Score and 35 parts $50.00 additional parts @ $2.00

          A Carol Fantasy for string orchestra, by Eric Ball.  Notes by Robert Getz.

        In 1948 Eric Ball was engaged to conduct a six concert series with the London Symphony Orchestra.  He thought write a special Christmas piece for that series for the LSO strings.  Unfortunately he was overcome with fatigue and could not conduct the last concert.  The series and the piece were left unfinished by Eric.  He later revised the piece for Salvation Army band and it received some limited use.  The string score sat folded in half in his file for forty years!   In 1988 He and I were speaking on the telephone and the band piece came up.  I offered high praise for it, and he told the story of the concert series and the never-performed score for strings.  About two weeks later I received a package in the mail and a note attached to that first manuscript score for strings!  I trembled as I read:  "Enclosed is the original score for A Carol Fantasy for strings.  If you like it, keep it, and send me a copy if you get a chance."    I "liked" it . . .

        The piece opens with a viola solo of the Normandy Carol (Away in a manger) which is soon gently underpinned by violins and cello at pianissimo.  This evolves into a lush treatment with full string orchestra including many divisi's.   A 14 bar bridge introduces a pizzicato suggestion of The Holly And The Ivy which fulfills itself in rocking pizzicati fifths under an arco rendering of the tune in the violins.  This naturally evolves into a eerie questioning in muted strings over  a contrabass pedal-point.  The Coventry Carol  appears almost organically in a quartet of violas and cellos which is interrupted by the eerie muted violins.  As the full orchestra winds this tune down, The First Noel is most tenderly introduced, as though from the clouds above, to provide a coda as the piece fades over a last tender remnants of the pizzicati in the low strings.  Of the piece Eric wrote:

        " The aim of this setting is to reflect a meditative, even dream-like mood in contrast to the popular festive, even jolly conception of carol singing and playing.  It is hoped that the fantasy will also evoke an atmosphere of worship, for the carols included remind us not only of the incarnation, but also of the massacre of the innocents, and of the cross."     

        While the piece is quite beautiful for brass, the original string version is devastatingly beautiful.   Even in a computer realization the subtleties of the strings are apparent.  Great for brass but perfect for strings. As of this writing it has never been played.  Available only here.  Score and parts for 8 first violins, 8 second violins, six violas, four cellos and four basses (30).  Additionally, we will supply a photocopy of the original score for reference regarding Eric's various edits, etc. - $65.00 - $2.00 each for additional parts.  Listen to Eric's forgotten masterpiece!

CHRISTmas Suite - Prophecy Fulfilled for: Orchestra: One each flute, oboe, clarinet Bb, bassoon, F horn, C trumpet, trombone, tuba, timpani & strings - by Robert getz

    The composer's intent is to lead the listener from the Old Testament prophecy of a sign from God, the Messiah to be born to a virgin (Isaiah 7:14, one of many), through the event itself, and to the joyous celebration of discovery. Consequently he chose O Come Emanuel, March of the Three Kings, Silent Night and Joy to the world - before, during and after. The journey calls for the piece to be linear (contrapuntal), as opposed to vertical (harmonic) in concept. The tunes accompany themselves in unique ways, which is intended to not only be musically interesting, but to draw one to the words of the carols - more importantly, their significance. The tiny event, in human terms, has caused us to account for time by it forever - so momentous was that night!

The piece begins in the cold night of the desert and may, for some, intone a procession of monks chanting the age-old song of entreaty, O Come Emanuel, pleading for the manifestation of the Savior. Abruptly, the three Wise Men, Kings, see the Star and march resolutely toward it in full assurance that they are on a divine pilgrimage. The phrases "We Three Kings" and "Repeat The Sounding Joy" each are symbolically reiterated three times. The "march" ends abruptly as the three noblemen realize that their trek has ended in the wash of divine light from the Star. A fanfare fragment from the march (representing King Herod's nefarious mischief!) is now transformed into a lullaby accompaniment to Silent Night, the Holy Scene at the crèche, as they worship the newborn King of Kings. The on-site celebration, which shall forever be known as CHRISTmas, begins with Joy to The World! The exit-overture features some of the motifs of the piece and ends with a final shout of "The Lord Has Come!" followed as Silent Night accompanies a high trumpet statement of Repeat The Sounding Joy! . . . which the composer prays that this piece accomplishes (especially in this horribly troubled world!) For two thousand and more years the King Herods of the world have never finished with the Christ . . . but, even today come up short in trying to frustrate His divine reign.

God bless you! Bob Getz - CHRISTmas 2009

(Play it by clicking here!).mp3

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