“Sweet Hallelujah” General anthem for SATB voices (div.), a cappella, with opt. drum by Mark A. Miller.
Intense energy and rhythmic pulse define this unleashed offering of choral praise. Men open with layered “Hallelujahs” in chant-like oration. The bass line defines the 12/8 meter with tenors adding syncopation above. Altos join at measure 11 with their own rhythm and melodic pattern. Sopranos join at measure 19 with texture aligning rhythmically. Sopranos offer a hint at an augmented version of the OLD 100th beginning in measure 29 but soon peal off into new melodic material. A fuller version of the tune appears at measure 56, set for tenor and divided altos, surrounded by the bass ostinato pattern from the opening material and a soprano descant. The anthem builds to its grand finish, moving into 4/4 , adding strong, heavily accented beats.
The vocal parts are repetitive while layering allows for independence of line. The rhythms can be complicated by the syncopation, although patterns ease the learning process. Multiple divisi requires sizeable choral forces. The length of the anthem also requires vocal endurance. Suggested drum rhythms are scattered throughout the anthem. The composer notes that this is the basis for improvisation and recommends a djembe.
Performance options include doubling the voices at the piano for additional stability. A keyboard reduction is included in the score.
Appropriate days: Easter and general worship.
Age Level 7-9
Difficulty of vocal parts 8
Difficulty of accompaniment N/A