Annunciation Carol, The (Saxophone Choir)

From Wind Repertory Project
Percy Aldridge Grainger

"Ed. for practical music making" by Percy Aldridge Grainger

Subtitle: Angelus ad Virginem: English Gothic Music

General Info

Year: 13th Cent. / 1942 / 1993
Duration: c. 2:05
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Carol
Publisher: To the Fore Publishers
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


Full Score
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone I-II
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Bass Saxophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Percy Grainger's relationship with the saxophone was both joyous and far-reaching. He included the saxophone (sometimes singly, other times within a complete family) in many of his orchestral, chamber, band and solo works. Grainger was convinced of the ideal musical qualities of the saxophone from his very first encounter with the instrument. In a 1943 round letter to his friends, he reminisced: "Around 1904, Balfour Gardiner & I heard our first sax-reed (a tenor) near Frome, Somerset. A man in a country band played one to us. And I knew then & there that I was hearing the world's finest wind-tone-tool - the most voice-like, the most mankind-typed."

His enthusiasm was such that he owned both a soprano and baritone, and he enlisted in a World War I armed forces band playing the soprano saxophone! His extensive public writing about the saxophone was effusive in praise, extolling its virtues to the highest degree. A typical example comes from the preface to Lincolnshire Posy, in which Grainger asserts: " my ears the saxophone is the most expressive of all wind instruments (the one closest to the human voice. And surely all musical instruments should be rated according to their tonal closeness to man's own voice!..."

Grainger was especially interested in the sonority of families of instruments, and his particular favorite was the family of saxophones. For many years he wanted to write for saxophone ensemble, but was unable to find an appropriate group to try out his works. In the summer of 1943 Grainger had a particularly strong and interested group with which to work, and he enthusiastically wrote out saxophone ensemble parts to many of his own arrangements and original settings.

The Annunciation Carol (English Gothic Music) is Grainger's vigorous setting of the 13th century English tune Angelus ad Virginem. This version of The Annunciation Carol was written by Grainger on May 19, 1942, in Springfield, Missouri. This is an unedited edition. All of Grainger's markings and indications as originally found on the parts and the score have been retained. Nothing has been added or deleted. It is my hope that the unique flavor and quality of Grainger's writing is maintained, and that players today will imbue the music with the spirit and enjoyment for which Grainger was known.

- Program Note by Paul Cohen

Angelus ad Virginem (Gabriel, From Heven King Was To The Maide Sende) was a popular medieval carol, whose text is a poetic version of the Hail Mary and the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary. Probably Franciscan in origin, it was brought to Britain by French friars in the 13th century. It is said to have originally consisted of 27 stanzas, with each following stanza beginning with the consecutive letter of the alphabet. Surviving manuscripts may be found in a c. 1361 Dublin Troper (a music book for use at Mass) and a 13th or 14th century vellum Sequentiale that may have been connected with the Church of Addle, Yorkshire. Its lyrics also appear in the works of John Audelay (perhaps a priest, he definitely spent the last years of his life at Haughmond Abbey, where he wrote for the monks), in a group of four Marian poems. It appears in Geoffrey Chaucer's Miller's Tale, where the scholar Nicholas sings it in Latin to the accompaniment of his psaltery.

- Program Note from Wikipedia

Commercial Discography

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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