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In 2006 I wrote A Christmas Fanfare for a concert involving both Auckland Boys’ Choir and Auckland Girls’ Choir. This work for multiple choirs and orchestra was used successfully several times in annual Christmas concerts. In 2010 these two choirs decided to present their own Christmas concert. Rejecting the initial idea of re-scoring A Christmas Fanfare, I offered to write a new piece tailored to the needs of the two choirs, with organ accompaniment. Faithful Choir, Rejoicing Sing is the result.
The text, here in a modern English translation, dates from the twelfth century and is attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153). I was drawn to the idea of an ancient text being delivered by fresh young voices. The text is a hymn of praise celebrating the birth of Christ. Each of the voice parts first presents their own verse of the complete text. This is then followed by the four verses being sung simultaneously during a procession, in a kind of canonic texture. Following the procession the same music is heard once more with the parts coming in successively, and the whole piece ends with a final triumphant ‘Alleluia’.
Commissioned by Auckland Boys' Choir and Auckland Girls' Choir
English translation of text attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux