The Night Before Christmas

This setting of the famous Christmas poem A Visit from St. Nicholas (attributed to Clement Clarke Moore but, in actuality, probably written by an Englishman, Major Henry Livingston, Jr.) was commissioned by the Cleveland Orchestra. The first performance of the work took place in that city during the Orchestra’s Holiday concerts in 1988, under the baton of Robert Page.

The piece is cinematically conceived, and each poetic image of the narration is imaginatively colored in such a way that audiences can clearly visualize the happenings from passage to passage. Some rehearsal is required to properly align a live performance of the narration, in such a way that the orchestral framing is synchronized moment-by-moment with the text of the poem.
( dur: 7” )

Fortunately, a matchless performance of the work, featuring Shakespearean actor Sir Derek Jacobi as narrator with the National Symphony of London, has been captured as part of the Kodanja Christmas album A Feast of Carols, with the composer conducting. This album may be purchased from the distributor, among other sources.

Performance Options:

The full orchestration is available for this work on a rental-only basis from ECS Publishing.


Picc. / Fl. 3 4 Hn. Harp
2 Fl. 3 Tpt. (C)
2 Ob. 3 Trbn. Vln. 1
Eng. Hn. Tuba Vln. 2
2 Cl. (B-flat) Vla.
Bs. Cl. Timp. ‘Cello
2 Bsn. (C’bsn. opt.) 3 Perc. Bass

A wind ensemble transcription is available for purchase from Alfred Music Publishing, Inc.

A piano duet transcription with narration is available for purchase from Canticle Distributing.

View Sample Pages: Full Orchestral Score


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