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Richard Rodney Bennett

Publisher: Novello & Co

Four American Carols (2010)
Work Notes
i. A Child of God ii. I wonder as I wander iii. Away in a manger iv. Rise up, shepherd, and follow
Text Writer
1. Anon Spiritual 2. John Jacob Niles 3. Anon 4. Anon Spiritual
Novello & Co Ltd
Chorus a cappella / Chorus plus 1 instrument
Year Composed
11 Minutes
unison high voices
Alternate Orchestration
unison high voices; strings

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  • Conductor
    David Hill
    Music Sales Group:
  • 08 DEC 2018
    Symphony Hall, Boston, USA
    Boston Pops Orchestra
    Keith Lockhart, conductor

    Other Dates:
    9 December - Symphony Hall, Boston, USA
    15,16,22-24 December - Symphony Hall, Boston, USA
  • 18 SEP 2016
    RSNO Centre, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
    Royal Scottish National Orchestra
    Christopher Bell, conductor
  • 11 DEC 2014
    Royal Albert Hall, London
    Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    John Rutter, conductor
  • 17 DEC 2013
    Lincoln Cathedral, UK
    Scunthorpe Co-Operative Junior Choir

    Other Dates:
    22 December - Baths Hall, Scunthorpe, UK
  • 10 DEC 2013
    Watford Colosseum, Watford
    BBC Concert Orchestra
    Wordsworth, conductor

    Other Dates:
    11 December - G Live Studio, Guildford
  • 21 DEC 2012
    Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland
    Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Junior Chorus
    Christopher Bell, conductor
  • 18 DEC 2011
    Brighton Dome
    London Gala Orchestra
  • 21 NOV 2010
    Four American Carols World Premiere
    Bennett carols 2010
    Brighton Dome, Brighton, East Sussex (2:45pm)
    Brighton Festival Youth Choir; Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra
    Barry Wordsworth, conductor

These pieces are gems: melodious, rhythmically interesting and harmonically subtle. Perfect for concerts, they would not be out of place in carol services - though it should be noted that the beautifully written accompaniments are conceived for piano and would not sound so good on organ - string orchestra parts may be hired from the publisher. The first piece is a syncopated and bluesy setting of the Spiritual A Child of God. I wonder as I wander is cast in 5/4 time: flattened leading-notes give the melody the air of a folk tune. A lilting setting of Away in a Manger is refreshingly unsentimental. The Spiritual Rise up, shepherd, and follow seems set to round off this cycle in lively fashion, but the music melts away gently at the end. Such a conclusion is entirely appropriate since all four of these songs are imbued with a wonderful tenderness. Very fine music, warmly commended to conductors of children's/ladies' choirs.
Christopher Maxim, Organists Review,01/08/2011
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