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Three Christmas carols : SATB choir with organ

by Brett McKern (2007)

Three Christmas carols


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Three Christmas carols / music arranged by Brett M McKern.

Library shelf no. 782.28/MCK 2 [Not for loan]

Work Overview

All of these carols use sixteenth and seventeenth century melodies. The first two carols are very famous melodies. The third has a very famous text set here to an old tune contemporary with the text. The melody is called 'In der Wiegen' and suits a carol text very well.

All three settings are for choir. These are not intended as congregational settings, but more as the type of anthem or motet that may be used in the appropriate season or at a carol service.

Ding Dong! is a bright and chirpy arrangement with a hint of jazz style in the verse accompaniment. The non-melodic parts are intended to sounds as bells of varying sizes, and thus it is recommended that the singers sing on the 'ng' sound of 'ding' and 'dong'. Dynamics have been left to the choral director, and a tempo marking is deliberately absent, but faster rather than slower is preferable.

Gabriel's Message is a well-known annunciationtide text. The text includes three characters: Mary, Gabriel and the narrator. The setting is quite conversational and all three characters have distinctive parts sung by various voices. Although there are short organ interludes between the unaccompanied verses, the whole could be sung unaccompanied if these organ sections are omitted.

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks is set in a homophonic style for the first four verses, and this arrangement could be used throughout a capella if preferred. Verse five is set as a faux bourdon with the melody in the tenor part. The last verse has a descant for the sopranos and the melody is otherwise sung in unison, the accompaniment filling in the harmony. The accompaniment could be played on organ or piano.

Work Details

Year: 2007

Instrumentation: Ding dong! - SSATB choir unaccompanied ; Gabriel's message - SATB choir, organ ; While shepherds watched their flocks - SATB choir, organ or piano.

Duration: 8 min.

Difficulty: Medium — 'Ding Dong!' is of advanced difficulty

Contents note: Ding dong! (2 min., 10 sec.) -- Gabriel's message (2 min.) --  While shepherds watched their flocks by night (3 min., 30 sec.).

Dedication note: 'Gabriel's Message' is dedicated to Meg Shaw.

Commission note: 'Gabriel's Message' is arranged for The Cathedral Singers new CD, Advent 2007.

First performance: by The Cathedral Singers, Mervyn Byers — 2 Dec 07. Advent Carols Service, St Alban's Church, Leura, Blue Mountains, NSW


Performances of this work

1 Dec 13: St Alban's Church, Leura, NSW. Featuring The Cathedral Singers, Jim Abraham.

1 Dec 09: St Andrews Church, Lane Cove, NSW. Featuring The Cathedral Singers.

7 Dec 08: St John's Church, Balmain NSW. Featuring The Cathedral Singers.

20 Dec 07: Sydney Hospital. Featuring The Cathedral Singers.

8 Dec 07: Consulate of the Solomon Islands, Oakhurst, NSW. Featuring The Cathedral Singers.

7 Dec 07: Cardinal Cerretti Memorial Chapel, St Patrick’s Estate, Manly NSW. Featuring The Cathedral Singers.

2 Dec 07: Advent Carols Service, St Alban's Church, Leura, Blue Mountains, NSW. Featuring The Cathedral Singers, Mervyn Byers.

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