Christmas by themes: Light theme
Thanks to all who have replied to my query for holiday music that
could be connected to the themes of light or stars. The response has
been wonderful. You are filled with great ideas. There weren't too
many titles that were from the Baroque or Renaissance. So if you're
still out there lurking with a great title, I'm still open to
Here is my initial list and the replies I've received to date (7/30):
Star in the East Early American
Holy Radiant Light Gretchaninoff
O Holy Night...
Break forth O Beauteous Heavenly Light
Cantata 140 Bach
Keep Your Lamps Thomas
There Shall a Star Mendelssohn
Run Ye Shepherds to the Light Haydn, M.
Light by Deen Entsminger published by Plymouth is acappella, texts
light from the Bible. (New and Old Tesament I believe) Great piece!
Light the Legend by Michael Isaacson, publ. by Transcontinental
This Little Light of Mine by Ysaye Barnwell of Sweet Honey in the Rock
Your question is timely!
I am about to publish Brent Weaver's setting (and his own
of "Star in Darkness Shining" (Stern, auf den ich schaue) for SATB
chorus unaccompanied. It is probably best suited for Epiphany, but
work among the Christmas light and stars imagery quite well (since
popular culture gloms Advent, Christmas and Epiphany all into one
Brent is a Mennonite composer living and teaching in the Atlanta
whose work is beginning to reach the public ear. I can send you a
smaple copy once the piece is available (I hope August 15). I beleive
Brent will also have an audio clip available soon on theweb, most
likely for Real Audio but possibly Quicktime (maybe both). Let me
know if this piece interests you.
Lux Nova Press
"Into his marvellous light", which isn't for advent, but is a general
celebratory type piece for the feast of St Peter (It's also not
baroque or rennaissance!). The commissioning choir have performed it
regularly ever since I wrote it (and seem to enjoy it - they've just
recored it too)
Please e-mail me back for more info, or look me up at either:
Try "Great Light" by Joseph Martin. It has a jazz flute part that is
unusual, and take a bit of skill, but is really neat.
How about a beautiful setting by a living composer of an ancient
Stephen Caracciolo of Ohio has a GORGEOUS setting of "Jesus I Adore
Thee" (also in Latin in score I believe). Not only does it focus on
the very music has a luminescence (sp?) about it.
Here are several which you should consider. All of them have reference
light or the star in their text if not in the title.
Carol of Joy by Nicholas White Hinshaw HMC-1342
Candlelight Carol by John Rutter Hinshaw HMC-798
Angels' Carol by John Rutter Hinshaw HMC-1002
O, Green and Shimmering Tree Hinshaw HMC-926
arr. Mack Wilberg
Evergreen Fragrance, Candlelight Glow Hinshaw HMC-1426
by Richard Smith
Star Carol by John Rutter Oxford 84.233
Torches by John Joubert Novello 29 0249 04
We Have Seen His Star by E. Titcomb C. Fischer CM438
On a Still and Starry Night by David Allen Presser 392-00847
A Light! by Maxcine Posegate Flammer A-5662
O Gladsome Light by Jean Pasquet Neil Kjos 5266-5
Note: This last one is out-of-print, but I had no difficulty in
permission to dupilacte copies some years ago.
Any setting of "Nunc Dimittis" includes a line, "revealing light" or
"light of revelation." I have a setting for a cappella choir (SATB,
div) if you are interested.
Have you thought about Rhonda Polay's arrangement of Silent Night? It
gorgeous alto solo and wonderful piano part. It's published
Music. Another one my choirs and I like is Natalie Sleeth's Baby What
Goin to be published by Carl Fischer. Each of the 4 parts have a
independent line. It's very challenging. Clawson has arranged a
setting called The First Noel/Pachelbel's Canon published by Alfred.
Buszin arranged Praetorius' To us is born immanuel. I have not yet
piece with my choir, but it showed up on my computer when I searched
Christmas and light.
John Rutter's Angel Carol is always a lovely piece. More challenging
however, is his Candlelight Carol with a nice a cappella section in
middle. We traditionally end our Christmas concert with Dan Carter's
for Me Again Star of Bethlehem published by Theodore presser.
"Beams of Gentle Light" is a Channukah song, beautiful and haunting,
by Robert Evans Holmes.
"Jesus is the Light of the World" is a contemporary, gospel type song
is extremely effective and appropriate for Christmas, although not
to the season. We often use it for encores, because it is a sure
I have a composition entitled "This Is The Season Of Light" scored for
variety of possibilities: chorus and piano, chorus and organ, or
chorus and organ. The work is published by Yelton Rhodes Music.
Also you might consider some
lovely Jewish folk songs dealing with Hannukah light: Rise up. Mu
(Aleih neiri), Light the Legend, Hannukah Madrigal, etc. Cmposers
Parchi, Michael Isaacson, and herbert Fromm in that order. Another is
Samuel Adler's The Feast of Light. These are delightful. One major
source (publisher?) is the Director of Choral Music at Northeastern
University in Boston. I think his name is Jacobsen.
I think there is a David Hurd piece with star or light in the title.
Rutter Hymn to the Light? Or is it Hymn to the Creator?
Light Everlasting - Olaf Christiansen
Creator of the Stars of Night
I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light
Many Are the Lightbeams - Marty Haugen
I have an anthem published by Kjos entitled "O Sun of Grace" with text
by Susan Cherwien - "As the dark awaits the dawn, so we await your
light, O Star of Promise, scatter night..."
Eric A Johnson
Director of Choral Activities
Northern Illinois University