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Richard Rodney Bennett

Publisher: Novello & Co

Gloria, Gloria (2010)
Text Writer
M. R. Peacocke
Novello & Co Ltd
Chorus a cappella / + 1 instrument
Year Composed
3 Minutes
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  • Conductor
    David Hill
    Music Sales Group:
  • Ensemble
    BBC Singers
    Paul Brough
  • Ensemble
    Music Sales Singers
    David Hill and Daniel Hyde
    Choral Sampler 2012:
Gloria, Gloria sets words by the poet M.R. Peacocke, the composer’s sister. The question is asked in each stanza, ‘When you went down to Bethlehem, What did you see on the road?’, to which the answer is ‘We saw nothing’ – though, of course, the characters actually saw plenty on the road to Bethlehem: children talking of voices in the sky, supposedly drunken shepherd lads, ‘three old madmen babbling about a star’: all things that the listener recognizes as pointing to the birth of Christ. The music is rather jazzy in style. The principal melody is given at the start of each stanza successively to each vocal line from soprano down to bass: Bennett’s technical skill is as evident as his melodic gift and harmonic resourcefulness. Most of the vocal writing is in four parts, but there are divisions here and there, with the choir dividing into eight parts at the climax. Although not without difficulties, this piece is within the grasp of any choir that has the resources to sing in eight parts unaccompanied. Singers and congregations/audiences will enjoy its catchy tunefulness.
This new carol exhibits Richard Rodney Bennett's ability to write beautiful, memorable melodies and harmonise them in colourful and unusual but appealing ways. It builds in intensity as the mystery of the incarnation unfolds in the text, climaxing on richly-scored ff chords for the final cry of 'Gloria, Gloria'. It has rhythmic, melodic and harmonic challenges and is by no means an easy piece, but the finely crafted writing rewards the effort needed.
Martin Clarke, Organists Review,01/08/2011
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