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WorksInstrumental MusicFour Carols of Alfred Burt

Four Carols of Alfred Burt (arr.)

We'll Dress the House; Some Children See Him; Christ in the Stranger's Guise; O Hearken Ye

Instrumentation: flute and harp
Duration: 5 min.
Published by: Abbie Betinis Music Co., AB-039-00
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Four Carols of Alfred Burt (excerpts): mp3, 1:19, 1 MB
Performed by Linda Chatterton (flute) and Nikki Christopher (harp)

Gabriel's Message

Gabriel's Message: Christmas Carols for Flute & Harp (2005)
Linda Chatterton (flute) and Nikki Christopher (harp), on La Flautista (LF 2039)
Featuring: Four Carols of Alfred Burt (arr.)
CD available from Amazon

Download the full mp3 from iTunes ($0.99)


In 1922, my great-grandfather began writing an annual Christmas Carol and sending it out as his Christmas card. Twenty years later, the tradition passed to his son, Alfred Burt, whose now-famous carols include the four featured in this short Christmas "fantasia" (I have to call it a "fantasia" because the word "medley" conjures that teen-spirit smell of the middle school band room). So here we have four of my favorite 'Uncle Al' carols: We'll Dress the House; Some Children See Him; Christ in the Stranger's Guise; and O Hearken Ye. For more information on the annual Christmas Carol tradition in the Burt family, see this handy Burt Family Carols page.

This arrangement (or "fantasia") was written by request of flutist Linda Chatterton, for her 2005 Christmas CD "Gabriel's Message." I was flattered that she asked me to pen an arrangement for her disk, especially considering the other folks who had already agreed: David Evan Thomas, Stephen Paulus, and Nancy Grundahl. Because Alfred Burt died so young (age 33), I never had a chance to meet him, but there are a lot of questions I would have loved to ask him -- about his harmonic instinct, his love for jazz, his deep spirituality that makes itself so evident in his music. But my only clues to his musical mind are through the scores he left behind, and sitting down with four of them, and getting to know them intimately enough to set in this arrangement, made me feel closer to this man I never knew, but whose presence looms so large in my family history.

Performed by:

Linda Chatterton (flute) & Nikki Christopher (harp); Minneapolis, Minnesota
Amy Hoffman (flute) & Jane Hawkins (harp); Wichita, Kansas

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