Step by Circle is a continuous setting of six poems from George Mackay Brown's Fishermen with Ploughs, which concern the traditional ways of life and death in Rackwick, the village on Hoy, Orkney where I lived for twenty-eight years.
I have supported the choir constantly, by pointing entries and doubling choral lines within the piano part. There is one short phrase I would prefer to be sung a capella - although it could be doubled discreetly at a pinch - this is no more difficult than a similar, short technical challenge in Beethoven's "Mass in C".
The piano part is not just an accompaniment; it has its own discourse, and is correspondingly challenging. To facilitate choral rehearsals, I have, in addition to the elaborate piano part for performance, added a simple unadorned reduction of the choral line on two staves, wherever it seemed appropriate. In this way, the chorus can be helped to pitch lines and chords etc., without the distraction of the piano's flights of fancy.
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