Free Piano Arrangement Sheet Music – Once In David’s Royal City

Free Piano Arrangement Sheet Music – Once In David’s Royal City

The Majestic Carol That is “Once In David’s Royal City”

The Irish Anglican Cecil Frances Alexander, who also composed “All Things Bright and Beautiful”, is the prolific hymn-writer who also wrote this popular Christmas hymn “Once In David’s Royal City” (which she published in Hymns for Little Children in 1848). According to her account, she began turning the lines of the Apostle’s Creed into a poem meant to explain the creed to disconcerted youngsters. It’s akin to a church sermon, complete with the birth of Christ, the teachings of the Anglican Church, and makes mention of the second coming of Christ in Victorian fashion. Written during Victorian times, it was evident that she wrote it to impress the tenets of the faith upon their young minds. She was referring to the city of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus and King David. Such a dignified corner of the world which birthed famous kings.

The following year, composer H.J. Gauntlett set Alexander’s poem to his music which he called Irby. Gauntlett, who was the organist at some of London’s leading churches holds a patent (since 1852) for electrical-action apparatus for organs. He took the standard of church organ music to a high level by designing the instrument and composing a huge number of hymns. The Victorian music of “Once In David’s Royal City” is a child-friendly hymn glammed-up with solo children’s vocals, followed by the entire choral performance. The result is a very somber and dignified sound for a Christmas carol. And it’s worthy to be a processional with the administration of a remarkable harmonization.

It may be antiquated, but it can never be forgotten. Every year, for a century, “Once In David’s Royal City” is the star opening of the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge’s Festival of Lessons and Carols. It’s the Christmas Music service standard: 9 Bible readings and a lot of music.

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