This month's selected piece is a well-crafted modern hymn concertato scored for two-part voices, two treble instruments, piano, optional congregation, and optional violoncello by Matthew Machemer. “When I Behold Jesus Christ” features repetitive and overlapping piano patterns that are complemented with polyphonic instrumental lines and accessible choral writing. The overall feel of the piece has a minimalist flair.
Celebrate the coming of the Magi and the Epiphany season by joining in fellowship through music. As you prepare for the season, consider adding these pieces to your repertoire for your Sunday services.
Composed for Concordia University Chicago’s celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, this setting for two-part voices and piano is characterized by soaring vocal lines and idiomatic piano writing. With text that is fresh and expressive, this anthem is appropriate not only for Reformation but also throughout the Church Year.
“Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word” (LSB 655) is one of Martin Luther’s most well-known hymns. It was also one of the last hymns Luther wrote. The text originates from Luther’s Admonition to Pray against the Turks which was written in 1541. Translations of the hymn into English rebrand it as a general plea to the triune God to defend His Church from all her enemies, both physical and spiritual. At its genesis, however, the hymn was described in a 1544 Wittenberg hymnal as “a children’s hymn to sing against the two archenemies of Christ and His holy Church: the pope and the Turks.”
This piece by Benjamin M. Culli paints a beautiful image of heaven. Arranged for SATB and piano, Culli treats the text with a lyrical tune and supportive piano accompaniment. The piece builds and modulates in the middle section, then finishes quietly in the original key. “Rest for the Weary” is a moving selection for multiple portions of the Church Year, including All Saints’ Day.
A classic Easter text is given a substantive, dramatic setting by Benjamin M. Culli. This English cathedral–style anthem features a memorable tune accompanied by dramatic and thrilling organ writing. Utilizing the full dynamic ranges of both the choir and the organ, this majestic piece is perfect for Easter Sunday and throughout Eastertide. An optional trumpet part is available separately for download.
Kevin Hildebrand has set a text by Stephen P. Starke to the Welsh tune LLEF. This easy-to-learn composition is useful throughout the Lenten season, especially on Ash Wednesday during the imposition of ashes. Written to be flexible, it may be sung by soloists or a two-part choir, with an optional SATB stanza, and it may be modified in length. An optional part for treble instruments is included.
The First Noel is one of the final contributions to the Concordia Publishing House choral catalog by the late Carl F. Schalk (1929–2021). Schalk’s soaring tune and captivating setting of the beloved Christmas carol is set for SATB, strings, tubular bells, and timpani. Useful for concerts, services, and pageants, the piece is a processional carol. The new tune and unique combination of instrumentation will engage listeners and set the tone for concerts and worship.
This three-volume set edited by William Braun includes the SAB chorale settings of Michael Praetorius, making this collection accessible to most choirs. The settings may be used as a complete selection by the choir, as an anthem, or in alteration with the congregation for the Hymn of the Day.