Richard Lambert Music

Adam Lay Ybounden (Op.16)

A lively carol anthem for SATB choir, oboe, small drum and organ mixing bare fifth and modern choral harmony with a shawn-like Arabic flavour

This carol was originally composed in 1978, but revised in 1992 for publication in 'GCSE Music' (Longman). The original version was first performed by Chanticleer Chamber Choir in Barley Church, Hertfordshire, and the final version was premiered by the choir of Royston Parish Church - both conducted by the composer.

Using an anonymous 15th century text, a flavour of antiquity has been created by a prominent use of bare consecutive fifths in the voice parts, by the chant-like use of male voices, ostinato drum patterns and by persistent drone notes in the organ accompaniment.

The oboe is instructed to play like a shawm - with a harder tone than usual, emulating the precursor of the modern oboe. The reiterated oboe counter melody has an Arabic flavour, and is slightly varied on each hearing.

Apart from the final two bars, the drum part has two simple ostinato figures which are highly repetitive.

Repeated ostinato bars are also prominent in the organ part, and the opening choral figure is used, with slight variation, in each verse.


  1. 10 December 1978, Barley Church, near Royston (Herts, UK), Chanticleer Chamber Choir, Richard Lambert (conductor)
  2. 20 December 1992, Royston Parish Church carol service (Herts, UK), Adrian Jacobs (organ), Richard Lambert (conductor)
  3. 14 December 1993, Fulbourn Church, Cambridge, UK, Chanticleer chamber choir, Roger Pope (organ), Richard Lambert (conductor)
  4. 19 December 1993, Royston Parish Church carol service, (Herts, UK), Richard Lambert (conductor)
  5. 17 December 1997, St. Helen's School carol service (Middx, UK), Tansy Castledine (organ), Richard Lambert (conductor)



This recording of Adam Lay Ybounden was produced using computer software called Sibelius: it is not a live recording.


You can view and purchase the score of Adam Lay Ybounden from Score Exchange.

If you wish to listen to the piece on that website, select the ‘MP3 file’ link instead of playing the embedded score for better audio quality.

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