“To a Maiden, Meek and Mild” – Christmas anthem for two-part mixed voices, keyboard and opt. tambourine; words by Rev. V. E. Boe, alt. by Albert Zabel; music, Spanish Carol, arr. by Albert Zabel
Opening with a reminder of the story of Gabriel’s visit to Mary, the text of this anthem gains new life when paired with a Catalonian carol. The women’s voices set the tune in our ears on stanza 1 followed by the men singing stanza 2. Written for two-part mixed voices, the gift of Mr. Zabel’s composition is obvious in his sensitive writing for the men’s and women’s voices in stanza 3. Choirs of all sizes will enjoy singing this anthem, especially youth choirs just learning to sing in parts.
While the accompaniment is of average difficulty, pianists will want to pay attention to exactness of rhythm and clarity of the sixteenth notes throughout. A member of the choir could easily play the tambourine part and sing at the same time by transferring the tambourine notation to their choral score (separate tambourine score is provided.)
Performance options include singing as a response to the scripture (Luke 1.) This would be very effectively choreographed for liturgical dance as the lilt of the Spanish carol combined with the text offers many movement options. The moderate range allows this anthem to be sung by any two voice parts (SA, TB) by setting the vocal line in the range of the singers. A soloist could sing stanza 1 (child, youth, or adult.)
Appropriate days: Advent IV (Year B), Annunciation (Year A,B, C) Christmas Eve/Day, Christmastide, hymn festivals and carol sings (Scripture: Luke 26-28)