A Harvest Festival
A Cantata for harvest-tide:
Follow the links below to see the first page of each piece.
o All creatures of our God and King for SATB choir, drums and piano
o For the beauty of the earth for SATB choir, flute and piano
o Lord of beauty, thine the splendour for SATB choir, violin and piano
o Come, ye thankful people, come for SATB choir, trumpet, drums and piano
o We plough the fields and scatter for SATB choir, horn and organ
o God is working his purpose out for SATB choir, soprano saxophone, drums and piano
o All things bright and beautiful for SATB choir, oboe, cello, drums, piano, and organ
o Great is thy faithfulness for SATB choir, drums and piano
Harvest can challenge a choir: not only can the unwary chorister find the usual procession up the aisle strewn with countless hazards – turnips, cans of noodles, even sheaves of wheat and a yokellish scarecrow – but the range of choir music for the occasion in not renowned. It would seem, ironically, that church musicians have not found the season a fertile one. Composers – what a rum lot! Lenten misery anyone? How inspirational! Harvest thanksgiving? Well, um…
There are, however, some terrific sing-along hymns for harvest. So it was that I turned to the hymn book when in need of a choir anthem in 2006. Gradually over the next few years this turned into an 8-movement cantata. Each features an obbligato instrument or two, along with piano and drums. There is a range of moods from the muscular All creatures of our God and King via the gentle Lord of Beauty to the Gospel-infused God is working his purpose out.
The cantata was given its first complete performance in St John’s Parish Church, Bromsgrove, in October 2011, directed by Jonathan Kingston.