Choral Music for the Season: Advent, Christmas and Epiphany


Jean Berger, "The Eyes of All Wait Upon Thee," Augsburg 11-1264. Moderately difficult SATB (some unusual melodic intervals in each voice part); well worth the effort.

Paul Bunjes, arr,, "Comfort, Comfort Ye My People" (GENEVAN 42), Concordia 98-1388. Bunjes' setting of the Genevan chorale, simply harmonized, with an active accompaniment for strings, organ, or combination. (Works well with two violins and organ if a quartet is unavailable.) Easy SATB.

Ed Harris, arr., "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus," Curtis C-8706. An easy folk-hymn setting, alternating unison with SATB. Works well as a processional. Piano.

Gustav Holst, "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" (PICARDY), Galaxy 5019. A dignified, festive setting of the French hymn for voices and organ. Moderately easy for the choir; requires a good organist. SATB and organ.

Carolyn Jennings, arr., "Mary, Mary," Curtis C 7943. An Avery and Marsh tune, effectively and simply set for SATB, piano or guitar and 2 flutes (works with other treble instruments as well).

Carolyn Jennings, "Climb to the Top of the Highest Mountain/' Curtis C 8118. A lovely tune set for youth or unison choir and SATB choir. Refrain "Behold your Lord comes to you" recurs throughout. Works very well with the combination of childrens' and adult voices. Easy, with organ accompaniment.

William Mathias, "Lift Up Your Heads, O Ye Gates," Oxford 42.380. A highly rhythmic and lively setting of Psalm 24:7-10. Some mixed meter and lots of syncopation. Rhythmically challenging for organist, conductor, and choir, but melodically quite straightforward. Bright and flashy organ part. SATB and organ.

Felix Mendelssohn, "Come, Thou Long-Awaited Savior," National CH33. A beautiful anthem, full of rich Mendelssohn harmonies and lovely singable vocal lines; uses most of the familiar "Come, Thou Long-Expected fesus" text. Set for SATB choir and piano.

Gustav Schreck, "Advent Motet, " Kjos 5083b. A rich, antiphonal piece for antiphonal choirs and soloists or small choir. Challenging, but impressive and satisfying to sing. SSAATTBB + soli.

Kayron Lee Scott, "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" (PICARDY), Carl Fischer CM 8252. A very effective and easy setting; for SATB (with some SSA) and organ.


Mary Caldwell, "A Lute Caroll," HW Gray GCMR 3427. A haunting, lush setting of the Robert Herrick's poem "What Sweeter Music"; SATB, organ, and optional flute or violin.

Davis, K. Katherine, "Sing Gloria," Warner Bros., Unison: 49020686; Two-part: 48120686; SAB: 48400686. A gently flowing, easily singable melody in 3/4 time; tells the story of the shepherds and angels.

Michael Fink, "What Sweeter Music," EC Schirmer ECS 2771. A lovely and easy carol; another setting of Robert Herrick's poem. SATB with piano or guitar.

Edwin Fissinger, arr., "The Holly and the Ivy," Jenson 411-08014. A lively anangement of the English carol with some nice SSA and TTB work. Primarily SATB.

Donald Fraser, "This Christmastide" (Jessye's Carol), Hinshaw HMC 1017. An irresistably passionate presentation of the Christmas story; a very simple melody treated in seven very different verses. Lovely, sensitive accompaniment. SATB and piano.

John Gardner, "Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day," Oxford 40-107. A highly rhythmic and syncopated presentation of the traditional English text. Alternates 2/2 and 3/4 meters throughout. SATB (can be done in unison and hoo parts), piano, tambourine, and side drum.

Noel Goemanne, "Sing We Noel," H Flammer A6340. Flashy, easy, highly rhythmic and syncopated. A good light closing piece. SATB with piano.

Kenneth Jennings, "Summer in Winter Carol," Curtis 7928. A catchy, lilting 6/8 setting of Richard Crashaio's seventeenth century poetry. A lovely text, full of contrasts, and very satisfying to sing. SATB.

Marlowe Johnson, arr., "A Gallery Carol," Schmitt, Hall, McCreary SD 5901. An easy, lightliearted carol. A good opener. SATB.

A.G. Lewis, arr., "African Noel," Plymouth Music, SA or TB: PCS 501; SAB: PCS 407. A rhythmic, animated and cheerful setting of a Liberian folk song. Simple in its repeated motives, harmonies, and text, but syncopated enough to offer some enjoyable rhythmic challenges.

W.A. Mozart, arr. K. Jennings, "Gently the Wind Is Blowing," Curtis C 8017. A lovely 6/8 chorus from Idomeneo with an English Christmas text by Jennings and Robert Scholz. SATB with piano.

Gustav Nordqvist, "Wonderful Peace," Walton W 2346. A gentle Swedish carol with the character of a lullaby. Easy—two verses to the same music. SATB.

Rick and Sylvia Powell, arr. Fred Bock, "Peace, Peace," Two-part: BG 2013; SSA: BG 4013; SATB: BG 2143. A light, easily flowing tune with flute or violin obligato. The tune first appears on its own, and then in combination with "Silent Night." A winner—can learn in one rehearsal.

Paul Sjolund, "Away in a Manger," Walton WW1023. An easy arrangement of the "Flow Gently, Sweet Afion" tune with piano accompaniment and optional flute—SATB, with some SSATBB.

Natalie Sleeth, "For Unto Us," Art Masters, SA: AMSI 340. A rich and dignified melody set for tzvo-part chorus with optional trumpet.

Natalie Sleeth, "Only a Baby Came," Hinshaw, Two-part: HMC 598. A haunting minor-mode melody set in unison at first, then in two parts; Sleeth's text is a poignant description of the ironic humility of Christ's incarnation.

Dale Warland, arr., "Catalonian Carol," Augsburg 11-2358. A brief and simple carol with childlike innocence in both text and tune ("What shall I give to the child in the manger?"). SATB with oboe.

Dale Warland, arr., "Coventry Carol," Concordia 98-1928. A dignified setting of the 16th-century carol with a slightly dissonant twist now and then. SATB.,

Thomas Weelkes/J. Haberlen, ed. "We Shepherds Sing," Kjos 5997. A lighthearted Christmas madrigal, with printed alternate (more generic) text. SSATB.

Robert Wetzler, arr., "Lullaby of the Shepherds," AMSI 338. An appealing, lyrical setting of an old German cradle song (sometimes known as "The Shepherds' Cradle Song"). SATB, soprano or tenor solo.

Healey Willan, arr., "What is this Lovely Fragrance?," Walton WEI 589. A lush, moderately easy setting of the French carol; two verses are unison, one is SATB.

Richard Zgodava, arr., "Noel Noevelet," Augsburg 11-0520. An old French carol in a fresh guise—moderately difficult, but catchy and fun to sing. SATB.

Roy Zimmerman "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming," Shawnee A1507. Some unusual and modem harmonies characterize this rather easy setting of the old German carol. SATB, soli, and piano or flute and guitar.


Thomas Attwood, "O God, Who by the Leading of a Star," Oxford 43305. This 18th-century English setting of the Collect for Epiphany pom the Book of Common Prayer is not difficult; ends with a beautiful "Amen." SATB, with organ.

Olaf C. Christiansen, "Light Everlasting," Kjos 5110. A moderately easy anthem, certainly usable by church choirs; opens and closes with homophony, and the intervening passage uses fairly simple imitation. SATB.

Davis Folkerts, "Arise, Shine, for Your Light Is Come," CRC Publications # 241-198-00. This simple Israeli-style folk setting oflsaish 60 is arranged for SATB with the congregation on the refrains. With flute and keyboard.

Johannes Eccard, "The Presentation of Christ in the Temple," G. Schirmer 2618. Subdued but lush harmonies characterize this late 16th- century setting of the story of Simeon and the child Jesus. SSATBB.

Orlando Gibbons, "Hosanna to the Son of David," GCMR 01983. A moderately difficult but marvelously dramatic depiction of this text. SSATTB.

Christian I. Latrobe, "Lord, Now Lettest Thou Thy Servant," Boosey and Hawkes 6132. A simple, homophonic setting of the Nunc Dimittis text by one of the Moravian composers; 3/4 time, moderate tempo. Rather high soprano part. SATB with keyboard.

Austin C. Lovelace, "Epiphany Carol," GIA G-3176. This is an easy setting of "Eastern Monarchs, Sages Three," well within the range of any church choir (lots of unison, limited SATB). SATB and keyboard.

Elizabeth Poston, "Jesus Christ the Apple Tree," Concordia 98-2664. A haunting 18th-century text, set beautifully to an equally mysterious tune by Poston. Some unison, some SSA, some SATB.,

Michael Praetorius "How Lovely Shines the Morning Star," T. Presser 312-40184. A full and bright anthem, alternating 6/4 and 4/4 time and 4/4. Unusual 5-part voicing called for (SATTB); but could easily be performed SAATB, using altos on the Tenor I part.

Gardner Read, arr., "Star in the East," Lawson Gould 52063. A pleasant, simple setting of a characteristically earthy Southern Harmony tune. SATB (some SSA divisi), soprano solo.

Carl Schalk, "Before the Marvel of this Night," Augsburg 11-2005. A beautiful text by Jaroslav Vajda, sensitively set by Schalk. SATB, with optional instruments (strings, horns, flute or oboe, handbells).

John Stevens, ed., "There Is No Rose," (in 100 Carols for Choirs, Oxford, 1987). A wonderful introduction to medieval carols. Not difficult; SAT refrain, and tzvo-part (ST) verses.

Randall Thompson, "The Best of Rooms," E.C. Schirmer ECS 2672. A magnificent, if challenging setting of Robert Herrick's 1647 poem "Christ's Part." Good intonation is crucial for the many key changes. SATB.

Healey Willan, "Three Bangs," Oxford 43214. A rich and harmonically unusual version of the story of the visit of the Magi. SSATBB, some antiphonal.

Richard Zgodava,"Out of the Orient Crystal Skies," Augsburg 11-2300. A beautiful arrangement of a minor-mode carol about the visit of the wise men. SATB.

Reformed Worship 17 © September 1990, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.