“In the Bleak Midwinter” is a Christmas carol based on a poem by the English poet Christina Georgina Rossetti, who was a devout Christian and is considered one of the most important women poets of nineteenth-century England. Roseetti’s “bleak midwinter” poem was written in 1872, during a time of intense personal grief while her beloved brother Dante suffered an emotional breakdown. The poem was kept among her private papers, and only discovered and published posthumously. The poem has been set to several different melodies. However, the most familiar musical setting is a hauntingly beautiful melody by classical composer Gustav Holst (1874-1934) of the famous Planets orchestral suite fame.
The most moving performance I have ever heard of “In the Bleak Midwinter” was by Norwegian soprano Sissel Kyrkjebø (simply known as Sissel) during the 2006 Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert. It is simply a match made in heaven. Enjoy! – MoSop