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An Advent Processional

Composer Russell Schulz-Widmar Text Ninth cent. Latin
Voicing Mixed voices, handbells, organ, and opt. cong.
Church Season Advent Topics Processional, Opening of Worship
6' 15" Price $1.95 (U.S.) Released 6/96
Catalog no. 405-121 Difficulty Moderately easy

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"A very simple and effective setting of VENI, VENI EMMANUEL has been created by Russell Schulz-Widmar in An Advent Processional for SATB choir, nine handbells, organ, and optional congregation. The handbells are used to play two chords, introduced sparingly but consistently throughout the piece, facilitating memorization for a processional. The choir sings in unison for the first four stanzas, followed by a fifth stanza of parallel organum. The sixth and seventh stanzas are accompanied by organ and include congregational singing (camera-ready 'box' included with the choral score). The choir remains in unison for the sixth stanza and unfolds into four-part harmony for the refrain of the seventh stanza, with a descant for sopranos provided." -The Hymn, January 1997.

"This exciting processional builds to a triumphant conclusion, moving inexorably toward a final major chord that comes like a bolt of lightning after the organum-inspired harmonies of the preceding pages. Schulz-Widmar takes the very singable VENI,VENI EMMANUEL tune and text, setting each of the 'great O' antiphons in turn. He sets four verses for unison choir with occasional handbell punctuation. Verse five adds an organum part for tenor or soprano, soloists, or the entire section, moving a fifth above the choral line. While this makes for a fairly high tessitura, it is an effective technique. Verse six returns to unison singing, with a simple organ accompaniment.
     The final verse includes thicker organ writing and a soprano descant that rises to a2. At the final 'Rejoice, rejoice,' the choir breaks into simple four-part singing. The congregation is invited to join on the final two verses, and a unison part for printing in a service leaflet is included, with permission granted to reproduce as needed.
     The beauty of this work is its simplicity. The choir can easily process up a long aisle in four verses, and four unison verses are provided. Along the way, the handbells play the second and third beat of each measure, which provides a rhythmic checkpoint for the choir. With the choir in place near the chancel, a much richer closing verse adds spice and finality to the introit."--Choral Journal, September 1997.

Description A simple, practical, and sensible piece for choirs. It uses the familiar Advent hymn, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel with a spare but effective handbell ostinato. Your congregation can even join in for 2 stanzas if you wish.

Anthem text
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.

O Holy Wisdom from on high,
come, order all things mightily;
to us the path of wisdom show,
and teach us in her ways to go. Refrain

O Adonai, in all your might
reveal yourself on Sinai's height;
as once, in majesty and awe,
you gave to us your righteous law. Refrain

O Royal branch of Jesse's tree,
come free us from all tyranny.
From depths of hell your people save,
and gave us vict'ry o'er the grave. Refrain

O Key of David's city, come,
and open wide our heav'nly home.
Make safe the way that leads on high,
and close the path of misery. Refrain

O Morning Star, in radiance bright
dispel the gloom of endless night
Enlighten those who wait in fear;
come, sehd yor rays of glory here. Refrain

O King and hope of all the earth,
come visit us by human birth.
Bid every sad division cease;
O come and save us, Prince of Peace. Refrain

Text: Latin, ca. 9th cent. trans. composite.

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