Monday, December 19, 2011

Annie Lennox: In The Bleak Midwinter

Our second in our series of Christmas songs this season features Annie Lennox formerly of the Eurythmics and her interpretation of “In the Bleak Midwinter.” The song appears on her 2010 CD “A Christmas Cornucopia.” The album was favorably received by the public and critics alike. Interestingly enough, Lennox was born on Christmas Day in 1954.

“In the Bleak Midwinter” was written in 1872 by Christina Rossetti in fulfillment of a request for a Christmas themed poem by Scribners Monthly magazine. By 1906, Gustav Holst had set the poem to music and it appeared in The English Hymnal. Because of its late writing, it is not particularly known in the United States as are earlier Christmas carols.

Lennox plays seventeen instruments on this CD, as well as singing lead and backing vocals, writing orchestral and string arrangements, and producing the album.


In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

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