The Truth from Above

SSA(T)B, organ

This arrangement of the beloved Herefordshire Carol uses different verses than the famous Vaughan Williams setting, focusing on the Christmas portion of the story. As the tenor line can be sung by baritones, it is suitable for smaller choirs as well as large ones. The organ is strongly featured. Score below.

Recording by Matt Curtis,

Reginald Unterseher · The Truth From Above, Reginald Unterseher, arr.
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For this arrangement of “The Herefordshire Carol”, I have chosen verses 1, 6, 7, and 9, which focus more on the Christmas portion of the story rather than the Adam and Eve story that is featured in the famous settings of Vaughan Williams and has subsequently become the most familiar of the verse choices.


In the first verses, all the rhythmic complexity is carried by the organ. The section beginning at bar 71 looks and sounds more complex than it is. The quarter note always stays even. Each part should maintain it’s own line shape integrity, however. For the last verse, beginning at bar 89, the lower voices and organ are in a much stronger register than the upper voices, at least until the very end. The lower voices should be allowed to dominate, as they have the melody.


Cecil J. Sharp, English Folk-Carols pub. 1911

1. This is the truth sent from above,
The truth of God, the God of love;
Therefore don’t turn me from your door,
But hearken all, both rich and poor.
6. And at this season of the year
Our blest Redeemer did appear
He here did live, and here did preach,
And many thousands He did teach.
7. Thus He in love to us behaved,
To show us how we must be saved
And if you want to know the way
Be pleased to hear what He did say.
9. God grant to all within this place
True saving faith—that special grace,
Which to His people doth belong—
And thus I close my Christmas song.