Article " O Little Town of Bethlehem" by Peter C. Lutkin

O Little Town of Bethlehem, 1903, by Peter C. Lutkin, 1858-1931.
O Little Town of Bethlehem, 1903. Peter C. Lutkin, 1858-1931. Music Division, Library of Congress. Call number: M2085.L87 O55 1903

O Little Town of Bethlehem was published by the Clayton F. Summy Company in 1903 and dedicated to Lutkin's second son, Caryl Cecil Lutkin. Tragically, Caryl died of diphtheria four days before Peter Lutkin was to conduct the first performance in Evanston, Illinois, of the newly formed Northwestern University A Cappella Choir.

Phillips Brooks, an Episcopalian minister who preached in Philadelphia and Boston in the mid-nineteenth century, wrote the text of O Little Town of Bethlehem. While serving at Holy Trinity Church in Philadelphia, Brooks visited the Holy Land on December 24, 1865, and attended a Christmas Eve Service at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Brooks was so moved by the experience that he was inspired to write this five-stanza hymn.

Lutkin set Brooks's text for alto solo, mixed choir, and organ. The piece is harmonically uncomplicated with smoothly voiced progressions through secondary dominants. The setting is rhythmically interesting as the meter shifts several times between quadruple and triple meter to suit the changes in the text. The accompaniment alternates between a broken-chord texture beneath the melodically lyric segments and a chordal texture to complement homophonic choral statements. Lutkin introduces two surprising shifts from duple to a joyful triple meter first to express praise and secondly for the final text, "We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell: O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel."

About this Item

Title
" O Little Town of Bethlehem" by Peter C. Lutkin
Subject Headings
-  Lutkin, Peter Christian, 1858-1931
-  Worship and Praise
-  Songs and Music
-  Parlor and Concert Stage
-  Progressive Era to New Era (1900-1929)
-  Articles
Genre
article
Online Format
image
online text
Description
Article. Lutkin set Brooks's text for alto solo, mixed choir, and organ. The piece is harmonically uncomplicated with smoothly voiced progressions through secondary dominants. The setting is rhythmically interesting as the meter shifts several times between quadruple and triple meter to suit the changes in the text. The accompaniment alternates between a broken-chord texture beneath the melodically lyric segments and a chordal texture to complement homophonic choral statements. Lutkin introduces two surprising shifts from duple to a joyful triple meter first to express praise and secondly for the final text, "We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell: O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel."
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Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permission ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item. Users should consult the bibliographic information that accompanies each item for specific information. This catalog data provides the details known to the Library of Congress regarding the corresponding items and may assist users in making independent assessments of the legal status of these items as related to their desired uses.

Items included here with the permission of the rights holders are indicated as such in the bibliographic record for each item.

In some cases, the Library was unable to identify a possible rights holder and has elected to place some of those items online as an exercise of fair use for strictly non-commercial educational uses. The Library of Congress would like to learn more about these materials and would like to hear from individuals or institutions that have any additional information or know of their history. Please contact:  Performing Arts Reading Room.

Suggested credit line: Library of Congress, Music Division.

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" O Little Town of Bethlehem" by Peter C. Lutkin. Online Text. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200185390/. (Accessed April 25, 2017.)

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" O Little Town of Bethlehem" by Peter C. Lutkin. [Online Text] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200185390/.

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" O Little Town of Bethlehem" by Peter C. Lutkin. Online Text. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200185390/>.