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WorksVocal MusicHigh VoiceCarol of the Snow
See also: Burt Family Christmas Carol Series

Carol of the Snow

Voicing: High voice (soprano or tenor) and Piano
Text: After H.W. Longfellow (edited and revised by the composer)
Duration: 3:45 min.
Premiere: The MPR Carolers, Minnesota Public Radio - December 19, 2011
See the score: PREVIEW THE SCORE (pdf)
Published by: Abbie Betinis Music Co. (see: Three Carols -- high voice)
Order now: Online order form

Performed live by Kim Sueoka, soprano; Linda Kachelmeier, piano


In 1922, Rev. Bates G. Burt, a self-taught musician, began composing Christmas carols and sending them as seasonal greeting cards to his friends, family, and parishioners. In 1942, he passed the job of composing the music to his son, Alfred Burt, a jazz trumpeter and young composer. The father-son team produced five carols together before Bates’s death, and Alfred Burt went on to write a total of fifteen Christmas carols, including the popular “Caroling, Caroling,” and “Some Children See Him,” made famous originally by the Voices of Jimmy Joyce and now recorded by artists all over the world.

Since 2001, Abbie Burt Betinis has been continuing this family tradition begun so long ago by Bates, her greatgrandfather. “Carol of the Snow” was inspired by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “Snow-flakes.” Abbie composed the music in 2010 (one of the snowiest winters on record in the United States) as she recovered from a bone marrow transplant following her third cancer diagnosis. The carol premiered on Minnesota Public Radio the next year.

More information on the Burt Family Carols here.

Carol of the Snow Poem adapted by the composer after H. W. Longfellow's "Snow-flakes"
Out of the bosom of the air,
    Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
    Over the harvest fields forsaken,
        Silent, and soft, and slow,
        Descends the snow.

This is the poem of the air,
    Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
    Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
        Troubled, the sky reveals
        The grief it feels.

Even as our burdens are released,
    Lovingly laced in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart cries peace,
    And in the white countenance makes confession,
        A love so pure so true
        Begins anew.

Used by permission. This poem may be reprinted from this website ONLY for use in concert programs and for promotional use as related to this musical work. For the original poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), click here.

Performed by:

Carrie Henneman Shaw, soprano; Ruth Palmer, piano
Kim Sueoka, soprano; Linda Kachelmeier, piano
The MPR Carolers

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