Farrington - Then sing we all: A Jazz Cantata (choir) - vocal score: PDF download
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Then sing we all: A Jazz Cantata - for SATB choir, piano, double bass and drum kit (piano vocal score)
Then sing we all is a celebratory work using jazz styles composed in 2022. After the traumatic period of the pandemic in 2020-1 and the forced closure of group choral singing, the piece expresses something of the joy that we experience when singing together. It has been an activity that human beings have enjoyed for centuries, and many of the texts are about the simple pleasures of singing, rediscovering delight after suffering. These verses all come from the 16th and 17th centuries, a rich period in British musical history. The music belongs to the more recent stylistic world of jazz, with the instrumental ensemble resembling a jazz group.
The piece opens with a short swing introduction, before Welcome sweet pleasure, where the choir describes the joy of singing, somewhat hard-won after suffering sorrow and grief. Trip and go is an upbeat swing number, full of outdoor spirit and energy. This mood continues in the next movement, Sing we now merrily, with a funky, driving groove. There is a care-free attitude throughout, the choir even contributing their own percussion effects. A late-night club atmosphere pervades the sound of To Music, like an intimate jazz ballad. The jubilant character is briefly resumed with Sing we and chant it, again putting aside doubts. This underlying uncertainty is finally explored in a setting of Adieu, farewell, a poem originally about the loss and grief brought about by plague. The music is sorrowful and pleading, expressing something of the recent trauma felt by so many. A short piano solo shifts the mood to one of reflective acceptance and to the final movement Now let us make a merry greeting. This highlights the core 'message' of the piece: how special it is to be sharing music with each other in person. There is an almost gospel flavour to the music, impassioned and ecstatic, concluding with the opening words of the piece being forcefully repeated: 'Then sing we all'.
Scoring: SATB choir with piano, double bass, drum kit (3 players)
Duration: c.32 mins
1. Welcome sweet pleasure
2. Trip and go
3. Sing we now merrily
4. To Music
5. Sing we and chant it
6. Adieu, farewell, earth's bliss
7. Now let us make a merry greeting