Twelve Of The Best: Songs for Mixed Voices

It’s been tricky to choose just twelve from what is a huge category of my choral music, so I’ve gone with the most successful so far – songs that have been performed multiple times by multiple choirs or songs that have received the most positive feedback from singers and listeners. Below the video catalogue is a list of the works with more information and links to full performances and scores.

Ave Maria – SATB choir with some divisi and tambourine. It’s a lively, cheery Ave Maria, with chirpy rhythms in both choir and tambourine – a choral fanfare with dancing ostinato patterns and strident outbursts!

Aves Beati Cuthberti – SSAATB choir with tenor solo, keyboard and percussion. It’s also available for SSAA choir with string orchestra. It is a processional with the solo tenor calling everyone to worship at the shrine of Cuthbert with a plainchant based on the title words. The title refers to the birds that St. Cuthbert cared for on the Farne Islands, specifically Eider ducks.

Cantate Domino – SSAATTBB choir. This is one of a set of five Christmas choral fanfares, each of which has antiphonal and rhythmic characteristics. This is the first of the set and uses interlocking rhythmic patterns interspersed with out-of-synch, monophonic textures.

That First Christmas Night – SATB choir. A straightforward carol with syncopated accompanying patterns and soaring melodies. It is also available for treble voices with piano accompaniment.

Hodie Christus Natus Est – SSAATTBB choir. A lively choral anthem that pits two contrasting choirs against each other in antiphonal textures. It is also available for high voices or low voices and is easily my most performed piece ever.

The Lamb – SSAATB choir. This was originally composed for a primary school choir with a single line (with a round in the chorus) and piano accompaniment, and has been much-loved by several school choirs, with its flowing melody and bouncing rhythms. This mixed choir version is also very popular and there arrangements of the song for choir with brass band or wind band.

Little Bo-Peep – SATB choir. This song was originally composed for a high school choir in New Zealand as a thank you for welcoming me into their community with much warmth and friendship. It has flowing melodies and catchy rhythms and tells the entire sorry story of Bo-Peep’s incompetence with her lost sheep.

Motu Puketutu – SATB choir with soprano solo. It also exists as a treble choir song with either voice percussion or actual percussion, and has been widely performed in New Zealand by both children’s and adult choirs. Motu Puketutu is an island in the Manukau Harbour in Auckland and at the time of writing it was polluted and a rather sad place, hence the rather plaintive style of this song. It is now all cleaned up and is an exclusive venue for weddings and other events!

Magical Glass – SATB choir. Originally composed for a primary school choir in Sunderland, it told the story of that city’s glass-making heritage. It has since been adapted to other locations with a string glass-making history. The melody is folky in style and is an exuberant drinking song.

You Will Remember – SATB choir. It was originally composed for a miners’ memorial service in Yorkshire, and then adapted for a youth theatre production, and then further adapted a song of Remembrance for soldiers in WW1 and 2. The two verses tell of two stories – one of a soldier’s wife remembering her lost husband, and one of a returned soldier remembering his fallen comrades.

No-Umbrella Blues – SATB choir (also available for TTBB, or SAA with piano). This bluesy song bemoans the lack of an umbrella on a rainy Dunedin day, and was composed during a phase of many umbrella songs in the 1990s.

Lullaby Of Silences – SATB choir. A lullaby inspired by the statue of a dead infant at Lanercost Priory in Cumbria, the song imagines the sounds of the lost baby in silent events of each season. The melody is wide-ranging, and the whole as a whole is incredibly emotional. One of the first ever performances was beside the statue itself at Lanercost in the Autumn of 2019 by The Bridge Singers of Northumberland.

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