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A dramatic setting of a popular Advent hymn for SATB choir, organ and handbells. The piece begins simply with unison women and bells, gradually adding unison men and more bells, all resulting in an appropriate cloistered feeling. Replete with alleluias, the musical intensity builds as the texture changes to four parts and then the organ is finally introduced, with the cumulative effect leading to a stirring climax (instructions for a dramatic processional are included in both the score and the Rehearsal Tips tab above). This piece makes for a thrilling sacred concert opener and a powerfully moving addition to a regular worship service or special worship service music program (optional cuts are included in the score for use in regular worship services).

Voicing: SATB
Accompaniment: Organ and Handbells
Duration: 6 minutes, 30 seconds
Text: 4th Centruy A.D. Liturgy of St. James, English translation by Gerard Moultrie
Difficulty: Medium

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Performance Options

1) For Use as a Processional (as printed in front of the score):

This arrangement of Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence lends itself to “spatial” placement of the choir. You may begin by placing the four sections of the choir (soprano, alto, tenor and bass) in the four corners of the church. During the second verse, listeners will hear the various parts of the chant coming from all directions. The interlude that follows allows the two front sections to process to the rear of the¬†church where verse three may be sung. If you wish, you may delay the entrance of the organ until measure 95, using only the bells to accompany the interlude and verse 3. During the interlude that follows verse 3, the full choir may process to the front of the church where they sing the climactic final verse.

While this may not work in every situation, you are encouraged to use your architectural space as creatively as possible. If more time is required for any part of the processional, some of the  bell patterns may be repeated. Another possibility is to simply have the bells ring randomly after the interlude until the choir is in place.

2) For Use in Sunday Worship (as printed in front of the score):

If you find that you need to shorten the arrangement to meet the needs of Sunday morning worship, you may omit the interludes (measures 51-68 and measures 107-133). When using this alternative, the handbells and organ should use the bracketed notes in measure 134.

 

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