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for SATB and organ Written for the 2018 BBC Advent broadcast sung by the choir of St John's College, Cambridge, A Prayer to St John the Baptist sets an artfully crafted text that combines Guido d'Arezzo's Ut queant laxis (itself a Hymn to John the Baptist, as well as a medieval music-teaching mnemonic) with Thomas Merton's poem on the same subject. The organ's flowing quavers represent Merton's baptismal 'rivers of water', while the largely octatonic melodies conjure a tellingly mysterious atmosphere.
for SS and organ This movement from Make We Merry sets the words of the seventeenth-century Christmas text 'Sweet was the song' to a straightforward and lyrical solo line in the first soprano part, with an imitative second soprano part joining towards the end. The organ accompaniment gently underpins the tender vocal lines throughout.
for SA/SATB and organ with optional percussion This is a jaunty and original setting of the popular carol 'Rejoice and be merry', flexibly scored so that the tenor and bass parts are optional. It has been recorded by Tenebrae (conducted by Nigel Short) on the album A Very English Christmas (SIGCD902).
for CCBar and piano This arrangement of the well-loved spiritual celebrates gospel style in all its colours, through rhythm, close harmony, memorable melody, and piano riffs. Ian Crawford is Director of Music at The King's School in Macclesfield and musical director of Cambiata North West.
for SATB unaccompanied James Kevin Gray's tender carol Little Baby, Born of Mary successfully juxtaposes sound and silence, with warm harmonies and gentle rhythms providing the musical backdrop for the timeless story of the nativity.
for SSAA unaccompanied or with optional handbells (or percussion, or organ) Sarah Quartel brings a fresh take on a familiar fifteenth-century text in this carol for upper voices. The dialogue between Mary and the infant Jesus is woven to a beguiling folk-like melody, in 6/8 metre, through each of the voice parts, with each verse ending in the lilting refrain 'Lully, by by, lullay'. The carol may be sung unaccompanied, though for added sparkle there is an optional part for handbells (or percussion or organ).
for SATB double choir unaccompanied or SATB (with divisions) and organ This anthem is a tender setting of a prayer by the 13th-century bishop St Richard of Chichester. It features on The King's Singers' albums High Flight (SIGCD262) and Christmas Presence (SIGCD801).
for solo tenor and SSATB unaccompanied Following on from the publication of Jackson's settings of the seven 'O' antiphons under the title Seven Advent Antiphons, O Virgo virginum is a setting of the Latin text recognised as the eighth 'O' antiphon and performed as such in many Christian traditions. Jackson's imaginative setting features a melismatic line for tenor soloist and aleatoric writing.
for soprano solo, SATB, piano, bass, drums and optional alto saxophone Will Todd's Mass in Blue is a dynamic, uplifting, and highly popular jazz setting of the Latin mass. The work features driving grooves and blues harmonies, with provision for short piano solos (notated or improvised) and great moments of musical interplay between soprano soloist and choir. This fantastic backing CD, recorded by the Will Todd Trio, is ideal for rehearsal use.
for unison voices, with optional second part, and piano This is the key is a dramatic, narrative piece, perfect for children's and youth choirs. It can be sung in unison throughout, or the score contains options for two parts, sometimes singing alternating phrases and at other times singing together in two-part harmony. Sections in different tempos and keys create a variety of moods, and the continuous piano part features running quavers, a rhythmic bass line, and shimmering spread chords.
for SATB with optional piano Inspired by the simple directness of William Chatterton Dix's vivid, pictorial text, the composer explores the breadth of the choral canvas in this expressive and artful carol. The piece has a straightforward verse-chorus structure, with gentle development of the verse material and an effective motif to close each verse, making it accessible to and rewarding for choirs of all abilities. Also available in a version for upper voices.
for SATB unaccompanied This secular work by John Rutter is set to the text of Shakespeare's famous Sonnet No. 18. Throughout the work, Rutter skilfully weaves the figurative language of the sonnet within the lyrical melodic lines of the music. Shakespeare's expressive text is passed between the voices, with the warm, verdant harmonies enveloping the sonnet's use of imagery and the work's central metaphor of comparing love to a summer's day.
for SATB unaccompanied The Scholar is a sensitive setting of Robert Southey's poem that explores a man's kinship with the dead. With Bednall's characteristic metrical fluidity and effective word setting, this piece will provide a moment of quiet reflection in a concert programme.
for SATB unaccompanied A group of three miniatures for unaccompanied mixed voices, Some corner of a foreign field sets poems by three First World War soldiers: John William Streets, Goldfeld (about whom no more than his surname is known), and Rupert Brooke. Bednall's settings are slow, expansive, and expressive, giving space for the listener to reflect on the profoundly moving texts. Brooke's 'The Soldier' brings a particularly poignant conclusion to the set, with melismas employed for dramatic effect.
for SATB and piano This original suite sets anonymous instructions found in packaging to general household goods, providing amusing and theatrical highlights as well as musical interplay and formal episodes. The three contrasting movements are contemporary yet accessible in style, with catchy melodies and jazz-inspired harmonies.
for CCBar & piano This fine arrangement of the popular sea-shanty 'Haul away' provides enjoyment and learning opportunities through call-and-response, opportunities for solos, amusing (and historical) lyrics, and an appealing, catchy chorus. A footnote makes further suggestions for choreography and how to inject the drama of the open seas.
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