VOCAL SELECTIONS FOR CHRISTMAS AND EPIPHANY
Dr. Amy Prickett, Assistant Director and Vocal Music Specialist
Here are a few options for vocal solo pieces for Christmas and Epiphany to enhance your congregation’s worship experience for the holiday season. Several are available through IMSLP, in the public domain, easily downloadable for quickness.
Schlafendes Jesuskind by Hugo Wolf, which he wrote as a part of his Mörike collection. This song can be found in Wolf 65 Songs: for voice and piano published by International Music Company, 1960. The collection is available for high and low voices. If you do not already have access to this collection, it is also available on the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP). Click on the link for the piano vocal score from IMSLP. http://www.imslp.org/wiki/M%C3%B6rike-Lieder_(Wolf,_Hugo)
If you prefer to use the organ instead of piano, this piece is also included in the collection of Wolf Lieder that Max Reger arranged for voice and organ, published by Bärenreiter, 2003.
A standard Christmas selection written by Max Reger is Mariä Wiegenlied. One edition of this song is in The Vocal Library: The Classical Singer’s Christmas Album published by Hal Leonard, 1992. This selection is written for piano accompaniment and can be found in high and low keys. This piece can be downloaded from IMSLP. Click on the link provided and it will be under volume 6. http://imslp.org/wiki/Schlichte_Weisen%2C_Op.76_(Reger%2C_Max)
The Kings by Peter Cornelius can be found in the book Rejoice Now My Spirit: Vocal Solos for the Church Year, published by Augsburg Fortress, 1992. In this edition, the piece was arranged for organ and voice by K. Lee Scott. For the voice and piano score go to IMSLP http://imslp.org/wiki/Weihnachtslieder,_Op.8_(Cornelius,_Peter)
Another song by Peter Cornelius for the upcoming liturgical seasons is The Shepherds which can be found in Solos for the Church Soloist, published by Lawson-Gould Music Publishers, Inc., 1960. This piece is for voice and piano and can be found in high and low keys on IMSLP http://imslp.org/wiki/Weihnachtslieder,_Op.8_(Cornelius,_Peter)
If you would like to use some traditional songs of the season in special settings for your congregation, here are a few selections using obbligato instruments and duets.
Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming arranged by Richard Walters uses piano and violin to accompany the voice. This piece can be found in high and low keys published by Hal Leonard, 1992 in The Vocal Library: Classical Carols. Another piece with violin, also arranged by Richard Walters from the same collection, is Un flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle (Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella). A nice duet for the season is The Holly and the Ivy also arranged by Richard Walter from this collection uses two high voices. This piece is accompanied by flute and piano to create a nice small ensemble.
O Holy Night by Adolphe Adam so well-loved at this time of the year can be sung as a duet. Carl Deis arranged this all-time favorite as a duet, published by G. Schirmer, 1950 for Soprano and Alto and for Soprano and Tenor.
Don’t forget that the CMI Online Choral Library is also a great tool to help you with your with special music needs. On the choral library search page, select “unison” in the "Voicing" search field, then select the search field "Topical Reference" for the season which you are a piece. You may find anthems from your own library that will work as solo pieces.
Here are a few examples of anthems that will come up when you search for Christmas:
Gesu bambino arranged by Michael Burkhardt, published by MorningStar Music Publishers, 2013. This anthem is accompanied by organ and handbells.
The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy arranged by Dorothy and Tom Christopherson for unison voice, piano and percussion. This anthem is published by Concordia Publishing House, 1993.
These are examples of a search for Epiphany anthems:
Carol of the Wise Men by Hal Hopson, published by Augsburg Fortress, 1981. The song is accompanied by piano and also has an optional flute part.
How Brightly Shines the Morning Star by David Johnson can by accompanied by organ or piano and has an optional trumpet part. This anthem also has optional SATB parts to be sung as a quartet. It is published by Schmitt, Hall and McCreary, 1971.
Sample pages of all of these can be viewed on the CMI eLibrary pages. CLICK HERE to go to the online library page.