Since winning the 2015 Three Choirs Choral Composition Competition with his Prayer of Thomas Ken, George Arthur has created a selection of choral works which have won him great recognition. His musical style is gentle and reflective, with long flowing vocal lines. Each voice part has its own melodic interest which when combined with the other voices creates a beautiful mosaic of sound. The harmonic world is basically tonal but with added colours of flattened sixths and flattened sevenths which creates a unique, interesting and at times startling sound world. The word setting at times is fragmented with single syllables as in All Angels or short phrases of text are repeated over and over as in the Ave Maria dedicated to Cecilia McDowall. Overall the music shows a great sense of calm and serenity with carefully judged climatic points that brings out the composer’s amazing sense of word painting. Within the music you can hear the influences of Herbert Howells, John Tavener and Arvo Pärt but at the same time there is an individual and distinct voice emerging with each new work. These are not easy works to sing and choirs will need to work on them to discover the many interesting layers they contain, however the end rewards will be worth the time spent.
One in Christ
1. A calm and gentle homophonic setting with moments of melodic interest spread amongst the voices.
2. The central section of the work is driven forward by a rhythmic ostinato in the alto and tenor parts.
3. Varied choral colour provided by sections scored for full choir, divided choir to a few voices on just one part.
4. Wide range of dynamic contrasts used to shape the meaning of the text from a gentle ppp to a resplendent ff.
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One in Christ for mixed choir (SATB) a cappella by George Arthur
1. A serene setting for choir which features a simple step like melody with a beautifully flowing solo soprano line above.
2. The musical setting uses two lullaby like rhythmical ostinatos which run right throughout the work to shape the musical line.
3. The music covers a wide dynamic range in a short space of time rising gently only to fall back down until it fades into nothing.
4. The work features a rich harmonic palette of sound throughout using a mixture of parallel tenths, block chords to choral clusters.
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Reconciliation for mixed choir (SATB) a cappella by George Arthur