Reviews of Hymn-Based Choral Compositions – February 2019

Reviews by Beverly Howard
All prices in U.S. dollars.

Breath of God, Breath of Peace. Adam Tice and Sally Ann Morris. G.I.A., G-8597, 2014. SATB, piano, organ or electronic keyboard. $2.00.
Tice offers a three-stanza hymn, invoking the Breath, Word, and Voice of God to restore and inspire us. Morris’s tune, PATTERNS, is easily accessible for the average singer. The anthem follows the three-stanza format with treble voices singing unison on the first stanza, low voices singing unison on the second, and combining on the final stanza with a brief section in four-part harmony. The piano accompaniment provides gentle momentum and interest throughout. The score also includes a part for organ or electronic keyboard which is meant to augment, but not substitute for, the piano accompaniment.

Ride in the Chariot. Brandon Waddles. GIA, G-8532, 2013. SATB divisi voices and piano. $2.45.
A challenging arrangement of this traditional spiritual features jazz and gospel chords, energetic syncopations, and divisi into as many as eight voices. The melody is carried by a soloist or small tenor ensemble. The result is an exciting choral expression of the text normally associated with Elijah 2:11.

Anthems for Lent and Easter:

Come, You Sinners, Poor and Needy. Tony Alonso. G.I.A., G-9454 2017. SAB, assembly, keyboard, guitar with violin. $2.20.
This anthem is part of a collection, Revival [editor’s note see review in The Hymn Winter 2019], which is a series of traditional hymn texts and tunes arranged for modern ensembles. This eighteenth-century text by Joseph Hart is set to its traditional tune RESTORATION. Because the arrangement follows the hymn’s format, it can support the assembly’s song or could be performed as an anthem. The score contains a unison hymn part for the congregation. There is an alternate final refrain for the ensemble. Guitar and violin parts are available.

Forgive Our Sins as We Forgive. Rosamond Herklots and Paul Monachino. G.I.A., G-9041, 2016. SAB, Assembly, Organ. $2.00.
Herklots’s text considers the grace needed to forgive others. Set to a nineteenth-century tune from Kentucky Harmony, this arrangement is faithful to the hymn’s structure. Although written for SAB, the congregation is invited to sing on stanzas one and four (assembly score is provided). The organ part is technically accessible, providing four-part harmonic support with short interludes.

Christ the Lord is Risen Today/Hail the Day That Sees Him Rise. Charles Wesley and Tony Alonso. G.I.A., G-9452, 2017. SAB, Assembly, Guitar. $2.35.
For those wanting to sing either of the Wesley texts with contemporary accompaniment, this anthem will satisfy. Alonso includes the text for both hymns, which are sung to LLANFAIR. The texts are set in unison, breaking into three-part harmony on the Alleluia. The rhythm of LLANFAIR is preserved with the instruments providing rhythmic energy. While the choral score includes guitar chords, instrumental parts (guitar, trumpets, and violin) are available.

Beverly Howard is a former editor of The Hymn and served on the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song in preparing Glory to God. She is a retired university music professor.