Darke, Harold: In the Bleak Midwinter. SATB and Organ
SATB and organ
In the Bleak Midwinter was composed in 1911 as a Christmas present for a friend. Christina Rossetti’s haunting poem with music by Gustav Holst had already been published in The English Hymnal of 1906, and it was not until Darke’s appointment as organist at King’s College Cambridge in 1941, replacing Boris Ord for the duration of the Second World War, that his version came to prominence through the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols broadcast annually from the chapel.
In 2010, ‘the 50 greatest carols as voted by the world’s finest choirmasters’ (BBC Music Magazine) named Darke’s setting of In the Bleak Midwinter at number one.
Optional string parts (score and 18.104.22.168.4.) to accompany the SATB or SSA version (ref. Y17) are available for sale and an arrangement by John Rutter is available for rental (Ref. HL313).
There are many performances of this much-loved carol available to view online. Here is the standard SATB version as performed most years as part of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at King’s College in Cambridge: