While there is an ample supply of recently-published accompanied anthems for small choirs, there is relatively little in the way of simple SA+Men acappella motets, for those choirs with few men. This setting of Binyon’s famous words, used in Remembrance Sunday liturgies, provides an opportunity for such small choirs to make a distinct, fresh impression with unaccompanied singing.
The words are not romanticised, so as not to detract from their impact. Rather, the setting employs a quasi-modal melodic and harmonic voice. In the first half, the two-part (Soprano and Alto) texture provides a sparse, forlorn, treatment of the words, while giving the altos a more prominent role than they often have. After this stark, thought-provoking opening, the addition of a single line for men under the repetition of the melody, and just a hint of chromaticism on “sun”, seems to add far more richness than would otherwise be heard in three-part texture.
This work is available from Chichester Music Press, at just £1 per copy (A5 format).