Blessed be that Maid Mairie (2015)
Duration: ca. 4'
Text: traditional English carol
Commissioned by the Canticle Singers of Baltimore
Premiere Date: December 4, 2015, Baltimore MD (SSAA)
December 20, 2015 (SATB)
For most of my compositional life, I have found myself responding most deeply to texts of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. I was delighted, then, when the Canticle Singers of Baltimore asked me for a new carol, and I had the opportunity to set Blessed be that Maid Mairie, a macaronic carol from about the 15th century. Like many carols, it tells the Christmas story in a reduced form, ranging from Jesus’ birth to the arrival of the Kings and back to the present day: “Nowell, nowell in this hall, make we merry I pray you all.” In this setting, I used the traditional text but crafted a new tune, slightly reminiscent in contour (though not in metrical or harmonic framework) of Medieval carols, accompanied by spritely lines in the piano and organ.
Blessed be that Maid Mairie was premiered in its SSAA and piano form by the Canticle Singers of Baltimore on December 4, 2015; the SATB and organ version was premiered by the Choir of St. David’s on December 20, 2015.
— Douglas Buchanan
Blessed be that Maid Mairie / Version for SATB
The Canticle Singers of Baltimore perform St. David's Choirmaster and Organist Douglas Buchanan's commissioned setting of "Blessed be that Maid Mairie," conducted by the composer, at the First Friday Concert Series on December 4, 2015.