Following the success of our carol commission last year, we asked British composer Cheryl Frances-Hoad to write a four-part a capella carol for the readers of BBC Music Magazine to sing in carol services and concerts around the world this Christmas.
We do hope that those of you who sing in choirs will include 'Good day, Sir Christemas!' in your carol service or concert. If you have already received your magazine, please feel free to photocopy the music for your choir and share it widely. Alternatively, click on the button below to download a PDF of the score. Scroll down to read some performance directions from Cheryl Frances-Hoad.
We’d love to hear or watch your performance, so do record it on an audio or video recorder. You can share the file with us via email (email@example.com) or, if the file is too large, visit www.wetransfer.com and send the file to us from there. If you upload a YouTube video, do tweet us the link @MusicMagazine.
You can watch the world premiere performance, sung by Sansara, here.
Happy singing, and Merry Christmas!
Composer Cheryl Frances-Hoad's guide to singing 'Good Day, Sir Christemas!'
❄ The main thing with this carol is to have fun! I imagine the beginning (and all of the ‘Good day’ passages) to be the singers welcoming not just Sir Christemas but each other to the choir, so the more ‘conversational’ the performance the better.
❄ If (in bars 38-41, for instance) you’d like to make some of the ‘Good day’s for soloists, this could be an option – and the one at the end of bar 39 in the bass could be sung as if Sir Christemas finally bids good day back to the choir.
❄ Throughout the carol you can make the most of the changes in time signature, particularly in bars 6 and 7 – emphasising the dotted crochet and crochet pulses will add a fabulous jauntiness.
❄ Do make the most of the false relations that occur throughout the carol – enjoy, for example, the dissonances in bar 19 (between soprano and tenor) and 22 (between soprano and bass).
❄ I’ve put asterisks by the dynamics in bars 4 and 17 – when this music is revisited in verses four and five, feel free to ramp the volume up to f and più f respectively!
❄ The structure of the carol is confusing on paper, so to clarify: sing from the beginning until the end of the note in bar 37 (omitting bars 15-16), then, on what would be the fourth beat of bar 37, sing from the sign (upbeat to bar 4) until the end of bar 26 (omitting bar 14). From here go straight to the coda at the beginning of bar 38, and from there to the end!
❄ I like the final bars sung with very little ritenuto, but this is music to have fun with, so if it pleases you to accelerando through the tongue-twister that is bar 41, or slow dramatically down in the final bar, the choice is yours!
The text for 'Good Day, Sir Christemas' was translated by A Clerk of Oxford. For more details, do visit her website.
• Hear the World Premiere of 'Good Day, Sir Christemas!'
• Free Download: The Queen's Six perform 'Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen'
• Interview with Cheryl Frances-Hoad, composer of the BBC Music Magazine Carol 2015