Magazine article The American Organist

Choral Old and New

Magazine article The American Organist

Choral Old and New

Article excerpt

Though it is too late for this Christmas, I thought you might like to get a head start on 2007 with your Advent/Christmas repertoire!

THE OXEN, Mark Sirett (ECS Publishing 6415), SATB and harp or piano. Thomas Hardy's evocative poem is given an equally atmospheric setting by the Canadian composer Mark Sirett. If you know other music of Sirett's (like the lovely Christmas motet, "Thou Shalt Know Him"), you know how beautifully he writes for voices. This is another gem with a finely wrought harp part. It would be marvelous for a Christmas Eve service

HYMN TO MARY, Porkell Sigurbjornsson (Oxford University Press), SATBB with soprano solo a cappella. This is a haunting little piece by an Icelandic composer that will work as long as you have basses with a low E-and lots of them! It is not difficult for the choir (they sing a repeated refrain); the soprano solo needs to convey a folk-like quality.

THE ANGEL GABRIEL, air. David Schelat (OUP), SATB, organ, and finger cymbals or triangle. Here is a charming setting of the Basque carol that alternates the melody from women to men with an inventive vocal accompaniment to support the tune. Not difficult and a creative addition to the Christmas repertoire.

'TIS WINTER NOW, arr. Monte Mason (Walton HL08500388), two-part and organ. This winter carol, words by Samuel Longfellow, is simple and elegant: A unison verse, a verse in canon, and a final verse again in unison set to the tune "Danby." The organ part substantially fills in the harmonies. Perfect for a winter Sunday when many of your singers have gone skiing!

LULLA FOR CHRISTMASTIDE, Mark Kilstofte (Newmatic Press ), SATB a cappella. This is a beautiful setting of the familiar 17th-century lullaby ("Sweet was the song") by South Carolinian Mark Kilstofte. It is a fresh look at the lullaby with a floating soprano part and gentle ATB chords underneath. …

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