is a piece for Christmas which, like Wellcome, all wonders
, uses different characters to create a little drama. In this case it is a dialogue between the star in the east and a chorus (perhaps representing the shepherds). The poem is by Robert Herrick (1591–1674) and he colourfully has the chorus asking where Christ is to be found. The assumption is that he will be laid in lily-banks or in ‘some ark of flowers’ or ‘in the morning’s blushing cheek’ and so on. The star replies emphatically ‘No’, and tells them that he is simply at his mother’s breast. The chorus then replies ecstatically that ‘He’s seen, He’s seen!’ and that they will give him ‘wassailing’ and ‘choose Him King, and make His mother Queen’. It is a wonderfully upbeat poem and Dove’s response to it is simple and effective. The organ part creates a ‘bright and twinkling’ star effect which continues throughout as another moto perpetuo. The tenors and basses are the chorus and the upper voices represent the star. When the moment of recognition comes the whole choir sings together. The use of a constant 7/8 metre keeps the excitement buzzing, and the ending simply flies into the air.
from notes by Paul Spicer © 2010