O Come Emmanuel
7 Brass Instruments, Timpani and Organ - intermediate
London Brass Ensemble Series. Composed by Leslie Pearson. Willis. Set (Score & Parts). Brass Wind Publications #BWP9706. Published by Brass Wind Publications (HS.416083).
Item Number: HS.416083
Scored for 3 trumpets 3 trombones tuba 2 percussion organ/keyboard
When I set out to arrange these traditional Christmas carols I was determined that they should not be yet another run-of-the-mill, strophic, verse-by-verse version of our Christmas musical heritage.
Scored for Brass Ensemble, Organ and Percussion, I have tried to treat each carol as the basis for a Petite Fantasie - a continuous, single-movement of variations on the original tune. To what extent I have been successful is for the listener to decide.
Of course, the carol is heard in its traditional form at some point during the arrangement but hopefully the appeal of the carol is enhanced without destroying the traditional concept.
Such treatment obviously involves a considerable amount of original composition. Ding Dong Merrily and In Dulci Jubilo(a 7) both have fugal counterpoint in the middle sections. There is a flavour of monastic plainsong in O Come Emmanuel which is in sharp contrast to the variation featuring Bongos, which immediately follows! Hark the Herald starts with a majestic introduction and ends with a French-style organ toccata. Good King Wenceslas gets the spiky/witty treatment. O Come all Ye Faithful and the First Noel both end in Baroque splendour. The Holly and the Ivy has a Polonaise/Beguine-like section, Jingle Bells an intricate, cross-rhythm against the tune. White Christmas, Silent Night and the middle sections of Hark the Herald and Christmas is Coming have the soft lush treatment. Christmas is Coming has a humorous opening and a Noblimente end. The Twelve Days of Christmas depicts each day with its own theme, e.g. Seven Swans a'Swimming misquotes The Swan of Saint Saens. I Saw Three Ships becomes a Gigue while the Coventry Carol and Veni, Veni, Emmanuel inevitably are modal. All in all, a delightful mixture of musical styles through the ages.