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Ideas for Good Friday

Ideas for Good Friday
Planning ahead! I’m very familiar with all the traditional Good Friday music but after 20+ years plus I’m looking for something new. It is not the service to be really experimental but I just wonder if anyone has some ideas. My pastor is very musical (has a music degree) and is open to sound suggestions. L
Replies (18): Threaded | Chronological
on November 30, 2013 3:00pm
Single anthem, multiple anthem, major work, cantata? What's the length on this?
Also, are you looking for congregational song as well as choral pieces?
on December 1, 2013 8:01am
Good Day,
Have you ever sung "Do not Stand at my Grave and Weep" as an Easter anthem or song?  It was, of course, not written specifically for Easter, but for the death of a friend. As Jesus is, too, our friend, it may well be extended to Him. It even extends to the 'cosmological Jesus' in the lines "I am the soft stars that shine at night", and its ending is as eternal and mystical as the universe "Do not stand at my grave and cry. I am not here, I did not die."
There are several settings of this magnificent poem apparently written hastily by Mary Elizabeth Frye on a paper bag. I have written one of them, a short and very accessible setting, which may be seen at
on December 1, 2013 9:18am
Don't know what you are looking for, but this is what we are singing. We have a service at 15 u. and 20 u.  I do hope you'll sing appropriate (liturgical) music.
Popule meus                           J. Busto (°1949)
Christus factus est                  G.M. Asola (1560 – 1609)
Stabat mater                           G. Tartini (1692 – 1770)
Vexilla regis                           Fr. Feroci (1673 - 1750)
Passion                                   Gregorian chant
Ecce lignum                           Gregorian chant
Dirk Maes
Voces Capituli, Belgium
on December 1, 2013 10:15am
You probably already know these but (just in case you don’t) there’s…
Schütz:  Passion according to St. John, an English version by Stephen Rosolack and published by GIA.
Mozart:  Grabmusik – written in solitude at age 11 as test piece, this work is very disarming from the first line “Wo bin ich?”
Pinkham:  The Small Passion – a set of antiphons that are both very modern (in music) and neo-baroque (in text).
on December 1, 2013 3:01pm
I have a setting of Seven Last Words for choir, soloists and orchestra. Two of the movements are on YouTube. Check these out. First and Second Words.
Jerome Malek
on December 2, 2013 2:46am
Kenneth Leighton's 'Solus ad victimam' always brings a tear to my eye.
on December 2, 2013 5:38am
 I wrote this last year for my choir for Good Friday. Setting the text to a new tune gave me a new perspective on it.  
O Sacred Head Now Wounded - Thomas Keesecker, published by MorningStar Music
on December 2, 2013 6:20am
Applauded by an audience of 1
on December 2, 2013 6:34am
May I suggest my own "Watch With Me" for SATB a cappella chorus? It has a very specifically Good Friday text by Jane Griner (author of the words for Sing Me to Heaven and many others) which is among the most powerful lyrics I have ever set.
See/hear it here:


Dan Gawthrop

on December 3, 2013 2:43am
Absolutely lovely, will probably buy it. Is it published? But definitely much better suited to Maundy Thursday than Good Friday, at least in my (Anglican) tradition.
on December 5, 2013 5:42am
Published by Dunstan House - DH0205 - 8 p. octavo MSRP $2.00 Distributed by Subito Music to retailers (or you may order directly from them)
on December 3, 2013 3:27am
You may be interested in a choral sequence for Holy Week that I wrote a while ago, which was performed in Birmingham Cathedral a couple of years ago.  It consists of three new hymn settings - All glory, laud and honour, My song is love unknown, and Ride on, ride on in majesty - which are linked together with choral passages and Bible readings.  The whole sequence lasts about 16 minutes, but any of the hymn settings can be performed on its own.  The accompaniment is for organ, and the style is quite accessible, with places where the congregation can join in. I suppose the most appropriate setting for Good Friday would be 'My song is love unknown, which occurs about 8 minutes into the recording.   Please let me know if you'd like me to send a pdf of the score - either of this hymn or of the whole sequence.  
on December 4, 2013 5:47am
Dear L,
I have three pieces that would be very suitable:
Crux Fidelis (1' long, SATB, no divisi - quite simple but very effective. Latin text.)
Has been performed by choirs in Scotland, Canada and the US with good results
O Vos Omnes (3', 6-part choir (SSATTB or SAATTB), no divisi - slightly trickier with a few clashes, but still modal and not difficult. Latin text.)
Has been performed by three different choirs in Scotland, with further performances due in South Africa and Italy(!)
Solus Ad Victimam (4', SATB with 2-part divisi in each part - fairly tricky but still within the range of most church choirs. ENGLISH text, the same text as used in the Leighton setting - which I'd also recommend.)
The links on my website for this one appear to be broken at the moment - will fix them! No recording, but you can should be able to see a score at
Performed successfully by choirs in Scotland and England
The PDF scores are £10 for Crux Fidelis, £20 for O Vos Omnes and £25 for Solus Ad Victimam, and that lets you print as many copies as you need.
Costs for printed scores are 50p-£2 per copy plus postage.
Chris Hutchings
on December 4, 2013 10:09am
Here's what I've chosen for choir items for our 2014 Good Friday service (haven't finalised congregational hymns yet, but there'll be rioting in the streets if we don't have "When I survey" to Rockingham!)
J.H. Maunder: Olivet to Calvary – the march to Calvary 
All ye that pass by: Tune Wareham 
Is it nothing to you: Ouseley 
Bach B minor mass: Crucifixus 
Brian Millar
D.o.M. St Mark's Anglican church, Remuera, Auckland New Zealand
on December 4, 2013 5:01pm
Thanks for all the suggestions. As I said I know all the traditional rep. so it is refreshing to see
some of you have some great new ideas including some new compositions. THANKS. There is so much
rep. to sing I rarely bring myself to repeat things. I will be in touch with some of you soon.
on December 5, 2013 8:25am
Good Friday Anthems, ARNATT, Ronald, (SAB), ECS PUBLISHING Catalog No. 7087.
Stanley M. Hoffman, Ph.D.
Chief Editor
615 Concord Street, Framingham, MA 01702
ph 508-620-7400    ph. (toll free) 800-777-1919
fax 508-620-7401

Canticle Distributing, 1727 Larkin Williams Road Fenton, MO 63026-2024
ph 800-647-2117 (USA only)    
ph. 636-305-0100 (outside USA and inside metro St. Louis)
fax  636-305-0121
e-mail: jburcher(a)

on December 6, 2013 9:07am
An absolutly exquisite setting of Crux Fidelis is that by Jean-Jules Roger-Ducasse (1873-1954) for SATB chorus, soprano soloist and organ.  It is published by Durand, No. 312-41396.  It and the composer are not well known in North America, but it is well worth the trouble to order and perform.
Richard Householder
University of Windsor
on December 6, 2013 10:54am
John Sander's Reproaches - very powerful, very fulfilling to sing (we sing them every year for Good Friday, and every year I am moved by them)
Mia Makaroff's Were You There - comtemporary setting of the traditional tune, very effective
Ray Horst
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