Composer Robert McCormick
Use Hymn Accompaniment
Difficulty Moderately easy
Catalog no. 160-741
Price $17.50 (U.S.)
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Here are more hymn free harmonizations drawn on Robert McCormick’s years of experience as a church musician and his own style of hymn playing. The accompaniments are rich in activity and detail and will be useful to support a strong singing congregation. Includes harmonizations on the hymn tunes BOURBON, CAITHNESS, CORONATION, DIVINUM MYSTERIUM, DIX, GAUDEAMUS PARITER, GRAFTON, HORSLEY, IN BABILONE, ITALIAN HYMN (MOSCOW), LAND OF REST, LLANGLOFFAN, NOVA VITA, ST. CLEMENT, ST. THEODULPH, SALZBURG, and VALET WILL ICH DIR GEBEN.
“Robert McCormick is an experienced service player and has been fortunate to work in congregations with strong traditions of choral and congregational singing. In April of 2018, I published a brief review in this Journal of Volume XVIII of Selah’s series, also by McCormick. The new volume is a bit more adventurous, especially in the number of settings where the top line of the organ part does not follow the melody of the hymn tune. Regarding these settings I offer McCormick’s own sage advice from the introduction, “These harmonizations… are intended to enhance, not detract from, congregational singing, so should be carefully rehearsed and used in instances where the congregation is familiar enough with the hymn in question not to be distracted.” In some instances, such as CORONATION, the congregation would probably not have trouble following due to the steady rhythm and sturdy diatonic melody of the hymn. The moving eighth notes and martial rhythms suit the text well and emphasize the line “and crown him Lord of all” when these rhythms cease. For NOVA VITA the melody is set in the alto throughout with wonderfully effective canonic imitation in the soprano. In the setting of CAITHNESS the melody is not present in any one voice, potentially a challenge for the congregation.
Noteworthy aspects of these settings include dueling duple and triple rhythms in BOURBON, a creative use of rests in GAUDEAMUS PARITER, a richly chromatic setting of HORSLEY, and driving, active pedal parts in LLANGLOFFAN, SALZBURG, and ST. THEODOLPH. These settings are in the grand style and would benefit from moderate tempi (not too fast) given an abundance of passing tones. In contrast to all of this is a simple and majestic setting of DIVINUM MYSTERIUM that would serve well as a general hymnal harmonization, not only for the final stanza. Three hymns are also given vocal descants, printed both as part of the reharmonization and separately in the back of the volume for reproduction. The tessitura of the descants is high and requires a secure treble section. My favorite is the soaring descant for stanza 4 of “Jerusalem, my happy home,” beginning “Our Lady sings Magnificat.” I look forward to more publications in this Selah series from our colleagues! This score is also available as a pdf download at www. selahpub.com.” AAM Journal, April 2020