The Saviour is born this day

What is it?

The Saviour is born this day is a setting of my own lyrics below to the melody of The Boar’s Head Carol, arranged for four voices (SATB) unaccompanied. All parts are easy to sing. The Boar's Head Carol was first published 1521 by Wynken de Worde in Christmasse Carolles. The original words, a mixture of middle English and Latin, are magnificent in context, but mean little to people today. My own alternative lyrics communicate a meaningful message while still conveying a sense of 16th century majesty. In this way I hope that this beautiful and regal music may once again become relevant to our Christmases. The harmonies are my own, although I have retained some of the characteristics of early 16th century heraldic music.


The Saviour is born this day,
the Christ of God a babe become,
and we pray you, our brethren joyful be:
and worship him, the holy one.

God is with us as we sing
Glory to the new-born King.

The Father, as we understand,
sent his Son to shine in Israel’s land;
to die for us by his people’s hand:
upon a cross his blood to flow.

God is with us as we sing
Glory to the new-born King.

The love of God has overcome
the sting of death for everyone
who puts his trust in the babe who came:
the Lord Almighty is his name!

God is with us as we sing
Glory to the new-born King.


For the purposes of this video I decided to play the music in the style of a renaissance dance band, set against scenes from the beautiful city of Prague and the Cathedral of Saint Vitus, which dominates its skyline. I lived for three years in Prague, never growing tired of the place. Quite simply, it is the most lovely city in Europe.


I have always loved The Boar’s Head Carol. Unfortunately it is less and less sung these days. For a start, I guess very few families bother with boars’ heads any more at Christmas: too much hassle. Great if the servants do it all for you, of course, but not great if you have to do it yourself. Besides, one doesn’t generally find boars’ heads on supermarket shelves even at Christmas. At least, not in my country one doesn’t.

So I set myself the task of dreaming up some words that people in today’s churches might be happy to sing, while using the music of The Boar’s Head Carol. Well, the melody at least. I like my harmonies to be a combination of open naivety and sharp-edged dissonance. So I wrote a first pass, pulled some of the harmonies inside-out, turned others upside-down and finished up with what you hear above. It works. Rather well, I think!