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Four Christmas carols : SATB choir with piano

by Houston Dunleavy (2005)

Score Sample

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This sample is from the Male Choir with piano version of this work
4 Christmas carols


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4 Christmas carols / music by Houston Dunleavy ; words by Laura E. Goodin.

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

Four Christmas carols


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Four Christmas carols : arr. for four-part men’s chorus / music by Houston Dunleavy ; words by Laura E. Goodin.

Version: This product features the Male Choir with piano version of this work

Library shelf no. 782.28/DUN 3 [Not for loan]

Work Overview

These four carols try to fill a void in that they are for choirs and soloists to sing, but also try to look at the themes of the Christmas story from fresh, and not always comfortable positions. We have tried to illustrate how Christmas has a prickly side too. In that we are not the first - look at Dickens's Scrooge. However, at the back of our minds has been that Christmas loses a lot of its real meaning without the tragedy and triumph of the Easter story. The cosy image of the baby lying all "meanly wrapped" is nice enough. But in about 30 years' time, the man he will grow into will suffer a gruesome and unjust death. Where is the cosiness in that? What is the point, unless the triumph occurs then rather than alongside angels and wise men?
The ambivalence of Christmas is not a popular theme during the holiday season itself. Traditions and memories overwhelm uncomfortable feelings and unexpected points of view. The human need for certainty - a formidable force at any time - becomes a compulsion: Christmas must be, and be about, all that it has always been about. People who admit doubt and sadness in the face of the Christmas story are often accused of not having faith, or told, more prosaically and rather fatuously, to think about Baby Jesus and "feel the joy of Christmas". For the people in these carols, certainty is not an option. They, like many of us (perhaps even most of us), look out on a cold and scary universe and can't quite see how it all fits together. In spite of that, they, like us, are choosing to do their best. To use the intellect they have, weak though it seems,
to try and understand. To use their hearts and voices and hands to support and encourage each other. We don't know for sure that it all makes sense somehow. But we can take the chance
that it does.

Work Details

Year: 2005

Instrumentation: SATB choir, piano (Carol of the word and Carol of the crowd) ; Unison voices or soloist, piano (Carol of the wise) ; Solo soprano or treble, SATB choir, piano (Carol of the difficult child).

Contents note: Carol of the word -- Carol of the wise -- Carol of the crowd -- Carol of the difficult child.


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