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Presuming to improve on the effort of any other composer is risky and, in my opinion, unethical. Hence this effort at providing an alternative tune to Sir Arthur Sullivan’s joyful, buoyant setting of the same text is not meant to be one of improvement.
"Sain Ffagan" was originally a part-writing project during my freshman year in college (1966-1967). Over the succeeding years, I toyed with a number of titles for it and finally settled on "Sain Ffagan" in 1972, following my extensive stay in the lovely and charming Cardiff (UK) suburb by that name in 1972. On more than one occasion, the beauty of the town and the graciousness of its people, especially the staff at the Welsh Folk Museum, where I was conducting M.Mus thesis research on the crwth, brought the strains of the tune back to my mind. In 1978, I copyrighted the tune, with several other works, in a set titled _Lenten and Easter Miscellany_.
When used as a processional or general-purpose hymn (suggested: immediately after my SsA setting of "Holy, Holy, Holy," at this site), a full strophe of instrumental introduction (ideally string orchestra, alternatively organ with string or other "velvety" stop, probably without any mixtures and definitely no reed) should be played to familiarize the congregation with the music. Electronic keyboards should be set to strings with light reverb and little or no vibrato. Brass and penetrating woodwinds such as oboe and bassoon should be avoided altogether, and soft woodwinds (e.g., flute) should be used with caution. Smoothness and suppleness of sound in both the voices and the instruments are of the utmost importance.
For choral performance, voices should be unaccompanied. A small to medium-sized choral ensemble, with strong reading ability, solid musical ears, and well-controlled voices that blend well throughout each section, is required for a definitive performance.
For anything not permitted by the above licence then you should contact the publisher first to obtain permission.
Reviews of COME, YE FAITHFUL, RAISE THE STRAIN (for Easter, alternate tune: "Sain Ffagan")
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