Voices from In the Bleak Midwinter (2nd Alternative Setting)
My dear Mum always liked Gustav Holst’s tune for this carol, and it is, indeed, a beautifully effective and simple melody.
My first alternative setting, which I knew was certainly not as good as Holst’s, has still been favourably reviewed, though, of course, I do very much concur with the comments ofAndrew Lowe-Watson, who says that, whilst it might be a ’very pretty melody’, it does not really conjure up the ’snow’, as Holsts’s very much does.
This is my second alternative setting which, whilst keeping the 6/8 meter of my previous working, might, by virtue of the minor key, perhaps create a somewhat more appropriate vehicle for Christina Rossetti’s text.
Again, the vocal writing is quite straightforward, with some simple harmony, mostly in 3rds, in the third verse, and some simple canonic imitation in the last. The piano accompaniment is equally not too demanding. I have once more set four verses, omitting Rossetti’s original third verse.
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