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WorksChoral MusicMixed ChorusIn a Far Judean City
See also: Burt Family Christmas Carol Series

In a Far Judean City

Voicing: SATB a cappella
Text: Rev. Bates G. Burt
Duration: 3 min.
Premiere: The MPR Carolers, Minnesota Public Radio - December 25, 2001
See the score: PREVIEW THE SCORE (pdf)
Published by: Fred Bock Publications, F2355
Order now: Sheet Music Plus

 REVIEWS (Click to view/hide)
"What a delight to see the American Christmas carol traditional made famous by Alfred Burt find a new lineage through his great niece, Abbie Burt Betinis. She continues the intelligent and creative applications Alfred paved before her, but also brings an undeniable newness to the process. As Alfred often did, she uses the texts of Bates Burt (her great-grandfather) and sets them to music."
- Fred Bock Publications, 2012

MPR Carolers LISTEN:

In a Far Judean City: mp3, 1:56, 1.8 MB

Performed by The MPR carolers
(Melissa Morey, Abbie Betinis, Justin Karch, Michael Meyer)


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 who had just received his music degree from the University of Michigan. The father-son team produced five carols together before Bates' death in 1948. 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 great-grandfather.

Each new carol uses a text relating somehow to the Burt family tradition. In a Far Judean City takes its text from a carol Bates G. Burt wrote in 1933 and sent that year as his Christmas greeting.

More information on the Burt Family Carols here.

In a Far Judean City Poem by Bates G. Burt
In a far Judean city,
When the night is bleak and wild,
In a stable, ah, the pity!
Mary sings to her Child:

    "Lullaby, my Baby, lullaby,
    Mother's nigh, her watch to keep,
    Sleep my little One, sleep.
    Lullaby, my Jesu, lullaby."

Heav'n on high with song is ringing,
But within this cattleshed,
Sweeter far is Mary's singing
At her Babe's mangerbed.

    "Lullaby, my Baby, lullaby, [etc...]

See the friendly kine draw near her,
Angels hush their notes above,
While the Baby smiles to hear her
Croon this sweet song of love:

    "Lullaby, my Baby, lullaby, [etc...]

Oh, what myst'ry! oh, what wonder!
God is born a Babe today,
And must needs be lulled to slumber
By a maid's tender lay.

    "Lullaby, my Baby, lullaby, [etc...]

Text © 1933, Bates G. Burt. Used by permission of John Harris Burt.

Performed by:

Adult Chorus of St. Paul's Episcopal (Jan Broderson, conductor)
Deviated Septet
Magnum Chorum (Chris Aspaas, conductor)
The MPR Carolers
Octet from the Decorah Chorale
Piedmont Chamber Singers (William Osborne, conductor)
Voces Novae et Antiquae (Robert Ross, conductor)
Wisconsin Master Chorale (Barbara Towey, conductor)

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