“Great God of Heaven” – Christmas anthem for SATB voices and piano; words by Henry Ramsden Bramley, alt. and music by Tom Fettke
E/D v: 4-6, p:4-6
S a3-e flat5
T e3-e flat4
Tom Fettke has written a beautiful setting to a nineteenth-century text written by Henry R. Bramley. Each of the three stanzas are treated sensitively, giving the singers and congregation the opportunity to appreciate the historic text. Stanza one opens with a gentle melody, moving to a hymn-like setting of the final phrase of the stanza. The women carry the text on stanza two with the men supporting the singing with a soft “oo.” The final stanza returns to a strong four-part harmonization.
Of medium difficulty, the piano sets the gentle feel of the anthem, and comfortably supports the singers throughout. Clarity on the occasional sixteenth note scale pattern will help the singers in their musical phrasing.
Performance options include singing measures 26-35 a cappella as a response in worship. Transpose these same measures to the key of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” (most often G) and use this as a choral ending to the hymn.
Appropriate days: Christmas, Christmas Eve, Christmastide (Scripture: traditional Christmas scriptures)