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One of the most popular lullaby carols in the francophone world, D’où viens-tu, bergère? takes the form of a dialog between inquisitive villagers and a young shepherd girl who has just returned from the manger. Sirett’s setting aims to capture the increasing curiosity that the villagers must have felt as, one by one, pieces of the miracle are revealed to them. The opening invokes the gentle serenity of the Christ-child, while subsequent verses depict the excited murmurings of the crowd and their changes in mood.

Conductor, composer, pianist, and organist Mark Sirett (b. 1952) is the founding Artistic Director of the award-winning Cantabile Choirs of Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Commissions have included works for the National Youth Choir of Canada, the Amabile Youth Singers, Ottawa Regional Youth Choir, Elora Festival Singers, University of Iowa, and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.

D’où viens-tu, bergère, d’où viens-tu?
Je viens de l’étable de m’y promener,
J’ai vu un miracle ce soir arriver.

Qu’as-tu vu bergère, Qu’as-tu vu?
J’ai vu dans la crèche un petit enfant
Sur la paille fraîche mis bien tendrement.

Est-il beau bergère, Est-il beau?
Plus beau que la lune, plus que le soleil
Jamais dans le monde on vit son pareil.

Rien de plus bergère, rien de plus?
Ya trois anges, descendus du ciel,
Chantant les louanges du Père éternel.

Where do you come from, shepherdess?
I’ve come from the stable, where a star shone bright,
There I saw a miracle which arrived this night.

What did you see, shepherdess? What did you see?
I saw a tiny newborn child in the manger
On the fresh straw placed tenderly.

Is he handsome, shepherdess? Is he handsome?
More handsome than the moon, more than the sun
Never in the world has anyone seen such.

Anything else, shepherdess? Anything else?
There were three angels, descended from heaven,
Singing praises to the Father eternal.