Beckenhorst PressBP1700, SATB, $2.25 Within this octavo are three separate Polish carols arranged by Mark Hayes, each possessing its own musical flavor. “O Come Rejoicing” begins brightly, the dance-like melody skipping across the G-major tonic chord, and then slows and broadens through Verses 2 and 3, ending in a 6-part fortissimo. “Only a Manger Bed” is a slow 6/8 lullaby, with vocal parts full of rich sonorities in A-minor underscored by a flowing arpeggiated piano accompaniment. The ending is pianissimo, a pristine Picardy – breathtaking! While Hayes employs primarily homophonic voicing in these first two pieces, in the 3rd carol, “In Midnight’s Silence,” he uses canon between the women and men as well as a section in which the tenors and basses act as a 2-part ostinato beneath the ladies’ canon. The technique fits so well with the cut-time meter, the lively tempo, and the bright A-major harmonies, and finishes joyously, “Praise to God on high!” The piano accompaniments are somewhat challenging, and there is some divisi in the vocal parts throughout, but the partwriting is straightforward, so whether programmed as a suite or sung separately, these carols present a wonderful opportunity for fine high school and adult choirs to experience Christmas music from this rich culture. To listen to a music sample, click link below:
THREE CHRISTMAS CAROLS FROM POLAND
Within this octavo are three separate Polish carols arranged by Mark Hayes, each possessing its own musical flavor.