Australian Christmas suite for organ : organ solo
by Robert Ampt (1988)
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The suite is basd on 5 of the James/Wheeler Australian Christmas Carols. Merry Christmas presents the melody in canon over a drone-like bass. The canon is framed by a short fanfare based on the final line of the melody. In The Silver Stars are in the Sky, the almost static chords and clusters through which the melody moves evoke the mystery of the enormous, Australian night sky. Carol of the Birds (manuals only) depicts the Christmas dance of the long-legged brolgas. The Day that Christ was Born on is a gently, rocking lullaby with the melody on a 4' pedal stop. The finale Christmas Day, also know as The North Wind, opens with a brilliant octave statement of the first line of the carol. It continues as a jouous, rollicking litany, repeating over and over while the complete carol is heard in augmentation in the pedal.
Duration: 10 min.
Difficulty: Medium — 4 chorale-prelude movements (medium) and 1 Sortie (difficult)
First performance: by Robert Ampt — 1988. Sydney University Great Hall
The suite can be performed in total as a concert item, with or without the carols being sung by a choir or soloist. They are all in the original keys. Individual movements can also work well as service interludes or chorale preludes where the modern but definitely not avant garde style will not frighten worshipers.
Performances of this work
1988: Sydney University Great Hall. Featuring Robert Ampt.
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