I Know Not How That Bethlehem’s Babe was written by Harry Webb Farrington and is in Public Domain. As with many of my hymn tunes, I used words from a hymn that I didn’t know and re-set them with my own preferences and personality. Harry Webb Farrington was an American author, hymn writer, preacher, and teacher. Farrington was born in 1879 in the Bahamas and then moved to Maryland. Harry Webb Farrington was raised in the Darlington United Methodist Church.
He worked for a while in a paper mill, then attended Lycoming College in Pennsylvania. He later graduated from Syracuse University in 1907 and continued his education at Boston and Harvard Universities. Farrington later became an ordained minister for the Methodist Church and served as pastor of Grace Methodist Church in New York City from 1920 to 1923. He died in 1930 after being paralyzed in an accident and was buried in Pine Lawn Cemetery in Long Island, NY. He wrote 30 or more hymns, including I Know Not How That Bethlehem’s Babe, Righteous Man of Galilee, and others.
The text describes the wonder of Jesus, from the manger birth through the resurrection. There is a sense of wonder and mystery, as well as celebration. When setting these words I focused on the celebration aspect. I did that by adding triangle, tambourine, and a rollicking melody in an easily singable range and four-part harmony.
If you would like to learn more about this piece click HERE, or send me a message.