In The Bleak Midwinter with Sissel

“In the Bleak Midwinter” is a Christmas carol based on a poem by the English poet Christina Georgina Rossetti, who was a devout Christian and is considered one of the most important women poets of nineteenth-century England. Roseetti’s “bleak midwinter” poem was written in 1872, during a time of intense personal grief while her beloved brother Dante suffered an emotional breakdown. The poem was kept among her private papers, and only discovered and published posthumously. The poem has been set to several different melodies. However, the most familiar musical setting is a hauntingly beautiful melody by classical composer Gustav Holst (1874-1934) of the famous Planets orchestral suite fame.


The most moving performance I have ever heard of “In the Bleak Midwinter” was by Norwegian soprano Sissel Kyrkjebø (simply known as Sisselduring the 2006 Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert. It is simply a match made in heaven. Enjoy! – MoSop

In The Bleak Midwinter – Poem

Text: Christina Rossetti ~ Music: Gustav Holst
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.


  1. We (wife & I) loved the Sissel piece, but the first time we heard it was in an old Julie Andrews Christmas special with, among others, John Denver, Pavarotti, and the King Singers. She did this number in an old monistary somewhere in the German Alps. It was stunning. It was the first time we had heard it, and we had recorded it on VHS tape. We listened and watched that for many years. It became especially dear to us after Julie Andrews had a complication from surgery and lost her singing voice. She eventually recovered to an extent, but never had the range that she had when in her prime. My wife took that tape into a relief society meeting one Sunday when she was teaching about the gifts we should be giving back to the Savior, played it for the sisters, and had a room full of tears from the beauty both of the voice, which they thought was lost, and for the beauty of the song and the lesson it illustrated. Never forget it!

    Liked by 1 person

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