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companion piece(s) for Vaughan Williams' "Fantasia on Christmas Carols"

Hi all,
I will be doing R. Vaughan Willaims' Fantasia on Christmas Carols this December with my church choir. I will be assembling a chamber orchestra to accompany, and I am looking for one or more other short works for SATB chorus and orchestra (or subset thereof) to add to the program. I won't have a full orchestra, but I will have strings, organ/keyboard, and a handful of winds and brass (exact forces TBD - I will be "arranging" the RVW to fit what I am able to pull together). Since I will have all of those musicians handy, I would like to make more use of them.
The music will be performed within the context of a church service (one of our two annual Music Sunday celebrations) so I have room for anywhere from 25 - 45 minutes worth of music. The Vaughan Williams is about 11 - 12 minutes long. There are about 24 singers in my choir, and they are mostly strong singers - although rehearsal time is always limited, so music that is quick to learn for experienced singers is preferred. The orchestra will be a mix of professionals and amateurs.
Ideally, companion pieces would be:
- 3 - 6 minutes long
- by an English or American composer of the same vintage (not necessary)
- Christmas or Advent-themed
- scored for chamber orchestra and SATB chorus (without any unusual intruments required - i.e. celesta, etc.)
None of the above is a deal-breaker if not met. It would be nice if the work was in the public domain as well since my budget is rather small.
Composers: I would be interested in doing a new or recent work as well, but keep in mind that my budget is close to zilch, so purchasing a full set of orchestral parts and vocal scores is out of the question. Also, it will be performed within the context of a worship service, so the performance will be exempt from performance rights as well. But it you've got a piece that you'd like performed regardless, let me know!
Any ideas for repertoire will be much appreciated - thanks!
- Ted Hine
Director of Music
Universalist Church of West Hartford
Replies (6): Threaded | Chronological
on August 28, 2012 9:30am
I have written a set of a dozen carols to texts of Eleanor Farjeon called Come Christmas.
The premier, at Stanford last November, was on a concert that included the RVW.  
The scoring is 2222/2200/timp/perc/hp/strings.  A dozen is too many for you,
but you could pick and choose.  Some of the numbers
are more lightly scored.  Some call for soloists.  Rescoring is possible -
I would be glad to assist you on that.  Let me know if you care to 
see a vocal score and recording.  Zilch is fine with me.  
Three of the pieces are in print in different versions.  Visit
the Farjeon numbers.
Brian Holmes
Winner, 2012 American Prize in Choral Composition
Applauded by an audience of 1
on August 30, 2012 1:28pm
I'm pleased to learn of Brian's 2012 Ameircan Prize in Choral Composition.  He's an especially gracious person who's clearly very generous with his work.  I look forward to learning more about his Farjeon-set pieces called, "Come Christmas." -- Doug Albertson, Dir of Creative Arts, 1st UMC, Santa Rosa, CA
on August 30, 2012 6:13pm
Hey everyone!
A moment of applause for Doug, who bravely staged my Christmas opera
at his church some years ago!  Hip hip..... hooray!
Hi Doug!
I still have your address, so I will send you a copy of Come Christmas.
on August 29, 2012 5:11am
My *Images of Christmas* (SATB, opt. 2-pt treble, hp and/or organ; Thomas House/Fred Bock) has an orchestration available that can be customized easily to your exact instrumentation (whatever that winds up being). You can hear the original at; look for <robertross11> and you'll find a recording. I can also send you the orchestral track if that would be helpful. Duration is c. 4:30.
Please let me know if this would be of interest.
Robert A.M. Ross
Finalist, 2012 American Prize for Choral Composition
on August 29, 2012 8:32am
There are so many possibilities it is difficult to reply!  I would browse the OUP (Oxford University Press) catalog where you will find numerous considerations (carol arrangements) for Christmas by Rutter, Willcocks, Wilberg and more.  Many of the OUP "Carols for Choirs" accompaniments and some of the Rutter carol books published by Hinshaw are for ful orchestra but have reductions such as what you are doing with the RVW.  Since many of the settings are very popular you may be able to borow copies and parts from ChoralNet users.
Best wishes
Scott Dean
First Presbyterian Church of Bellevue, WA
on August 31, 2012 7:26am
Hi Ted:  I think you should look at "Christmas Day" by Gustav Holst
Good Luck
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