For Unto Us a Child is Born

Original anthem by Fen Frehner for SATB divisi (SSAATTBB) and piano, optional: organ, harp, strings

Set to the Isaiah 9:6 scripture text made famous in Handel’s “Messiah”

Background

This is an original anthem setting of the famous text, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." (found in Isaiah 9:6). It is set in two sections (compared to Handel's three sections).The first section is be a humble treatment of the birth of Jesus Christ, and the second section is more regal and majestic; and the "Government" phrase tie the two sections together.

In the first section, the phrases are repeated, implying amazement/gratitude that this was done "unto us". With “us” being key, be careful not to sing “unto wus”; and my preference is to sing the long “us” notes with a crescendo than diminuendo closing the “s” on beat 3 with a glottal-stop but no breath, although this seems to be tricky to fathom for some reason.

In the second section, commonality exists with the first section, but the flavor is different, giving special treatment to each of the titles. There is escalating variation in the four instances of the titles. I found quite a bit of discussion questioning how accurate the translations of these titles are and whether Isaiah only intended 3 or 4 titles, but in any case these 5 titles are fitting.

The accompaniment is for piano, or piano and harp, plus optional (but preferred) organ or strings. If both piano and harp are playing, the harp should play the first Section One accompaniment. The introduction, interludes, and conclusion should be done on harp, also, but because the fingering is difficult, can be simplified by the harp playing only the treble clef and the piano assisting by playing the bass clef plus the vertically-corresponding treble-clef notes. The organ or strings help make the second section more full, giving it more contrast compared to the first section.

The 6.875"x10.5" choral booklet sheet music may be purchased above by selecting the desired quantity, clicking the "Add to Cart" button, and following the checkout process. A digital download may be purchased here: https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/for-unto-us-a-child-is-born-digital-sheet-music/20025381 . A 4-part strings accompaniment is available for purchase by request. The optional longer ending works well if strings are included. A low-resolution version of the sheet music may be downloaded below.

The audio for this song and for rehearsal tracks are available above. If you would like to purchase the audio recording of the accompaniment used in the sheet-music video, please contact me.

Lyrics

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given;and the government shall be upon his shoulder;and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor,The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
Text: Isaiah 9:6 from The Bible
Related Terms, Tags, and Topics: Fen, Frehner, new, original, music, Fen Frehner, Matthew Curtis, multitrack, Christmas, choral, choir, piano, beautiful, pretty, SATB, SSAATTBB, sheet music, Jesus, Christ, George Frideric (or Frederick) Handel, modern, classic, Messiah, prophecies, prophetic tense