Adam Lay Ybounden

Date Completed

November 1, 1987


Choral (more like this)







Difficulty Level


Liturgical Use

Advent, Christmas, Lessons and Carols, Marian Feasts




Anonymous English Carol, 15th Century


Adam Lay Ybounden


(Old) English

Date Written

15th Century


Adam lay ybounden,
Bounden in a bond;
Four thousand winter
Thought he not too long.

And all was for an apple,
An apple that he took,
As clerkes finden
Written in their book.

Ne had the apple taken been,
The apple taken been
Ne had never our lady
Abeen heavené queen.

Blessed be the time
That apple taken was,
Therefore we moun singen
Deo gracias!




Publication Data

Publisher Name

Aureole Editions (distributed through MorningStar Music)

Date Published


Catalog Number

AE 64


On the 2nd beat of measure 6, there should be an F# in the treble clef staff — right hand part — that carries through the measure.




Composed for Christmas Lessons and Carols 1987 for the Choir of Walnut Hill Lutheran Church while I was serving as organist/choirmaster there (Fall 1986 through June 1988).

Joel's Comments

This anthem was composed for a choir of very modest means and ability, and is a "crescendo piece," with the choral parts becoming denser and the organ registration increasing until the fortissimo climax. The choir for which it was composed had sung the Boris Ord setting the previous year, and it had been a struggle for them — textually (the parts coming in and out), harmonically, and singing a cappella — so I wrote this heavily unison and parallel-harmony accompanied work for our second Lessons and Carols in 1987.

I continue to be very happy with this piece and would encourage anyone who conducts a Lessons and Carols service to look at this as a response to the First Lesson. I would venture that I have conducted or heard this anthem sung by more choirs than any other work of mine. It's very effective (and easy!) and will save rehearsal time for other, more difficult, works.

The recording listed below is very fine. My only wish is that the organ would be more present.


Hark! A Thrilling Voice
Christmas at the Church of the Incarnation, Dallas, Texas
The Chancel Choir with The Sundance Brass
Director: Kevin M. Clarke
Organists: D. Keith Franks and James Holyer
Organ: Aeolian-Skinner/Noack Organ
Release Date: 2001
Pro Organo
CD 7135
(also includes Evening Service for the Incarnation)

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