When He is King is a new kind of Choral work which incorporates different traditional Christmas elements into a continuous setting. It combines new versions of popular Advent and Christmas carols alongside sections of the Mass and fragments of the Christmas narrative taken from the Gospels. The piece also includes a setting of Robert Herrick’s ‘The Star Carol’ and a new poem, ‘Herod Speaks’ by Alasdair Middleton.
The quotation and variations on Peter Warlock’s carol, ‘Bethlehem Down’ are composed as a sort of homage to this important (and quintessentially English) composer who created a new repertoire of beautiful Christmas carols.
When He is King was written specially for the Warlock Singers and contains a number of private dedications. It is scored for SATB choir with trumpet, harp and organ.