A sequence of carols for three upper voices (male and/or female voices, SSA) and instrumental ensemble (or piano). First performed by the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus on 5 December 1987 in Toronto, Canada. Vocal score with piano accompaniment.
Derek Holman's "Sir Christemas" is a very well-crafted, 22 minute suite of eight secular Christmas texts, most from the 15th and 16th centuries. Holman's sense of humour is evident in both his choice of poems (EG: arguments about whether holly or ivy is the better Christmas plant, curses on the household that won't open the door to the carollers, etc) and his musical settings. The music is quirky and often angular, but never simply for the sake of it. Word stress and expressive qualities are first rate. If you can afford to use the small instrumental ensemble the piece was originally written for (piano, harp, flute, cello and percussion), I highly recommend it. The colours add so much sparkle to each movement. Choral parts are not easy, but they reward singer, conductor and audience.
Morna Edmundson - (Vancouver, Canada)
Wonderful, controlled music.
He writes with great authority, and the word settings are superb.
Is there any commercially-available recording of this? Anonymous
- (Hove, United Kingdom)