Today, December 28th is Holy Innocents Day. It is the day that the Church commemorates the slaughter of the little boys in Bethlehem, as we read in Matthew 2:16
-18: Herod perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, was exceeding angry; and sending killed all the men children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof.
Cecil Armstrong Gibbs (10 August 1889 – 12 May 1960) was a prolific and versatile English composer, best known for his output of songs. Gibbs also devoted much of his career to the amateur choral and festival movements in Britain.
His talents in Latin, won him a scholarship to Winchester College in 1902 where he specialized in history. However, while at Winchester, Gibbs began music studies in earnest, taking lessons in harmony and counterpoint with Dr. E. T. Sweeting. From 1908-1911 he attended Trinity College, Cambridge on a scholarship as a history student. He continued his studies at Cambridge in music through 1913 studying composition with Edward Dent, Cyril Rootham and Charles Wood.
His personal sound was far more influenced by “lighter forms of entertainment, popular song, and British folk song.” He excelled as a miniaturist.
The title of this work, "Lullay, thou little tiny child," is the first phrase (modernized) of the "Coventry Carol" - an English Christmas carol dating from the 16th century. The carol was traditionally performed in Coventry in England as part of a mystery play called The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors. The play depicts the Christmas story from chapter two in the Gospel of Matthew: the carol itself refers to the Massacre of the Innocents, in which Herod ordered all male infants under the age of two in Bethlehem to be killed, and takes the form of a lullaby sung by mothers of the doomed children.
It is an "unusual" piece, and is "typical" of Gibbs "unusual" style. It's not "dark" as is the event, and it's a bit "quick" for a lullaby, but it's still nice! :-)
Photos of Gibbs are attached.