Audio & Video. Written in 1957, the same year as Daniel Pinkham’s Christmas Cantata, the two pieces share vivid brass writing and intense rhythmic energy alternating with lyric beauty. This exists in many forms: Organ and brass, full orchestra, winds only…there’s even an arrangement for SSAA choir.
D No: 111
Text - Author or Scripture: Richard Crashaw (1613?–1649)
Performing Forces: SATB org brass timp
Date Published: FL 81
Date of Composition: 1957
Notes: Composed for the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Laying of the Foundation Cathedral, Sept. 29, 1957. In 1973 an arrangement for orchestra (strings and winds added) was made for the Choral Arts Society Christmas performances in the Kennedy Center. In 1975 a brass quartet arr. was made for use on the Christmas telecast over NBC. It is this arrangement that was published by Flammer in ’81. In 1976 it was arranged for performances by the Cathedral Choral Society, and for the University of Maryland Chorale, Paul Traver director. In 1982 the Choral Arts Society featured it on a nationwide PBS Christmas Special starring Leontyne Price as guest soloist, actor Richard Thomas as narrator, with Norman Scribner conducting. In 1992 a computer-engraved full orchestra arrangement was made.
Many performances miss the composer’s intention by avoiding the notated tempo marking. Norman Scribner, Reilly Lewis, and the Choral Arts Society nail it here. Recorded in the Cathedral for their 1998 Christmas CD.
This orchestral version was played by the St. Olaf College forces in a 1980s broadcast.
And this live performance was conducted by Wayne in the 1984 Choral Society Joy of Christmas concert. It’s a tad slower but the CCS was not exactly nimble at that time. The soprano solo is also sung by the Cathedral choirboys, who he had in top form.
Categorized as: Published Works Sacred Choral
Tagged as: brass, Christmas, organ, SATB, solo vocal, timpani