Olivia Cresswell’s beautiful collection, Going over Jordan: Songs of Heaven for Piano, contains six hymns and spirituals arranged at a moderate level. From introspective passages to joyful bursts of praise, there is something for everyone here. Preview a sample from the score here.
Concordia Publishing House has released volume 11 of the 12-volume series Hymn Prelude Library (based on Lutheran Service Book), containing hymn tunes that begin with ‘T’, ‘U’, and ‘V’. This volume includes my setting of the tune “Union City” (“If Christ Had Not Been Raised from Death“), by Phillip Magness (Cantor at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Broken Arrow, OK and composer with Liturgy Solutions). Other contributors to this volume (edited by Kevin Hildebrand) include Charles Callahan, Benjamin M. Culli, and Kristina Langlois. You may pre-order the book now, and it should become available on June 30, 2017.
Choosing repertoire for church choirs is one of the most difficult, time-consuming tasks of all choir directors, whether they direct larger or smaller choirs. There are some unique challenges facing those who direct smaller choirs, though. To support you in your work, I have written a blog post on the topic (with 25 anthem suggestions) on Prelude Music Planner. Check it out here.
Augsburg Fortress has released my latest book of hymn arrangements for piano, Hymn Settings for the Year: 55 Piano Gems. This book contains all the pieces I wrote in my 52 in 52 series. Here is a description from the publisher: “This collection of hymn settings in diverse forms and styles will serve you well throughout the church year. Some of these pieces may be used as preludes or postludes, while others may be used as hymn introductions and alternate accompaniments. Teachers who want to introduce hymn settings to students will find this a valuable teaching tool. This is also a great resource for funeral service music.”
Concordia Publishing House has released volume 9 of the 12-volume series Hymn Prelude Library (based on Lutheran Service Book), containing hymn tunes that begin with ‘P’, ‘Q’, and ‘R’. This volume includes my setting of “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” (PRECIOUS LORD), written by Thomas A. Dorsey (“The Father of Black Gospel Music”) during a period of great suffering and loss. Other contributors to this volume (edited by Kevin Hildebrand) include James Biery, Charles Callahan, and Wayne Wold. You may pre-order the book now, and it should become available on June 30, 2016.
Concordia Publishing House has released a collection of eight newly-composed organ preludes from eight different composers: Mark Bender, Jonathan Kohrs, Kenneth T. Kosche, Matthew Machemer, Jonathan R. Mueller, Paul Soulek, Steven Wente, and me. A Reformation Easter: Organ Preludes on Sixteenth-Century Hymns contains my setting of “Christ Is Arisen” (“Christ ist erstanden”). You can read more about the collection and hear sample recordings on Concordia’s website: click here. Order the book from JW Pepper.
Need even more ideas for musical selections that are quite effective with smaller ensembles? Consider adding some of these well-written pieces to your choir’s repertoire either this year or in the future. (For my previous list, click here.)
- Prepare the Royal Highway (Unison/2-part, keyboard) | arr. H. Hopson, MorningStar
- We Praise You, Jesus, at Your Birth (SAB, piano) | T. Shaw, Concordia
- God Be Merciful unto Us (Unison, organ) | D. Pinkham, E.C. Schirmer (recording)
- Psalm 117 (2-part mixed, keyboard) | T. Shaw, Concordia
- Bow Down Your Ear (Unison, piano) | A. Miller, Augsburg Fortress
- Who at My Door Is Standing? (2-part mixed, keyboard) | arr. K. Lee Scott, Hinshaw
- Ah, Holy Jesus (SA, cello) | arr. C. Jennings, Augsburg Fortress
- Deep Were His Wounds (SAB, piano) | T. Shaw, MorningStar
- The Risen Christ (SAB, keyboard) | arr. T. Fettke, Alfred
- Lord, Listen to Your Children (SAB or 2-part mixed, piano) | arr. J. Schrader, Hope
- Praise the Lord, God’s Glories Show (SAB, conga drums) | D. Schelat, Oxford
- The Lord Bless You and Keep You (SAB, keyboard) | J. Rutter, Hinshaw
© 2015 Timothy Shaw. All rights reserved.
Finding music that is accessible to small(er) church choirs is always a challenge, and it seems every choir director must work with a smaller choir at least one week out of the year. Here is a list of one dozen well-written anthems, spanning the church year, that work well with ensembles of any size! Consider adding some of these to your choir’s library. (Clicking on a title will open the anthem’s page on JW Pepper.)
- Stir up Your Power, O Lord, and Come (SAB, organ) | C. Schalk, MorningStar
- Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus (SATB, keyboard) | T. Shaw, Augsburg Fortress
- Only a Baby Came (2-part, keyboard) | N. Sleeth, Hinshaw
- Jubilate Deo (Unison or SA, organ, opt. percussion) | D. Wood, Augsburg Fortress
- Lord Jesus, Think on Me (SATB, keyboard) | J. Althouse, Hope
- Create in Me a Clean Heart (SAB, organ) | C.F. Mueller, G. Schirmer
- When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (SATB, piano) | F. Mallory, Genevox
- I Will Sing of My Redeemer (2-part, piano) | T. Shaw, Fred Bock
- Now Is Christ Risen from the Dead (2-part, keyboard) F. Frahm, Augsburg Fortress
- Jesus, My All, to Heaven Is Gone (2-part, piano, oboe) | H. Helvey, Beckenhorst
- Gracious Spirit, Dwell with Me (2-part, keyboard) | K. Lee Scott, Augsburg Fortress
- All My Hope on God Is Founded (Unison with descant, organ) | H. Howells, arr. J. Rutter, Collegium
© 2015 Timothy Shaw. All rights reserved.
As my year of writing one new piece of music a week drew to a close, several people asked, “Of all the pieces you’ve written this year, which do you like best?” This is a tough question to answer, of course, but I do have my favorites! Here is a list of my Top 10. Is your favorite on the list? Leave a reply below, or send me a message.
1. When Peace like a River (It Is Well with My Soul) (VILLE DU HAVRE) – week 7
2. Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence (PICARDY) – week 52
3. Were You There (WERE YOU THERE) – week 31
4. Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound (NEW BRITAIN) – week 44
5. When Morning Gilds the Skies (LAUDES DOMINI) – week 29
6. Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee (ST. AGNES) – week 6
7. My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less (THE SOLID ROCK) – week 38
8. Take My Life (HENDON) – week 12
9. Ah, Holy Jesus (HERZLIEBSTER JESU) – week 30
10. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (VENI, EMMANUEL) – week 14