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Fanfare for A Cappella Double Choir

Johann Rist
Difficult (Grades 7+)
3 minutes
Classical music
Instrumental parts
Not available

When I first came across Johann Rist's Break forth, O beautious heavenly light, the text instantly struck me as being a sort of poetic fanfare, I and knew I had to write something that would communicate the excitement of the text. Originally I wrote this piece for double brass quintets, simply putting the emotion of the text into music. However, as I continued to write, I felt the power of the whole message was lost if the words were excluded. I then rewrote the piece for double a cappella choir and it turned into what you're hearing today.

I knew I wanted a big sound, so I incorporated a lot of divisi, chord clusters and unison passages which can all be heard throughout the piece. Once I discovered that the music was better with text, my job became a lot easier as I could now draw heavily on word painting. Once example is the word "light" near the beginning of the piece. Here each voice is singing their own individual notes and tempo thus creating a beautiful sonorous quality depicting light's shimmering quality.

The dictionary definition of a fanfare is 'a short ceremonial tune or flourish played on brass instruments, typically to introduce something or someone of importance.' Since the original hymn from which this text was taken is a Christmas hymn declaring Jesus' birth, I felt the title of "Fanfare," although not played by brass, was still appropriate.

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