"And this time we heard it, in the distance, drifting across no-man’s land. They were men like us, tired, dirty. hungry, but it was the sweetest sound I’d ever heard. Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht, Alles schläft; einsam wacht" Graeme Curry
The Christmas Truce was a miraculous period of unofficial ceasefire in the trenches of the First World War around Christmas 1914. Soldiers from both sides of the conflict laid down their weapons and came in to no-man’s land to exchange food, bury their fallen comrades, sing carols and even play games of football. Although the events were short-lived, it remains an enduring symbol of both the value of peace and humanity and the senselessness of violent conflict. British composers Judith Bingham and Jonathan Rathbone composed works based around these events, both scored for choir and small ensemble.
Judith Bingham (1952–) The Christmas Truce (2003) 25 minutes for SATB chorus and ensemble 2Tpt–Perc–Chamber Organ–Str View Score
Jonathan Rathbone (1957–) Christmas Truce (2009) 35 minutes for solo baritone, SATB chorus and chamber orchestra 126.96.36.199–188.8.131.52–Timp–Perc–Hp–Pf–Str View Score