Recently Composed Palm/Passion Sunday Anthems, Year A

Ah, Holy Jesus           Shaw, Timothy           SATB, a cappella        Augsburg Fortress 978
This is an easy anthem based on the familiar text of Heermann/Bridges set to Johann Cruger’s HERZLIEBSTER JESU.  This quiet, lovely setting is also appropriate for other days in Holy Week.

Ah, Holy Jesus           McCullough, Donald  SATB, Organ              MorningStar MSM-50-348
Offered as an alternate to the same text listed above, McCullough sets the text to newly composed music in a simple, Baroque style.  The lyric, singable melody fits the text well.  Easily learned.

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross         Stopford, Philip W. J.             SSAATTBB, a cappella
MorningStar MSM-50-3160
The familiar text of Isaac Watts is set to original music by Stopford in an arrangement that requires divisi in all voice parts.  The setting is moderately difficult and would best work with a larger number of singers.  Stopford’s anthem gives us a nice alternative to the familiar Gilbert Martin setting including an exciting climax on the last stanza.

Antiphonal Processional    Hopson, Hal   SATB, Organ, Children’s Choir, Congregation, Brass, Handbells, Timpani          Choristers Guild CGA-1485
This anthem would work particularly well as an Introit.  Ever the thoughtful church musician, Mr. Hopson suggests options for performance if vocal and instrumental ensembles are not available.   The piece opens with voices singing “Hosanna!” accompanied by handbells, followed by an instrumental transition that surprisingly leads into Edward Plumptre’s hymn “Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart” sung to an original melody by the composer.  This hymn is not always associated with Palm Sunday but is entirely appropriate.  This festive setting is of moderate difficulty.

Hosanna        Burkhart, Michael     2 equal voices, Handbells, Bass Instrument
MorningStar MSM-50-3754
This composition for Introit uses Christian Gregor’s familiar melody and text for Palm Sunday, “Hosanna! Blessed is he that comes,” in antiphonal style between two equal voices (children’s voices or youth choir/adults in a 2-part mixed arrangement). The accompaniment for handbells and bass instrument is invigorating. The length of this piece is only 28 measures, and its energy and focus would provide an excellent start to the festival day.

Hosanna! Blessed is He!  Hopson, Hal       SATB, Piano or Organ, Unison Choir
If your desire is a more conventional setting of Gregor’s tune and text, consider this one.  The beginning section of the anthem is an antiphonal exchange between the Unison Choir (children or women) and SATB group that leads into 2 stanzas of “Hosanna, Loud Hosanna” in simple four-part harmony sung to ELLACOMBE.  The difficulty level is Easy and the piece is very attractively designed and created.

Hosanna, Hosanna! Covington, Mitchell   SATB, Organ, Children’s Choir, Congregation, Optional Trumpet            MorningStar MSM-50-3513
An alternate setting of the same hymn and tune is by newcomer Mitchell Covington.  The children’s part could be sung by women of the choir, if necessary, and the congregation may also be eliminated in participation.  This is a very accessible anthem.

Ride On, Ride On in Majesty           Shepperd, Mark         SAB, Piano or Organ MorningStar, MSM-50-3520
The familiar Henry Milman hymn is set to the tune DISTRESS from William Walker’s Southern Harmony, 1835.  The anthem begins with a unison arrangement (later 2-part antiphonal) of the John 12:13 text, “Hosanna!  Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord.”  The hymn is stated in f-minor, and its simple melody give a sense of sadness to the text “Ride on.”

Hosannas Everywhere         Hobby, Robert           SATB, Organ, Children’s Choir, Congregation, Handbells, 2 Trumpets(optional)  MorningStar MSM-50-3775
Mr. Hobby has set to music a very clever text by Mark Lawson that provides a fresh approach to Palm Sunday and is engaging to children.  However, if children are unavailable, women of the SATB choir may be substituted. Trumpets may be eliminated and the parts played on the keyboard.  This anthem is a very welcomed addition to the repertoire and is not difficult.