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The Ashwell Carol (SSA and keyboard)

for SSA choir and organ or piano

Year:  2010

Year:  2010

Composer:   Chris Artley


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Christmas Carol – a bit ‘Rutteresque’ in style but with some unexpected twists and jazzy harmonies at times.

This piece was first performed in December 2010 in its original ‘a cappella’ version by The Graduate Choir conducted by Terence Maskell. The revised SATB version with keyboard accompaniment won first prize in the Amadeus Choir of Toronto’s Seasonal Song Writing competition for 2011 (Adult Amateur SATB accompanied category).

“From humble beginnings (a 2010 SATB unaccompanied carol) this piece has burgeoned into a full-blown Christmas carol of significant proportions with a superb orchestration and a reworking of the choral parts (2013). This metamorphosis of Artley’s carol is somewhat reminiscent of the origins and development of the river Cam: it has its genesis as it wells up from the spring in the village of Ashwell in Hertfordshire (UK) until it grows into a strong river, especially as it reaches Cambridge – arguably the home of contemporary British carol writing and arrangement (Willcocks, Rutter and others). Artley was drawn to this text because of its traditional nature and the Latin burden at the end of verses. It is eminently singable and equally enjoyable for the listener. As always, Artley (originally from the UK but now resident in New Zealand) distinguishes himself with an accessible and original carol for singers – yet retaining a sense of the quintessential British musical language – for so long associated with this type of composition.”
– Terence Maskell, the Director of The Graduate Choir NZ

Difficulty note

Suitable for The Big Sing

Text note

Text by John Catterick.