the piece was performed by one of the choirs on their tour of USA in 2012 in many venues around the States including the Symphony Hall, Chicago. See the DIARY for details.

“A Babe is born”: The Roder Jongenskoor CD review by Peter Sneep.

The Christmas CD with music from the Roder Jongenskoor [RJK] is very successful. It was recorded with the symphonic Seifert organ in St. Gudula in Rhede. The RJK is set up according to the choirs of the Anglican cathedrals. The programme that they sing on this CD is more original than the Christmas CDs of their overseas counterparts which often have quite a bit of overlap. Naturally "O come all ye faithful", "Three Kings" and "God rest you merry gentlemen" are on the RJK CD, but conductor Rindt te Wies has managed a very original programme built around those well-known songs, with many quiet moments and beautiful solos, as in "Adam lay ybounden". You can’t get the rhythmically strong "Magnificat" of regular accompanist Sietze de Vries out of your head. For choir and organ, this is almost indistinguishable from the English originals. 

Review of "A Babe is born" in the Los Angeles Times by WSM Bezemer

The inevitable Christmas CDs are back on the shelves. They usually contain the well-known repertoire of carols Dutch and English carols. A happy exception is Roden Boys Choir.

It can be heard at the first hearing that this is an extraordinary choir with a very varied repertoire, known and unknown, which all go but independently. Take for example ´Silent Night´ by conductor Rintje te Wies which is a beautiful setting with lovely resolving dissonances.

You cannot call the music on this CD modern. You hear in the ´Magnificat´ by Sietze de Vries (which in an exemplary manner all organ accompaniments he plays) that the piece is of this time, but blends seamlessly into the whole of this album: refreshing and good-sounding music.

But what is most striking here is the quality of the choir. Working with boys´ voices is a sport in itself. Training and motivation ask a lot of effort in training the vocal instrument. What is recorded here deserves only praise. This choir has a level I have not come across in our country. The purity and beauty of sound, including the solo voices, are striking. Further, the perfect finish: no detail seems to have escaped the ear of conductor.

Sietze te Vries plays the organ of St. Gudulakirche in Rhede and the instrument has enough options to adjust the volume and therefore suits the character of every song.

The booklet also gives all the texts with some insightful comments on each piece. Who ever wants to criticize would be only splitting hairs.


The images show the newspaper article in the Leicester Mercury about the piece [left], the programme details of the Vienna Boys´ Choir´s 1972 tour [below left] alongside the programme cover of the tour [below right]. The featured recording is from  Kingfisher Chorale´s a cappella SATB version of the work recorded in 1999.

David Fisher - Mary Laid Her Child

David Fisher - Mary Laid Her Child