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When the Song of the Angels Is Stilled (SATB)

By Elizabeth Alexander

Mixed Chorus (SATB choir a cappella) - Moderate
Composed by Elizabeth Alexander. Collegiate Repertoire, Community Chorus, High School Chorus, Concert Music. Church-Seasonal-Christmas, Church Choir-Seasonal-Epiphany, Angels, Sacred (Worship & Praise), Choral. Octavo. With Text language: English. Duration 3 minutes. Published by Seafarer Press (SF.SEA-062-00).

Item Number: SF.SEA-062-00

Poem by Howard Thurman, "When the Song of the Angels Is Stilled".

A rhythmically vital setting of Howard Thurman's magnificent poem about the true "work of Christmas." Informed by South African part-writing and the rhythmic impulse of African-American spirituals, this piece lends a powerful relevance to Christmas which extends far beyond Epiphany.

Named: One of Creator Magazine's "Honored 10" Anthems
Composer's Note: I am amazed at the variety of recordings I've received of this work, and how well this piece adapts to vastly different tempos and tone qualities. Of course, as the composer, I had an original vision for how this piece would be sung! But as more and more choirs sing this song, I have come to welcome these different interpretations as a sign that people are making my song - and Howard Thurman's visionary words - their own.

Text: When the song of the angels is stilled, When the star in the sky is gone, When the kings and the princes are home, When the shepherds are back with their flocks, The work of Christmas begins: To find the lost, To heal the broken, To feed the hungry, To release the prisoner, To rebuild the nations, To bring peace among brothers, To make music in the heart. From "The Mood of Christmas and Other Celebrations" by Howard Thurman. Copyright 1985 by Friends United Press. Used by permission.

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  • Ratings + Reviews

  • 5

    Canberra, ACT, Australia
    Difficulty Level:
  • January 01, 2013 Beautiful piece

    We used "When the song of the Angels is stilled" as the pivotal piece in our church choir's annual pre-Christmas service. It was challenging for this older, amateur choir, especially the syncopated section at "to find the lost", but ultimately proved manageable with hard work. The choir greatly...

    appreciated the meaningful text, attractive melody and well-constructed harmonies. The Alto and Tenor harmonies were not particularly difficult, but the Bass part, while logically written, required a very large range. The Sopranos found the range very comfortable, with only a couple of high notes toward the end.This piece would be ideal for a large or massed choir of competent music-readers. As our choir was quite small, we retained piano accompaniment throughout and used the flute obligato from the extended SATB version. This was very successful.

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    5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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