Academic journal article Journal of Singing

A Hope Carol

Academic journal article Journal of Singing

A Hope Carol

Article excerpt

Single Songs

Composed in 2006 and dedicated to Elizabeth Mannion, "A Hope Carol" is a setting of a poem by Christina Rossetti, the most prominent woman of the Victorian Pre-Raphaelite movement in England during the mid nineteenth century. Christina was a devout High Anglican influenced by the Oxford Movement and became increasingly religious throughout her life. A victim of Graves Disease, she was an invalid in her later years and wrote many poems on death and somber religious themes.

The poem at hand appears to describe her hope for a glimpse of the afterlife. Each of the three stanzas begins with a description of a mental time or place ("A Night was near, a day was near"-"Below the stars, beyond the moon"-"To-day or may be not to-day") in which the poet hears voices calling to her, and ends with the phrase "I long to see."

The piano prelude sets up the mood of the text with soft descending chords over a repeated pedal tone on the dominant in the first three measures, followed by the broken chord pattern in the left hand and melodic pattern high on the keyboard that will be a prominent motto theme throughout the song. The piano part is quite linear in the first and third stanzas, with melodic fragments in middle voices as well as in the upper register. …

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