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For Good Friday.  SAB and cello, or one hand of piano or organ if you don't have a cellist.  Choirs always have a harder time finding tenors and basses than female singers, and the problem is worse right now, when so many older singers left due to the pandemic and haven't returned yet.  So I thought I would write something with a baritone part that sits right in the middle of the male range.  An actual baritone will have a few lovely notes on either side of the range that this is written, but this particular piece can be sung by a tenor without going too low, and also isn't too high for a bass.  So whoever you happen to have in your choir, this should be performable, and in normal times, when the tenors and basses together are generally still pretty few in numbers, you'll get a nice balanced sound against the sops and altos.  

Any thoughts on my cello slurring, cellists?  I played violin off and on, but I would love the take of current string players.  

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  

 

Edited by pateceramics
add YouTube demo for God So Loved the World
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  • 1 month later...

Hi, Maggie.

This is a lovely piece that quite captures the emotion of the text, in my opinion. I particularly enjoyed the fact that "God so loved the world" was couched in a minor modality, as if to emphasize the suffering such a thing would bring about. The lighthearted middle section was a welcome relief to the solemnity, although I was glad to return to the F minor section.

I think solo cello is an excellent choice for this piece, as it is itself an emotive instrument. From what I can tell, what you have written for it is quite playable, nor does it clash or overbear the singers' parts.

I have one question about the vocal parts, though. You have the sops sing this:

image.thumb.png.768fd1095b11a783e71165f745c38488.png

And then the altos sing the same thing, only a 5th higher. It might be my OCD talking, but had you considered swapping that? In other words, let the altos open (or maybe even the baritone) with the D-flat phrase, and have the sops repeat it in A-flat (which the altos currently sing). Minor thing, I know, and probably not worth pointing out.

I really enjoyed this piece, as I do all of your choral works. Thank you for sharing!

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On 5/31/2022 at 11:19 PM, Tónskáld said:

I have one question about the vocal parts, though. You have the sops sing this:

image.thumb.png.768fd1095b11a783e71165f745c38488.png

And then the altos sing the same thing, only a 5th higher. It might be my OCD talking, but had you considered swapping that? In other words, let the altos open (or maybe even the baritone) with the D-flat phrase, and have the sops repeat it in A-flat (which the altos currently sing). Minor thing, I know, and probably not worth pointing out.

I really enjoyed this piece, as I do all of your choral works. Thank you for sharing!

 

Hi Tonskald, Ah!  That is a rather nuanced point!  Well spotted!  I did it that way because of the measure immediately following that (measure 27).  The sopranos response hits an Eb.  It's a completely doable note for an alto, but sopranos won't have to think twice about it, and in an un-auditioned church choir are likely to have a nicer tone quality. 🙂. If it makes sense for the sopranos to take measure 27, then it's better for the altos to have the iteration preceding it, and the sopranos the one at the very beginning.  As an added bonus, measure 24, with the Db to F run, would cross the vocal break between chest and head voice for many altos, potentially making it difficult to sing with agility at this speed.  It's not that you can't do it, but it feels a little awkward.  Voices vary, but it is more likely to all sit comfortably in the chest voice for sopranos, potentially giving a cleaner run with no extra rehearsal time or effort.  

Thank you for your comments!  

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Chancel Choir of the Congregational Church of Needham were kind enough to allow me to record this piece this morning in an SAB with piano version.  Everyone sounded great!  Here's a link if anyone would like to take a listen:  

 

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