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riddler67

"lo He Comes" Descant

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With huge apologies for being decidedly unseasonal...

 

I'm looking ahead to Christmas programming and am trying to track down a descant with last verse re-harmonisation for Lo He Comes (Helmsley). I know there are lots out there, but I've got one in mind that I heard maybe 4 or 5 years ago on Songs of Praise that completely blew me away. The thing that made it so awesome was a totally unexpected key shift in the Allelulias section - assuming the hymn is in G, normally the chord under the first Allelulia would be D major. The one I'm after had something like a chord of F major at this point.

 

Ring a bell with anyone? It might be commonly available (though Google hasn't helped me to date) or it might have been specifially written by someone directly involved with that particular edition of SoP.

 

Thanks for any help you may be able to give.

 

Tim

Tim Ridley

Marlborough College

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With huge apologies for being decidedly unseasonal...

 

I'm looking ahead to Christmas programming and am trying to track down a descant with last verse re-harmonisation for Lo He Comes (Helmsley). I know there are lots out there, but I've got one in mind that I heard maybe 4 or 5 years ago on Songs of Praise that completely blew me away. The thing that made it so awesome was a totally unexpected key shift in the Allelulias section - assuming the hymn is in G, normally the chord under the first Allelulia would be D major. The one I'm after had something like a chord of F major at this point.

 

Ring a bell with anyone? It might be commonly available (though Google hasn't helped me to date) or it might have been specifially written by someone directly involved with that particular edition of SoP.

 

Thanks for any help you may be able to give.

 

Tim

Tim Ridley

Marlborough College

 

This could be the one I found in an RSCM publication from the 70's - there are a lot of notes, and some wonderful modulations. I don't have it to hand, but I can dig it out tomorrow. PM me your details and I'll see what I can do.

 

Graham

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With huge apologies for being decidedly unseasonal...

 

I'm looking ahead to Christmas programming and am trying to track down a descant with last verse re-harmonisation for Lo He Comes (Helmsley). I know there are lots out there, but I've got one in mind that I heard maybe 4 or 5 years ago on Songs of Praise that completely blew me away. The thing that made it so awesome was a totally unexpected key shift in the Allelulias section - assuming the hymn is in G, normally the chord under the first Allelulia would be D major. The one I'm after had something like a chord of F major at this point.

 

Ring a bell with anyone? It might be commonly available (though Google hasn't helped me to date) or it might have been specifially written by someone directly involved with that particular edition of SoP.

 

Thanks for any help you may be able to give.

 

Tim

Tim Ridley

Marlborough College

 

============================

 

 

I just had a quick run through this, and the following harmonies work nicely (with appropriate passing notes) for the Alelluyas:-

 

 

A.........le..........lu.......ya [] A...................le.............lu..........ya []

F maj, E maj, A min, B maj C maj, G maj, A min, B maj, E min

Ped F......E.......A........B...[]..C.........B.........A.........Bc#d#......E

 

A...................le...............lu.........y.........a

E maj 7 x 2, E maj 9th, A min, G, D7

 

Ped D..B.......G#...........A...........B-c#......C nat (unexpectedly)

 

 

I'm sure you could thread your own descant around that, and take everyone by surprise.

 

:)

 

MM

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Not the one you're looking for, I know, but there is (IMHO) a very fine version in Carols for Choirs 3, which doesn't seem to be very much used - I have certainly never heard any others choirs do it. BTW - it only works with the EH/NEH version of the words, not AMR/AMNS.

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There's a pretty stunning unison last verse for Helmsley in Organ Uplift by Andrew Fletcher. Was published by Oecumuse. Doesn't come with a descant - write one, maybe?

 

If you want more details, Tim, send me your email address through the message board.

 

oh, and errr....seasons greetings !

 

H

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The thing that made it so awesome was a totally unexpected key shift in the Allelulias section - assuming the hymn is in G, normally the chord under the first Allelulia would be D major. The one I'm after had something like a chord of F major at this point.

 

Hi Tim,

I reckon it is one by Martin How......as far as I am aware there is no written descant to go with it, but it is so splendid, it doesn't need one! I am not a big fan of last verse arrangements, but this one is just tops! The chap who introduced it to me is often lurking on the Mander board - if he picks up on this, he may well reply and confirm Martin How as the composer and also if it is still in print.

 

Best wishes

 

Richard

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Perhaps it was based on Martin How's excellent last verse which is in an RSCM last-verses book with a blue cover. It is in A-flat, but at the Alleulia section we arrive at G flat major in the manuals over an A flat pedal. Sexy.

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Perhaps it was based on Martin How's excellent last verse which is in an RSCM last-verses book with a blue cover.

 

Yes - "Accompaniments for unison hymn-singing" ed. Gerald Knight. Still available from RSCM publications here http://www.rscm.com/shop/acatalog/info_N0155.html

 

Good value too - 50 reharmonisations for £8.95.

 

G

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Not the one you're looking for, I know, but there is (IMHO) a very fine version in Carols for Choirs 3, which doesn't seem to be very much used - I have certainly never heard any others choirs do it. BTW - it only works with the EH/NEH version of the words, not AMR/AMNS.

We use this at Charlton Kings. Our hymn book is Common Praise whith I guess has the AMR words. We manage to adapt & make the words fit.

 

Incidentally I also have the blue RSCM last verse accompaniments book, an old and valued friend! I particularly like the arrangement for St. Clement.

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There's a rather fun arrangement, if I remember rightly, in "Hymns Ancient & Modern: a selection of tunes with Varied Harmonies" from 1912. I picked up a copy in Hay-on-Wye and can never resist hauling out some of the arrangements - does anyone else here have this?

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Indeed - I have never found a better last verse arrangement for this hymn - it is superb.

And to play it, is electric; just the feel of the notes under the fingers, the shiver down the spine at the modulations... A sensual experience! :o

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And to play it, is electric; just the feel of the notes under the fingers, the shiver down the spine at the modulations... A sensual experience! ;)

 

I think the best bit accompanies the word "king-dom" - the shift from A flat to G flat is terrific. :o

 

(To those who are unfamiliar, I know that might not sound exciting. Trust me - it sounds so much better than it reads)

 

G

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And to play it, is electric; just the feel of the notes under the fingers, the shiver down the spine at the modulations... A sensual experience! ;)

 

:o

 

FWAAHH....

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:o

 

FWAAHH....

 

 

Yes, FWAAHH, indeed! Also, what about those amazing arrangements of "Laus Deo" in that same RSCM book, by CH Lloyd and also watch out for Nun Danket by Dykes Bower.

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Oh dear, I really am becoming a grumpy old man. I find How's version of Helmsley "quaite naice", but for me it's quite spoilt by the infelicities in the penultimate bar. Can't help it; I'm aware of them and so can't pretend I haven't noticed. For all that, I'd be prepared to give it a whirl.

Actually the I find the RSCM collection a mixed bag. The reason why the C H Lloyd and Dykes Bower settings work so well is that they don't try to be too clever. Some others try to be too different, too arresting. It's a great asset to know when to restrain the temptation to modulate - not every chord needs to have a major third! (Actually this fault is not prevalent in the RSCM collection, but it is a very common one). The art, of course, lies in knowing how to lift the congregation's spirits without derailing them.

To my mind - and I admit I'm biased - the one with the biggest "phwoar" factor is Campbell's "Easter Song". Strange, considering he was very anti last verse harmonisations. Don't ask me why. Just one of those things, I suppose; he only wrote this one because the RSCM asked him to. It really does exude a sense of occasion - I'm sure Campbell must have been thinking of Canterbury Cathedral with a congregation of 2,000 - but you really do need a Tuba for the left hand (yes, I admit, a Tuba!) Unfortunately there's a slight snag... well, a big snag really... in that the piece is virtually useless as it stands. Campbell had his own idea about how many beats there should be between the lines, but everyone else does something entirely different, so you need to indulge in a bit of re-composition in order to make the setting usable. I'd be happy to supply a pdf file of my solution to anyone who thinks they'd find it useful - drop me an e-mail.

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Guest Cynic
There's a rather fun arrangement, if I remember rightly, in "Hymns Ancient & Modern: a selection of tunes with Varied Harmonies" from 1912. I picked up a copy in Hay-on-Wye and can never resist hauling out some of the arrangements - does anyone else here have this?

 

 

Yes.

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