Victimae Paschali laudes (Setting III)
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An anthem for SATB choir, organ, brass sextet, and percussion
This Easter anthem for SATB choir, brass, percussion, and organ is a medley containing three well-known Easter tunes, expertly woven together by Hallock in the twilight of his life. We begin with men’s voices, accompanied by organ, chanting the Sequence Hymn Victimae Paschali laudes. Note the preservation of chant notation in the choral part here. The text and music are attributed to Wipo of Burgundy (d. 1050?). A rhapsodic organ line, followed by brass and snare drum, propel the work toward four-part chorus singing an English translation from The Antiphoner and Grail, 1880, of the Latin text sung previously. French horn and militaristic percussion signal the arrival of the minor mode German chorale tune Christ ist erstanden; the melody is from Geistliche Lieder, 1533. Throughout this section, choir, organ (using 8’ Regaal or Voix humaine), and percussion are in dialogue with one another, while trombones undulate beneath. The chorale is answered, by women’s voices initially, with Jakob Hintze’s (1622-1702) major mode hymn tune SALZBURG, singing Robert Campbell’s (1814-1868) translation of the Latin text Ad regias Agni dapes, 1632. In this section, death and life contend—minor versus major—for nearly thirty measures. After the choir sings “Come, ye forth, O souls in freedom, sing the triumph o’er the grave,” we begin ascending until finally the German chorale surrenders to SALZBURG. The total distance ascended is a minor 3rd, from B-flat minor to D-flat major. After an extended period of harmonically unstable brass interjections, compounded with unrelenting percussion, Easter bursts forth and our pace quickens suddenly as the choir sings “Easter triumph, Easter joy.” Brass and percussion become celebratory and heraldic, propelling the composition to its climax: AMEN followed by three ALLELUIAS.