I heard the bells on Christmas Day – performance by RMIT Occasional Choral Society

Here’s a lovely performance of my piece “I heard the bells on Christmas Day” by RMIT Occasional Choral Society, Melbourne.

I didn’t even know they’d performed it until recently!

Here’s the text, for those of you unfamiliar with Longfellow’s classic 1864 civil war poem, “Christmas Bells”. I’ve omitted a few verses, for length.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

The piece opens with just women singing (soprano and alto), then tenor join in, then bass for a verse, then a solo tenor verse before the full choir extend to six part harmony for the final verse.

I hope you enjoy the piece. I think they did a great job of it.

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It’s hard to compose with Dora the Explorer on in the background…

I was hoping to get some composition done this month, as it is summer and my son is away with his grandparents in Australia.

Nothing doing. I still have my four year old daughter here. I never knew how difficult it was to compose with Dora the Explorer (“It’s the map, it’s the map, it’s the map!”) playing in the background.

Now I’m wiser.

So my month of composition isn’t likely to happen. Family comes first.

Instead of grinding away with Sibelius, I’ve been down the local pool doing killer whale impersonations for my daughter (and anyone else who wants to watch), and running around the farm with my girlie, as she chases after our lambs laughing and giggling.

Some of our lambs

It’s a lovely sight, so I can’t say that doing without new music down isn’t worth the wait.