My Dancing Day

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page one of My Dancing Day

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Full details

This carol, for SATB and organ was composed in November 1994, and was first performed by Royston Church Choir (Hertfordshire, UK) in Royston Parish Church on December 18th that year, under the direction of the composer. The same forces performed it again the following day in Southwark Cathedral, London.

The text, from The Oxford Book of Carols 1928) sets all 11 verses of this traditional carol (Part Two leads on to Lent and Passiontide; Part Three on to Passiontide, Easter and Ascension).

Set in a lively 6/8 time, diatonic key centres are used to paint the words. Essentially a melodic work, the composer retains his favoured modal style and the use of remote chords within an overall key.

The work starts in G minor, with a refrain, Sing O my love, this have I done for my true love, in G major. The tonality becomes 'flatter' with verses in E minor, F minor and E flat minor, as the words move on from Christmas to the Passion story.

The climax And rose again on the third day, up to my true love and the dance restores the key to G minor/major; the work ends in a triumphant affirmation of faith with the organ still referring to initial material, but this time in a much brighter mood.

It is still ambiguously major/minor, and chooses to decline the use of the conventional tierce de Picardie.

If desired, certain verses can be given to a solo voice from within the choir, as was the case at the first two performances.

Score ID
Year of composition
trad. (anon)
Difficult (Grades 7+)
6 minutes
Classical music

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