Carols for Christmastide
- Catalogue #
- t1p 008
- unaccompanied SATB
- Page count
- 190.5mm x 270mm
- Publication date
- October 15, 2015
A set of three new carols for unaccompanied chorus of mixed voices.
new carols from:
1. Be we merry (words: 15th century)
2. The dayspring carol (words: Helene Bouman Debelak)
3. O my dear heart (Balulalow) (words: Paraphrase of Luther’s Vom Himmel hoch)
The term Christmas Carol covers such a broad spectrum of seasonal music these days as to be almost meaningless. What a pleasure, then, to be handed a set of three such items that absolutely embody what a good carol should be! The first two pithy, full of dance-like energy and presented in a classic verse-refrain structure – great for choirs with limited learning time! – the third, a setting of Balulalow, its ancient text complemented by the composer’s minor-modal harmony, the evocative juxtaposition of triple and duple rhythms painting a vivid picture of the mother rocking her child.
Three very different texts, two ancient one brand new, each one using that familiarly seasonal device of combining English and Latin and all perfectly suitable for liturgical or concert use.
These three composers are clearly aware of the practicalities of running choirs. Each carol is approachable, impeccably presented on the page, and achievable, I would say, for any SATB ensemble. I am particularly enamoured of Michael Wolniakowski’s Be We Merry refrain which makes clever use of a perfect canon between the upper and lower parts which sounds wonderfully complex but is easily rehearsed in unison.
Robert Lind makes excellent use of solo-voice verses which puts Helene Bouman Debelak’s attractive new text centre stage, and Maurice Boyer repeats his choral material with a soaring soprano solo and suggests bookending the piece with the melody sung in unison or hummed – again an excellent compositional device for the busy choir!
For the price of a single piece, your choir gets three new carols, each a clever combination of tradition and innovation, each a pleasure to hear and to sing, each entirely practical and approachable – a great addition to any aspiring choir’s Christmas repertoire.
Jamie W. Hall, bass-baritone
Ramsey Choral Society
The Allegri Singers