New tunes often help us hear and sing familiar texts with heightened awareness; this anthem certainly evokes such an awareness. The composer brings fresh new meaning to the text in this well-crafted three-part anthem. The key throughout is D major. The accompaniment is pianistic but could be adapted to the organ. The anthem is well suited for voices and would work for small churches as well as large churches. It would be a strong selection for a summer anthem during Ordinary time, or Lent. (The Hymn, January 2011)

Shaw has written a newly composed work to Robert Robinson’s 18th-century text that should prove useful for many choirs with limited numbers of men’s voices. With its mostly unison or homophonic texture, the anthem is within the abilities of most small church choirs and would be appropriate for general services. Within the limitations of writing for three parts, Shaw maintains interest through sensitive text setting. The first and third stanza use one melody for the first half, while the second stanza (“Here I raise mine Ebenezer”) provides a contrasting melody. Each stanza begins with unison voices, ending with the full three-part texture. Although the work calls for “keyboard,” the writing is more suitable for piano than for organ. (CrossAccent, vol. 19/1)

Using the tune Detroit from The Sacred Harp, Shaw has fashioned a deeply expressive setting of this text. The part writing is clear and solid; yet, as is often the case for choirs, working on intonation and deep listening will be key. Set in D minor, the opening stanzas feature contrasts between humming and singing voices (i.e., SA voices hum while TB voices sing). The third stanza is sung in full, four-part harmony with divisi passages in the soprano and alto parts. The thoughtful writing and development is concluded by a beautiful cascade of Amens that resolve with a Picardy third. This arrangement is moderately difficult and probably best interpreted without instrumental accompaniment. (CrossAccent, vol. 28/2, 2020)

The first verse is for two-part mixed choir, and the second slower verse uses four parts with optional passages for unaccompanied choir. Tempo I returns for the third verse, which dissolves into a brief, contrapuntal Amen ending that also may be sung unaccompanied. The easy keyboard music helps create a flowing character. Especially useful for a small church choir. (The Diapason, April 2013)

How Can I Keep from Singing? is a handy piece to have on file for when there is limited rehearsal time. Most church choirs would likely have this learned with just a few minutes of rehearsal. The tune and words, attributed to Robert Lowry, are arranged in an exuberant Southern folk hymn setting. The two-part harmony would work with any combination of adult or children’s voices. The C-instrument part could be learned easily by a high-school-level instrumentalist of average ability. Shaw’s How Can I Keep from Singing? offers quality with minimal time commitment. (CrossAccent, March 2013)

Rarely do collections of pieces by multiple composers retain evenness in quality across all contributions. This volume is a delightful exception. The arrangers/composers know their craft and know the piano. They choose familiar (for the most part) tunes that will find use in worship, render settings that illumine texts usually associated with the tunes, use the piano well and in ways idiomatic to pianists, and offer intelligently crafted pieces. Ideas are borrowed artfully and respectfully from other sources.

TALLIS’ CANON, based on the tune by Thomas Tallis (c. 1505-85). Timothy Shaw uses a clever key relationship for this simple tune, beginning with an introduction and ending with a coda in G, but presents the tune in ascending thirds, keys of B, E flat, and G, moving from mp to ff with decrescendo through the coda to end at pp. 4 pages. Identified with the text “All Praise to Thee, My God, This Night.” (Pastoral Music, June/July 2020)

 

With its focus on the cross of Christ, His suffering and our response, the thought-provoking Savonarola text of “Jesus, Refuge of the Weary” (SATB, Piano, BP 2098, $2.00), ably set by Timothy Shaw, deserves consideration for Lenten or Good Friday services. (The Journal, National Association of Church Musicians, Jan-Feb 2017, vol. 68/1)

…Across the three Augsburg collections, all the arrangements generally “lie well” under the fingers, though Shaw’s arrangements seem more technically involved than Roberts’ or Raabe’s. Again, though, there are several in the Shaw collection that are directly accessible. Practice time will vary for the experienced pianist/keyboardist, depending on individual ability…In general, these tunes are the most traditional among the three volumes; the practice required to work out harder portions (running thirds, sixths, octaves, and fast scales) of these scores will be worth the time. (WorshipArts, Jan/Feb 2014)

This Swedish folk tune from the 17th century has a lilting 6/4 meter that dances along at a moderately fast pace. The choral parts, on two staves, maintain the simplicity and keep the folk spirit throughout while the tambourine adds to the energetic rhythm without intruding or dominating. Its music is on the back cover and as a separate line in the choral score. (The Diapason, October 2014)

This straightforward setting of a familiar psalm presents our joyful hope in God’s care and protection. The well-crafted melody flows in a lilting 6/8 meter, with a few intervallic skips that require careful placement. The slower middle section repeats the phrase “The Lord will keep you, now and ever more,” coming to a pianissimo fermata before returning to the joyful theme. The second voice part enters on the final refrain, in imitative style, and both voices combine for a very satisfying ending. The piano accompaniment requires more agility at the keyboard than many pieces for children. (Pastoral Music, March 1, 2012)

Based on Psalm 100, this is an attractive, cheerful piece for one- or two-part children’s choir. It is in an ABA form, the A being “Come, all the earth, and praise the Lord, Be joyful and sing, for the Lord is good,” and the gentler B section being, “You know the Lord is God who made us, and we are his.” The A material returns with a fun Alleluia descant. Shaw gives kids a singable, solid piece for Thanksgiving or throughout the year. (CrossAccent, November 2013)

Shaw has taken a great 14th-century German text that includes some stanzas by Martin Luther and provided a lovely new tune and accompaniment. This is a splendid opportunity for those who seek to provide classic Reformation texts accessible to choirs and faith communities of today. SAB voicing appears to be very natural with Shaw, and this should find great usage for Christmastide and Epiphanytide worship or concerts. (CrossAccent, Spring 2015)

Choirs ready to begin exploring more adventuresome music can use Who Trusts In God as an effective first step out of purely diatonic music. The atmospheric accompaniment shifts around suggesting tonal centers without observing strict common practice tonality. The vocal lines are tuneful and easy to absorb. Meter shifts frequently, but again the rhythm is comfortable. To lighten the demands on the full choir, an extensive middle section can be sung by a soloist. The opening material returns after this with only minor alterations, creating a balanced ternary form. This attractive, interesting piece is an excellent way to introduce a broader tonal palette to choirs. (Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians, May/June 2015)

Since the 500th anniversary of the Reformation is coming in 2017, many choirs will surely want to perform not only classic Lutheran chorales, hymnody, and various choral music from the early days of Lutheranism but also new settings of these great texts. Shaw has taken the sturdy words of a 16th-century hymn and given them a fresh new melodic treatment. (CrossAccent, vol. 23/1)

Although equal voices are called for, part two has a low tessitura, which could be sung by the men’s voices. There is an extended faster section for a solo voice before the opening theme returns. The keyboard part is not difficult, but interesting, giving the music a haunting quality. Highly recommended. (The Diapason, June 2016)

What a pretty melody Timothy Shaw has written! Dedicated to his children, the tune is childlike in its simplicity and purity, but never childish. The anonymous text has been set by several composers, but Shaw’s compares well to any of them. The setting is a straightforward treatment of the tune with simple SAB voicing and an attractive part for C instrument, probably a flute. It could be learned in a couple of rehearsals by a choir of average ability. The composer provides a nice little Gloria section by the treble voices in response to the men singing, “Then from the happy skies angels bent low, singing their songs of joy…” “Winds Through the Olive Trees” would be a good choice for a choir which is short on men or a youth choir and is appropriate anytime during the Christmas season. (CrossAccent, vol. 19/1)