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O Antiphons for Advent

There was a wonderful thread perhaps 18 months ago about music for a service of Advent Lessons & Carols, with many great suggestions for anthems.
What I'm looking for specifically is settings of the "O Antiphons" or "Advent Antiphons" - we do the settings by Healey Willan and Peter Hallock, and I'd love to find another setting to alternate in. We're not a large parish choir, and I don't think we can handle anything in 8 parts, so the lovely Chilcott "Advent Antiphons" are out, and Arvo Part's "Magnificat-Antiphoner", but SATB with occasional divisi is manageable.
Any suggestions?
Brigid Coult
St Mary's Kerrisdale Anglican Church,
Vancouver, BC
Replies (11): Threaded | Chronological
on August 28, 2013 11:39am
Seattle composer John Muehleisen has a collection of O antiphons:
Frank La Rocca
on September 1, 2013 3:58pm
Thanks for the recommendation, Frank!
Brigid, plesae feel free to contact me directly if you'd like me to send a perusal score free of charge.
All the best on your search!
on August 28, 2013 11:51am
Several years ago I published the following for Bill Brusick:
The Great “O Antiphons” of Advent. SATB div a cappella and congregational verses with Organ accompanimens. A set of seven brief and compelling original compositions based on the ancient text, “Veni, veni, Emmanuel.”
Brusick’s English text derives from Neale’s and Lacey’s well-known translations, bringing the key idea of each verse to the forefront. The seven sections of the text, each relating to corresponding verses in the familiar hymn, evoke both a spirit of mystery and one of anticipation that we find no other time in the church year.
The movements are not intended to be sung one after another, though they can be. It is most effective if the movements can be interspersed throughout a service or concert with appropriate readings, responses and prayers in between. It is also a common practice to sing the corresponding verses of the traditional hymn between the antiphons.
So at our request [Harrock Hall Music] Mr. Brusick graciously composed accompaniments for each of the various verses of the traditional hymn. The verses are designed so that each follows its antiphon in an appropriate and singable key. The organist should not introduce the verses by playing last phrases or any other improvised material, but
should intone the beginning note of the verse, and after the slightest of pauses, immediately begin the verse itself. The exception is the last verse, for which a brief introduction is given. Registrations should remain simple, employing foundation stops only, and never exceed mezzo–forte.
    William R. Brusick
    10707 Whisperwillow Place
    The Woodlands, Texas  77380
I hope he still has these available- they're very nice.
-Cecil Rigby
Clemson, SC
on August 29, 2013 4:21am
Dear Brigid,
Last year I wrote a set of Advent Antiphons for Chorus (an amateur choir based in Oxfordshire, UK). The text uses the seven invocations (O Sapientia etc.), and the repeated word 'Veni' alongside a text of my own. It parallels the anticipation Christians feel during Advent – waiting for the light of the Redeermer – with the experience of waiting for the light of spring, which those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere will be familiar with. You can listen to it here:
It's scored for SATB with some solo passages for soprano and baritone.
Do let me know if you would like to see a score, and good luck in your quest!
Best wishes,
********************************* John Duggan
Creative Arts Fellow
Wolfson College
Oxford OX2 6UD *********************************
on August 29, 2013 4:22am
This piece by my friend John Duggan was written for our choir. The text is his own paraphrase of the antiphon texts, and it is a single piece rather than 7 separate ones, but it is rather lovely.
on August 30, 2013 1:32pm
Good Day, Birgid,
Four overlapping Gregorian antiphons sung respectively by altos, bases, sopranos and tenors serve as an introduction to the work Antiphon and The Child of Mary which I wrote for the Alice Parker’s Melodious Chord competition a while back; it was the winning work and was admirably premiered by her Melodious Chord ensemble. It was subsequently recorded, with countertenor Daniel Taylor taking the solo line (which has subsequently been performed by an alto soloist.)
The six-minute piece is in four parts– the opening four antiphons; an antiphon solo Hear ye now, O house of David; a very brief invocation Behold! A virgin shall conceive… and The Child of Mary, the major portion of the piece, for SATB, quite a bit of it in divisi, but all very melodic and ‘tonal’ (i.e. modal). The countertenor part may be sung by an alto. The embedded solo melody is based totally on an ancient Gregorian chant that turned up in an old hymnal in Newfoundland, Canada. Many of the compositional techniques used in the work derive from those found in early music of the Christian church. The piece may be heard in part at
Pleased to send a PDF to interested conductors.
on August 30, 2013 6:29pm
This past Christmas I used "O Come, O Come Emmanuel (with Antiphons)" by William H. Mathis with choir, congregation, reader, handbells, handchimes, strings, flute, clarinet, and organ.  It can be done wondefully well with just choir, organ, reader, and congregation or with any combination of the other instruments.  It is outstanding.
Link for info and audio demo:
on August 31, 2013 11:52am
Film composer Blaise Duros has some absolutely lovely settings of the O Antiphons:  
They work well liturgically or as a concert set.
Jeff DeMarco
on August 31, 2013 9:19pm
Thanks, Jeff - only four of them, unfortunately - obviously thinking of the four Sundays of Advent.  But there should in fact be seven...
on September 1, 2013 10:59am
Th Great O Antiphons: a service for Advent
on September 1, 2013 7:12pm
Thanks, I'll order a copy. It sounds very much like the Willan O Antiphons we did last year
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