Patterned after the powerful, moving and traditional Christmas Lessons and Carols made famous at King’s College in England, Jonathan Willcocks has crafted this Easter Lessons and Carols. Combining fifteen traditional hymns into nine movements, the composer moves us from Jesus’ triumphal ride into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, through the last supper and to the crucifixion. He then lifts us all with five traditional, joyous hymns of Easter morning, incorporating congregational singing throughout each of the final arrangements.
Beginning with the hymn All Glory, Laud and Honor for SATB choir, congregation and organ, the composer sets the stage both musically and emotionally for what is to come. The first two verses of the hymn are presented in a very traditional and homophonic style, allowing the congregation to sing the verse, accompanied by the choir. When the third and final verses arrive, the congregation continues singing as the choir launches into an exciting, contrapuntal accompaniment of “Sing praise, sweet hosannas, sing praise,” establishing the importance of both choir and congregation in this Easter experience and raising our emotions to the highest level. From this glorious opening, the choir and readers lead us through the breadth of emotions that Jesus, his disciples and his followers surely felt during the final week of his life on earth. The joy of Jesus’ resurrection is celebrated with a glorious “Alleluia” finale, quoting Handel’s Christ the Lord Is Risen Today, and the congregation closes the service singing “Let the church with gladness hymns of triumph sing, for the Lord now liveth; death hath lost its sting.” Such involvement from the congregation and rousing support from the choir will leave everyone feeling an emotional investment rarely experienced on Easter Sunday morning. SATB Performance Time:
Hymn tunes include: ST.THEODULPH • SOUTHWELL • ST DROSTANE • ELLACOMBE • CAITHNESS • HERZLIEBSTER JESU • PASSION CHORALE • REDHEAD • ST. CHRISTOPHER • VICTORY • PUER NOBIS NASCITUR • LLANFAIR • EASTER HYMN • JUDAS MACCABEUS