The tune BUNESSAN is a traditional Gaelic melody first printed in 1888 as the setting of Mary MacDonald’s carol “Child in the Manger.” The tune was named after Mary’s birthplace on the Isle of Mull off Scotland’s western coast. BUNESSAN is commonly associated with hymns celebrating new beginnings: the aforementioned “Child in the Manger,” then the 1931 creation-celebrating hymn “Morning Has Broken,” and the more recent but lesser-known 1982 hymn “Baptized in Water.” The title of this piece, “A Hymn of Beginnings,” recognizes that association.
AT THE CROSS is a simple arrangement of the beloved hymn with fresh and poignant harmonies. Set for SATB choir with piano accompaniment, it is moderately easy but rewarding of good musicianship. The light, delicate accompaniment directs the focus onto the text while providing the perfect amount of color and interest. It allows a choir to show artistic merit without enduring exhaustive preparation.
Fairest Friend combines the beloved hymn tune from “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” and “Fairest Lord Jesus” in a duet for C Flute and Horn in F (or trombone) with piano accompaniment. Full score and parts are included in the package, including parts for optional drum set, bass guitar, and synthesizer (or strings). Any or all of the optional parts may be included as needed but the piece works well with just the piano accompaniment also.
Fingal’s Fantasy is an original work for solo piano using three, synthesized, seven-pitch scales derived from the first three variations of the opening theme in Felix Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, better known as Fingal’s Cave. Fingal’s Fantasy is a three part work in which each section uses one of the three scales with each section appearing in a contrasting style. Mendelssohn’s original motive can be clearly heard in the treatment of the first scale and appears more heavily disguised in other sections. Despite the use of synthetic scales, the piece ends with a strong declaration of B-minor in homage to Mendelssohn’s selected key for Fingal’s Cave. Fingal’s Fantasy is only moderately difficult but will engage even advanced performers with an excursion into 21st century composition. It is suitable for concert or recital repertoire.
What Child We Sing best works in the Advent or Christmas seasons with its strong exposition of traditional Christmas carols and would be suitable in a sacred concert or as a prelude, offertory, or reflective music in either liturgical or unstructured service. It has sufficient artistic metric to be suitable for the concert stage as well, although it is not at all difficult, being suitable for intermediate or higher level musicians.