The words of “The Lord at first did Adam make” are traditional in the world of English Christmas carols. The first published setting appears in Davies Gilbert’s 1822 collection “Some Ancient Christmas Carols…Formerly Sung in the West of England.” The carol relates the events of Genesis, Chapter 3, concerning the evils befalling humanity since that first fall and humanity’s subsequent redemption. During Advent a traditional theme is of the birth of Jesus being the coming of the “Second Adam”.
This text has been set by a number of composers. This contemporary setting is based on a new, original tune. It shifts between major and minor modalities and passes through several keys while allowing each part to share the melody. It was premiered in 1992 by St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral of Minneapolis.