Christmas by instrumentation: with brass
Date: Wed, 26 Apr 1995 18:34:55 -0400
Subject: Brass&Chorus followup list
As requested by several people, I am posting here the results of my query of
a month or so ago concerning Christmas works for chorus and brass. Although
the query concerned works with brass ensemble, I received some suggestions
with only one type of brass instrument. I also received some suggestions of
works that are not specifically for Christmas. I have included all the
suggestions I received and the ones I mentioned in my original query. Of
course this is not an attempt at a comprehensive list. In fact, I am familiar
with a few other short works and some less specialized ones that might fit
into this category. Obviously, I cannot list everything here. But I did want
to honor the request of those responders who asked me to post my results. I
thank everyone who offered suggestions!
#On my original list:
Pinkham: "Christmas Cantata" (Robert King)
Pinkham: "Fanfares" (EC Schirmer)
Pinkham: "The Guiding Star" (Thorpe Music)
Susa: "A Christmas Garland" (EC Schirmer)
Rutter: "Gloria" (Oxford)
Frackenpohl: "A Child This Day" (Mark Foster)
Praetorius: "In dulci jubilo" (Robert King)
Korte: "Music for a New Christmas" (EC Schirmer)
#CHORALIST members' suggestions and other works I have located that use the
scoring I was looking for (brass ensemble):
Randall Stroop: "Hodie" (Mark Foster)
Marvin Curtis: "Glory to God" (Mark Foster ?); too "contemp. gospel"
for my program
Dirksen: "Welcome All Wonders" (Shawnee)
James Laster: "Carol Fest" (Concordia)
Randall Alan Bass: "Gloria" (Plymouth)
Dufay: "Et in terra pax" (canon; various editions)
Emma Lou Diemer: "A Feast of Christmas" (Santa Barbara Music)
Howard Cable: "O Christmas Tree" and "Ding Dong, Merrily on High"
Longhurst: "Angels We Have Heard on High" (Sonos: Jackman Music)
Christiansen: "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" ((Sonos: Jackman Music)
Elliott: "O Come All Ye Faithful" (Sonos: Jackman Music)
Thomas Canning: "An Offering of Carols and Rounds" (American
Lloyd Pfautsch: " Puer nobis" (Lawson-Gould)
Lawrence E. Tagg: "Hodie Christus natus est" (Summy Birchard)
Everett Titcomb: "Adeste fideles" (C.F. Peters)
Robert Washburn: "A Child This Day Is Born" (Shawnee)
Robert Washburn: "Gloria in excelsis" (Oxford)
Johann Rudolph Ahle: "Magnificat" (1657) (publisher ?)
Gloria section of any mass for brass and chorus, e.g. Joseph Jongen's
G. Gabrieli: various double choir works, such as "O magnum mysterium"
(e.g. Concordia, Moesler), "Hodie Christus natus est" (e.g.
Moesler, Costallat), "Quem vidistis pastores" (e.g. G. Schirmer,
Kunzlemann), "O Jesu mi dulcissime" (e.g. Unicorn, Costallat),
and "Angelus ad ait" (e.g. C.F. Peters--Litoff) in which brass
could play one choir's part
#Suggestions not for Christmas or not with the scoring I was looking for (not
for brass ensemble):
Bruckner: "Christmas Motet" (Musica Rara; 3 trombones)
Bruckner: "Virga Jesse" & "Christus factus est" (these motets are a
cappella; the brass-accompanied ones I know are with trombones
only [e.g., "Libara me", "Afferentur", and "Inveni David"] and
are not appropriate for Christmas)
Rod Nimitz: "Lift up Your Heads" (Mark Foster; trumpets only)
Rob Ross: "Ye Men [or Seers] of Vision" (brass quintet & organ;
unpuplished; contact RobertamR(a)aol.com)
Ross: "Images of Christmas" (Thomas House/Intrada)
Hancy Hill Cobb: "A Christmas Gloria" (Gentry)
Halsey Stevens: "Magnificat" (Mark Foster; one trumpet & keyboard;
I've done this work before and like it very much)
Schuetz: "Psalm 150" (various editions)
Vaughan Williams: "O Clap Your Hands" (Oxford)
three works by Randall Alan Bass that are for chorus and orchestra:
"Christmas Flourish", "A Feast of Carols", and " Christmas
Ornaments" (Plymouth Music)
Again, thanks to everyone for your assistance.
William J. Bullock
Schwob Department of Music
P.S. I will be closing this particular aol account (SMCenter) soon and using
only my personal account (WmBullock). Or, you could reach me at my college
e-mail address: Bullock_William(a)cc.csg.peachnet.edu.
(I'm posting this on behalf of Laura Russell)
Here is a compilation of christmas works for chorus & brass. Many thanks for
all your contributions.
The original request:
I would appreciate the list's suggestions for pieces of easy-to-moderate
difficulty for college-level SATB chorus, brass, and organ/piano appropriate
for a Christmas concert. You may e-mail me privately, and I will post to the
list if there is interest. Thanks.
You might try In Ecclesiis by Gabrieli. It is at the upper range of
moderate. It features 3 choirs, 2 vocal and 1 brass or 2 brass and 1
vocal it has been 5 years since I sung it. I cannot remember if it was
a christmas work but the university choir I learned it in was preparing
it at christmas. Anyway worth a look especially if you have somewhere
accoustic to perform in.
Hodie, by Z Randall Stroope. It's a wonderful little piece!
Artistic Director, The Helios Ensemble
Here are some good works:
Conrad Susa A Christmas Garland (actually for more than brass/organ,
but there is a version for brass/organ
Daniel Pinkham Christmas Cantata
John Rutter Gloria
David Willcocks Eight Carols for Brass and Organ
Frances Fowler Slade
Princeton Pro Musica
Conrad Susa's "Christmas Garland" is available in a version for brass and
organ, parts for rental only from ECs Publishing. Call us for more info.
Pres., ECS Publishing, Boston
Producer, ARSIS Audio, Boston
I don't have a Christmas piece like that, but I do have an Easter piece
at would be wonderful. Look at:
He is Not Here! by Gregory Sullivan Isaacs
You might also look at some of the other Christmas pieces I have in my
DemiQ Music, Inc.
I have three pieces being published by Neil Kjos in September. They are for
brass quartet, choir, and optional soloists. The titles are Yorkshire
Wassail, Make We Joy, and Good Day, Sir Christmas. They were written for
National Madrigal Dinner Festivals in Carnegie hall. They were very well
received. The choral parts are easy. Two are for two-part choir. They will
be available in September.
Pinkham's "Christmas Cantata" is a must! I have used it with great success
at the high school level. Rutter's "Gloria" is also a good challenge,
especially for the brass, but quite motivating for the singers.
Be sure and go to the ChoralNet Repertoire Site and look at the
SATB/brass listings by clicking on Repertoire Lists by
Instrumentation. There are also extensive Christmas lists.
One piece which jumps into my mind is the Pinkham Christmas Cantata.
Allen H Simon
Soli Deo Gloria
Willcocks "Hymns for Choirs" has rental brass choir parts for the
Stephen Paulus Visions of Hildegard Part II brass quintet and percussion
Pinkham: Christmas Cantata
Rutter Gloria, without a doubt!!! But, you probably already know this. =)
In all seriousness, I have been involved with the piece in a total of about
12 concerts - two seperte series, and it never fials to please the audience
- or setup a good mood for the following traditional Chrismtas music.
Rhythmically, it is difficult enough to keep students challenged and
inspired, but at no time does it really cross the line into dificult.
It is also quite probably one of the best pieces every specifically written
for brass, organ and choir, and soloist(s).
The antiphonal works of Gabrielle are a good choice. One of moderate
difficulty is the Hodie. Also, the Pinkham Christmas Cantata.
Try my arrangement of TELL ME, SHEPHERD (G.I.A. Pub - #4784). It is a
setting of a Herbert Hyde melody with brass sextet, timpani and organ
accompaniment (with optional strings). It has a great tune, easy choral
parts and a big sound.
Herewith ends the hornblowing!
Thomas F. Savoy
I would like to recommend my piece published by Gentry 'Gloria in Excelsis
Deo" scored for SATB chorus, organ and brass. For a good college group
this is moderately easy. It is in its second printing and has been used by
Karl Haas on his syndicated Christmas program, 'Listen to the Bells.' It
is an '83 publication of Gentry (Fred Bock).
Thanks. Nancy Hill Cobb, Oklahoma Baptist University
I have a rather extensive library and there is a lot of lovely Christmas
music with strings and woodwinds but not much requiring brass. The only
title I can suggest is JohnRutter's setting of "O Come, All Ye Faithful"
published by Hinshaw HMC-847. In addition to a full orchestration parts for
brass only are available (JR41A) for $10.00. Good luck and best wishes.
Take a look at In dulci jubilo for chorus and brass quartet by Michael
Praetorius and please send me a compilation. Good luck.
I have a bunch of items, some published, some not, that may be of interest:
Ye Men of Vision (1971, rev. 1983) Mz solo, SATB, Brass Quintet, Organ.
by Carl Oxholm.
Glory to God (1978) SAB, Brass Quintet, Percussion (2). Text, Luke 2:13-
(Easily reworked for SATB if of interest)
Hymn Fantasia: VENI, EMMANUEL (1978) Congregation, Orch (0-2-0-0 0-2-
Transcribed for Brass Ensemble, Congregation & Organ, 1983
Carol-Fantasia on ST.LOUIS ("O Little Town of Bethlehem") (1998) Orchestra:
(2)-2-(1)-(1); 0-2-0-0, Str., Organ, Choir, Congregation
Carol-Fantasia on IN DULCI JUBILO ("Good Christian men, Rejoice") (1998)
Orchestra: (2)-2-(1)-(1); 0-2-0-0, Str., Organ, Choir, Congregation
Carol-Fantasia on IRBY ("Once in Royal David's City") (1998) Orchestra:
(2)-2-(1)-(1); 0-2-0-0, Str., Organ, Choir, Congregation
Hymn-Fantasia on WINCHESTER NEW (1997) Congregation, 2 ob, hrn, bsn,
strings, organ. Rev. 1998 for 2 fl, 2 ob, cl, hrn, 2 trpts., str., org.
(The above 4 are easily reworked for brass & organ if of interest)
Carol-Fantasia on MIDNIGHT CLEAR (1995) Brass Quintet, Organ,
(pub. Psalm 150/Theodore Presser)
Carol-Fantasia on GLORIA ("Angels We Have Heard on High") (1996) Brass
Quintet, Organ, Congregation. (Rev. 1998 for Str. & Organ)
And, not involving brass:
Schütz: *Nun Komm, der Heiden Heiland* from *Kleine Geistliche Konzerte,*
1636; SWV 301 (1987) SATB, Continuo. English text by R. R. © 1988 by
Theodore Presser Co. (#312-41539).
Reger: *The Virgin's Slumber Song (Mariä Wiegenlied)* (1987) Various
voicings with flute and Keyboard or Harp. English text by R. R. SATB ©
1989 by Coronet Press (dist. Presser) (#392- 41494); SSA © 1989 by Coronet
Press (#392-41495); SAB © 1989, 1990 by Coronet Press (#392-41592); SATB
© 1989, 1990 by Coronet Press (#392-41591).
*Images of Christmas* (1981) Children's Chorus (SA), SATB, Keyboard or Harp.
Text by Irene Jennings. © 1989 by Thomas House Publications (#1C668926).
Dist. Theodore Presser.
Telemann: *Amen, Lob und Ehre* (1989) (under pseudonym "Martin
English text by M. D. © 1991 by Coronet Press (SATB #392- 41608). (This is a
motet for New Year's Day; thus still appropriate)
Hope this is helpful,
Robert Ross, Artistic Director
Voces Novae et Antiquae
I have two recommendations for you:
1. A setting of 'Hodie Christus Natus Est' by Scott Tresham for brass
quintet, organ and SATB chorus. The piece was a winner of the Amadeus
Choir Christmas Carol Competition in 1991, and is published by Gordon V.
Thompson Music, No. V.E.I. 1131 (available in the U.S. from Warner Bros.,
which owns GVT). The choral score includes each brass part on a separate
line, in C. There is no indication of where to obtain the brass parts.
The piece is of moderate difficulty for the chorus. It gets a bit tricky
toward the end, but the organ doubles the voices at that point.
2. A set of six carols, each published separately for SATB chorus and
brass or keyboard accompaniment. The arrangements are not far out (I used
two of them for audience sing-along carols at the end of last year's
concert) but are interesting. The choral score is published also by Gordon
V. Thompson, and the brass parts are available on rental from Counterpoint
Musical Services, 2650 John St., Unit 24, Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 2W6
(phone 905-415-0515, fax 905-415-9232). I don't know whether there is
another rental agency for the U.S. They might also have the brass parts
for the Tresham. The pieces are:
Il est ne la divin Enfant (G-5013)
O Come All Ye Faithful (G-5014)
God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen (G-5015)
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (G-5016)
Deck The Halls (G-5017)
Quittez Pasteurs (G-5020)
Prof. Richard Householder
Director of Choral Activities
School of Music
University of Windsor
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Danil Pinkham's Christmas Cantata should fit your needs nicely. SATB with I
believe two small brass ensembles which I have always done with organ on the
second brass part. Works very well. Wonderful piece, not very difficult,
three movements about 15 minutes or so. It is available both SATB and TTBB.
Last year I sang both with two different groups on the same weekend!
Never had to learn two different parts for the same work at the same time!!
Pinkham's Christmas Cantata would be my first choice, then Robert Shaw's
"Many Moods of Christmas" in 4 suites.
Ms. Russell, I did a wonderful, and not too difficult set of three Christmas
pieces from a Kings Singers series a few years ago with a very nice choir at
Hanna High School here in Brownsville, Texas. Unfortunately I have forgotten
the title of the set in the six years that have passed since I retired, but I
have the directors at Hanna checking to see if they can help me any. The set
included "Gaudete" and "Joy to the World," and the brass players from the
excellent high school band who played for us then included the first chair
baritone horn player from the Texas All-State Band of that year. Maybe you
have resources that will help you learn more about this set of pieces, and if
I learn any more from the current choir directors I will be back in touch.
Ann A. Buchanan, Brownsville, Texas
I would definitely look into John Rutter's Gloria, or his Te Deum as a
second choice. The Gloria is very much on the upper-moderate level of
difficulty, the Te Deum shorter and easier. Audiences and choruses I have
had seem to like the Gloria better (or maybe it's just the way I conduct
On the same program with the Gloria (by the way, it's brass contingent is
on the large side) we did Gabrieli's In ecclesiis, and many other pieces
from the Venetian school lend themselves to this instrumentation, many more
"splashy" than In ecclesiis. I've done some of these plychoral pieces with
the chorus singing one choir, and the brass taking the part of the other
choir, often located in the balcony. If the chorus needs support, the organ
(authentically) can double their parts.
R John Specht
The Queensborough Chorus
Date: Sat, 18 Oct 1997 12:42:12 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Christmas with Brass
A recent e-mail reminded me that I did not post the compiled list of
Christmas with Brass music.
Sorry, here it is:
Welcome All Wonders by Richard Wayne Dirksen
O magnum mysterium by Leo Nestor (divisi chorus, 2 trp, 2hrn, 2trb,
percussion/1 player) coming out from E.C.Schirmer next year, composed for the
Los Angeles Master Chorale.
Trilogy for Christmas by Jerry Brubaker ( e-mail address from Leo Nestor)
The Church Hymnal has published a set of five settings by Sterling Procter,
remarkably well crafted carol settings with major brass works. Nothing to
speak of chorally (they rely on using the Hymnal 1982, with descants) but
wonderful idiomatic settings.
Glory to God by Hovhannes
SATB with 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, 4 horns, 3 percussion and a beautiful
pastorale for classical alto sax.
"Star of the East" by Ann Kapp Andersen
for SATB choir plus children's voices, with accompaniment of organ,
percussion and three trumpets.
Last December 14 and 15 my fanfare GLORIA
IN EXCELSIS DEO for SATB and Brass Quartet received its premiere by
CONCORA(Connecticut Choral Artists, Richard Coffey, Artistic Director
and Conductor). This work, a short 45 sec., was commissioned by CONCORA
especially for "Christmas in our Time" and performed at the Chapel at St.
Thomas Seminary, Bloomfield, CT. It was very well received, and perhaps
something for your interest. My publisher, Steve Schaffner, has not yet
brought it out, but there is always a pre-publication status. AND, if
there is a request for it, Mr. Schaffner might very well speed up the
process of publication!(I would love that!!) At any rate, here is how you
can reach him: tel: 609 854-3760; fax: 609 8545584; email:
102057.3355(a)compuserve.com Address: SCHAFFNER MUSIC Sole agent:
Schaffner Publishing Company, Box 1162, Merchantville, NJ 08108-0162
Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA 01075
Hoggard (arr.) Personent hodie brass (use 0421),
perc, orch bells, org
Cutter Fanfare for Christmas brass (4 tpt's)
Scheidt In dulci jubilo 2 choirs
(some Cham?), brass (2 tpt's)
Schütz German Magnificat 2 choirs (some
Cham), brass (0441)
Kuykendall (arr.) Joy to the world brass (4tet), timp,
Powell, Robert J. -The trumpeters & singers were as one brass (0220),
Gabrieli, G. Jubilate deo 2 choirs, brass
Fetler Jubilate deo (Sing and rejoice) brass (0340; publ
A few pieces with the Canadian Brass that are nice - Ding Dong Merrily on
Is one. They're well done.
One of our best sellers is Conrad Susa's "A Christmas Garland" which
usually uses a full orchestra. But he also has a brass, percussion and
organ version of the accompaniment. Call Cynthia or Craig in our rental
dept. at 1-800-777-1919 for a perusal score. They can also send you a
copy of the choral score if you would like.
President, ECS Publishing, Boston
Check out "The Christmas Story" by Ron Nelson, published by Boosey &
Hawkes. It is scored for chorus, brass, organ, timpani, narrator and
Williameta Spencer's The Seven Joys of Xmas, Mark Foster Music (I
think that's the title). Also a piece by Diemer with brass
Vaughan Williams' O Clap Your Hands All Ye People
(Oxford, I believe). Short work but would round out the program. Also,
Psalm 100 (Jauchzet dem Herren) by Shütz (Gordon V.
Thompson/Warner-Chappell) which is a double choir piece, but the second
choir can be done by the brass.
On the lighter side, Three Carols with Brass from King Singers Series
The Boar's HeadCarol, Gaudete, and Joy to the World.
David Wilcocks has 8 Christmas carols arranged for Brass and Choir that
are very serviceable. You should also try "Gloria in Excelsis" by Jolley
- I believe it is Shawnee Press. "Two King" by Clokey also works well.
Finally, I believe that the Canadian Brass put something out a few years
Shepherds Rejoice - Frackenpohl
Hodie - Randall Stroope
In Dulci Jubilo - Praetorius
Angelus ad Pastoris ait - Pinkham
There are several exciting things recorded by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
with brass on the LaserLight album "Music with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir".
The music, including brass parts, are available from Sonos Music,
I have used them. They are terrific.
"In dulci jubio" by Praetorius - originally for double choir, arr. by Robert
King for SATB and brass quartet (King Music #606) -
I have an original Christmas work for choir (or double choir) and piano
(or organ). I also write a great deal of music for brass so I could
easily arrange the work for choir and brass as well. The work is meant
to celebrate the Christmas season as the time of returning light which
is a common theme for many religions. The work is called "Season of
There is lots of beautiful music for double chorus ranging from very
challenging to quite accessible. It is very effective and appropriate to
perform these pieces with brass, and there are several ways to do it: brass
could double one or both choirs, or your choir could sing choir I a cappella
and the brass could play choir II
Here are a few specific suggestions:
Hassler: Verbum caro factum est. (Tetra Music)
Schutz: Psalm 100 (Gordon V. Thompson/Warner Bros.)
Palestrina: Hodie Christus natus est (G. Schirmer #11607
Schutz: Lobe den Herren, Meine Seele (Theodore Presser #312-41056, ed Walter
Hassler: Jubilate Deo (Concordia #98-2348
Praetorius: Ein Kindelein so lobelich (Gordon V. Thompson, dist. by Walton
you could simply DOUBLE all the parts.
Exultate Chamber Choir; John Tuttle, cond.; "Make we Joy" cd
Probably available via the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company).
Excellent Toronto chamber choir.
Angelus ad pastores ait, 7 vv
Hodie Christus natus est, 7 vv
Quem vidistis pastores, 8 vv
O Magnum mysterium, 8 vv
Angelus ad pastores, 12 vv
O jesu mi dulcissime, 8 vv
Quem vidistis pastores?, 14 vv
Hodie Christus Natus est, 10 vv
Thanks to everyone who replied. Sorry I didn't edit the responses a little
This is very random
Don Barrows, Conductor Founder
The Federal Way Chorale
Federal Way, WA
We chose the following:
Christmas Cantata by Daniel Pinkham (Brass Quartet or Quintet in
Latin/English, 10 minutes)
This well-known cantata has become a 20th century standard. The writing is
mildly dissonant and chordal. The middle movement opens with an extended
melody for sopranos that requires attention to blend and breath control. The
brass parts are rhythmically intricate and need advanced players.
Gloria by John Rutter (SATB divisi; 4 trumpets, 2 trombones, bass trombone,
tuba, tympani, perc., organ, Latin, 17 minutes)
Rutter basis this setting on Gregorian chants associated with the text. The
work is in three movements, the outer 2 charged with vitality and energy,
while the central movement is calm and serene. The brass writing is bold and
needs competent performers. The choral writing, while immediately engaging,
lies very high for most of the work. A good supply of high voices in all
parts is important to the success of any performance.