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Three Hymns for Christmas : for a capella choir

by Colin Spiers (1982)

Three Hymns for Christmas


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Three Hymns for Christmas : for a capella choir / Colin Spiers.

Library shelf no. 782.55525/SPI 2 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

As the title suggests, this is a work for the festive season. The three poems are John Byrom's "A Hymn for Christmas Day", Robert Southwell "The Burning Babe" and Thomas Traherne's "On Christmas Day". All of these poems are famous and have been set by many other composers. In this case, the settings are extremely varied in character: the first being in a modernist modal style; the second making frequent use of quartal harmony and harmonic clashes; while the last is a lively fugue, which sets only the first three stanzas of the poem.

Work Details

Year: 1982

Instrumentation: SSAATTBB choir.

Duration: 16 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — This is a challenging work, requiring excellent pitch sense to cope with the frequent and rapid shifts in keys. It also requires a high level of vocal agility in places.

Contents note: 1. A Hymn for Christmas Day (Byrom) -- 2. The Burning Babe (Southwell) -- 3. On Christmas Day (Traherne).

Dedication note: In memoriam Annie Lillian Spiers

Revised 2019.


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