Searching for Sarah MacDonald - 5 results.
In Epiphany-tide 2019, during a 10-day period which included two major high-profile concerts, a CD recording, a few early academic deadlines,
not to mention the normal chaos associated with the start of term and the resumption of services after the Christmas holiday, I decided to cut
Selwyn choir some slack, and give them an extra service off, by scheduling a women-only service and men-only service in the second week of term.
As I was putting together the music list, I realised that I needed a men-only piece which fitted with the Baptism of Christ, and I didn't know of one — so the day before the service in question, I arranged this carol to fit that gap. It follows an important tradition of last-minute-dancing-day arrangements — David Willcocks' iconic arrangement which is published by OUP in Carols for Choirs II was handed to King's Choir just minutes before the red light went on for the annual Christmas Eve broadcast, with the purple ink from the mimeograph machine still wet on the paper!
This piece was written in Holy Week 2021 for a girls' voices service at Ely Cathedral. As I was searching for repertoire, I realised that there was nothing obvious which fitted all the criteria: it needed to be for treble voices and appropriate for Passiontide; it needed to be straight-forward technically (we had very little rehearsal time for that service) as well as being reflective and sombre in mood, and crucially it had to be unaccompanied, as we do not use the organ during most of Holy Week. In my search, nothing ticked all of those boxes, so I decided to write something myself. The use of the familiar tune 'Rockingham' means that congregations can relate to it immediately, and the liberal use of repetition in the choral parts means that it is easy to learn very quickly, even with a children's choir, but it also adds to the meditative mood that I hoped to convey.
Suitable for Passiontide and Holy Cross Day (14th September).
This was written for Easter Sunday 2021 in Selwyn College, Cambridge, when we had only three singers in residence. They happened to be two sopranos and one alto, so I wrote this piece with them in mind. It will work for children's choirs and women's choirs, as well as for three solo voices. It was designed to be sung as a motet during Communion so is consciously a little less bombastic than much Easter music. The alleluias which accompany the tune are inspired by the opening fifth of the familiar melody, and the tonal palette is medieval, with plenty of parallel and open fifths.
This is a straightforward contrapuntal arrangement of the familiar traditional melody. Every part gets a chance to sing parts of the tune at various points, often in canon, which works well with this particular melody. It was first performed in a service by the choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge, for whom it was written. The dedicatee, the Revd Dr Arabella Milbank Robinson, was in her first term as Dean of Chapel at Selwyn, and it is one of her favourite carols. The arrangement should be sung cheerfully and simply, with a nostalgic festive smile.
This was composed first thing on a Sunday morning in the middle of exams in Cambridge, when there was just one post-graduate baritone on duty as a cantor for College Communion at Selwyn. Finding something appropriate for Ascensiontide that was for a solo voice accompanied by chamber organ turned out to be impossible, so I arrived early and wrote something bespoke.
It is mock-Tudor in style, with tuneful ascending motifs, and I hope it proves useful for weekday treble-only services 40 days or so after Easter.