“Two Friends” (the first movement of the choral song cycle As Time Stops To Rest) paints a peaceful scene of two friends losing track of time as they sit by the ocean enjoying their time together. The piece opens with serene rolled chords in the piano, which continue throughout almost the entirety of the movement. The constant rolling of the piano creates a sense of ocean waves continuously ebbing and flowing. The opening tenor solo describes the tranquil setting and is then joined by the full choir as “warmth and happiness intermix to form an afternoon shared by two close friends”. The movement features lush harmonies and detailed ensemble interplay. The movement concludes with the continued rolled chords in the piano and a final soft low cluster, as if the texture is sinking into the ocean.

As Time Stops To Rest is a three-movement song cycle for SSAATTBB Choir and Piano, with featured soprano and tenor soloists. The cycle is dedicated to the composer’s late aunt Susan Jordan. The works sets three poems from a larger set of poetry entitled As Time Stops To Rest, also written by Susan Jordan. The song cycle has an overall arch form of peace followed by tragedy and loss, ultimately giving way to a final sense of peace.

Two Friends may be performed as part of the entire song cycle or as a stand-alone piece.

Also see the second movement Storm’s End and the third/final movement Magic.

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The Candlelight Was Burning Low is a quiet and pensive original Christmas carol describing a dark and cold winter before Jesus Christ was born on Christmas morning. The text paints a picture of the world waiting in quiet darkness for light, unaware that it’s savior and eternal light is about to be born.

This carol would make a wonderful addition to an Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols or a candlelight prayer service.

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What Child Is This? is a traditional English Christmas Carol composed in the 1800s. This arrangement, commissioned by Jonathan Bautista and Nova Vocal Ensemble, fuses the melody and lyrics of “What Child is This” with motives and harmonies found in “Carol of the Bells”, a Ukrainian carol. Each voice has a chance to sing the various motives drawn from “Carol of the Bells”, making this a fun choral piece that combines two beloved Christmas carols.

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Alleluia is part of the sacred mass tradition and is associated with praise and acclamations. This modern setting of the Alleluia text opens with a fanfare-like piano solo. The choir then enters and slowly builds in excitement before reaching a climax. The B section of this piece explores different choral textures, using flowing lines and dynamic swells. After the flowing triplet section, the opening material returns and builds until the final joyous ending.

This bright Alleluia setting would fit well into any sacred service, especially Easter Sunday.

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