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Christmas repertoire for SATB and strings

This is something of a programming challenge!  My chorus of 55-60 voices is going to share a concert this Christmas season with an area orchestra.  We'll be singing our own concerts first, then on another week end, join the orchestra.  For our own concerts, we'll have access to limited numbers of string players.  I'm looking for repertoire that could do "double-duty": singable with scaled down numbers of strings, but then also singable with full orchestra, ideally including the winds as well.
Obviously a challenge!  Look forward to your ideas!
on May 17, 2010 4:09am
I am very fond of the Ralph Vaughn Williams Fantasia on Christmas Carols.

Mark Jon Gottschalk

on May 17, 2010 7:24am
 Consider programming some Baroque music, like one of Christmas cantatas of Buxtehude (Das neugeborne Kindelein; In dulci jubilo), or one of the Magnificat settings by Vivaldi or Leonardo Leo.
Len Ratzlaff
on May 17, 2010 9:14am
Hi, Greg.  Last Fall my Community String Orchestra Board asked me to write a medley of Carols, which I did, and it turned out rather well.  I called it our "Stringalong Singalong," and while it was NOT approached as a choral setting it WAS designed specifically for audience singalong led by one or more singers.  It also works quite well just as an instrumental.  Last December it was used by one group at a Retirement Community and by another for two evenings of Madrigal Dinners, played instrumentally early in the evening and as a singalong at the end of the program.  The only disadvantage is that it turned out to be about 11 minutes long.
It's scored for strings only, no winds, although in the latter case I did add recorders and bassoons since they could read off the string parts without transposing.  I'd be happy to send a .pdf of the score if you're intersted in looking at it, even though it isn't exactly what you're asking for.
All the best,
on May 17, 2010 9:47pm
 Hi Greg,
I have a home-grown Christmas carol - Sleep Now, Jesu -  written for SATB and Strings (orch) and premiered here in Tucson in 2006 with the Tucson MasterSingers and the Catalina Chamber Orchestra.
A live recording (3'26") can be found at:
Looking forward to hearing from you if you are interested.
Richard White
on May 18, 2010 10:34pm
 You can get away with Messiah without Oboes and Bassoon, possibly adding a little more organ.  The trumpet isn't used in part 1.
on May 18, 2010 10:35pm
 I like Pergolesi's magnificat a lot;  there's also Charpentier's Messe de Minuit that works for strings alone, plus organ.
on May 19, 2010 7:41am
 Hi Greg,
Last season, I was asked to write a piece for choir and chamber orchestra.  I entitled the piece "Sing This Night" and is a 14 minute medley of 5 traditional Christmas carols: Wexford Carol; Torches, Torches, Run With Torches; Jesus Christ, the Apple Tree; Good Christian Friends, Rejoice; and Sussex Carol.  The piece was successfully performed by my volunteer choir and a 24 piece orchestra.  I invite you to please send an email to me at paitken(a) if you are interested in having a copy of the full score.
Grace & Peace,
Paul A. Aitken, Composer/Conductor
Director of Music Ministry
Cathedral of the Rockies
Boise, Idaho
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