SATB Choral

Agnus Dei              

Scored for:  SATBB divisi a cappella

Level:           Medium to advanced

Duration:     5mins

Other info: ‘Agnus Dei’, was the 3rd prizewinner in the inaugural International Choral Composition Competition Japan 2015. This a cappella setting of ‘Agnus Dei’, features a slow, hauntingly beautiful melody, sung first by sopranos and then by baritones, accompanied by lush harmony infused with jazz chords, from the rest of the choir. At the words, ‘lux aeterna’ (light eternal), there is a dramatic change of sound world, with the use of cluster chords and an impassioned melody built from the ‘B Lydian’ scale. The music reaches a climax at the golden section of the piece (bar 35), with the words ‘lux aeterna’, sung fortissimo in eight-part harmony. The opening Agnus Dei then returns, this time featuring both soprano and baritone on the melody and comes to a close with a stunning pianissimo ending on the words, ‘dona nobis pacem’ (grant us peace).

"Congratulations and thank you for your great piece (Agnus Dei)!" Ko Matsushita, Director of The Metropolitan Chorus of Tokyo.

The Angel’s Song

 

Scored for:     SATB and organ/piano (also available for SA and organ/piano)

Level:             Easy to Medium

Duration:        2’30”

Other info:    Written for King’s College Chapel Choir of Auckland, The Angel’s Carol is a most attractive Christmas Carol, which is very singable and equally enjoyable for the listener. Accompanied by the subtly supportive organ/piano part the radiantly joyous song of praise resounds in all the voices. Text is by Francis Ridley Havergal (1836-79).

Ave Maria

Scored for:     SATB divisi a cappella  

Level:              Medium to advanced

Duration:        5mins

Other info:     Ave Maria was written for the Graduate Choir of New Zealand in 2013. This very accessible setting features beautiful melodic lines supported by lush harmonies, including the occasional jazz chord or two. It’s quite a demanding to sing but well worth the effort for amateur and chamber choirs. In June 2014, this Ave Maria was awarded “declared work of interest” in the VIIIth Amadeus International Choral Composition Contest in Spain.

 

"Chris Artley's Ave Maria is a perfect marriage of soaring melody, intricate harmony, evocative texture, and rich vocalism. Prayerful, reverent, and soulful, it quickly became one of my choir's favourite pieces and it offers something for every choir".  Ravil Atlas, Artistic Director, Atlas Voices Ensemble

The Ashwell Carol

Scored for:      SATB & Organ/Piano*  (Also available for SAA & Organ/Piano)

                        * Full orchestral accompaniment available too – please contact Chris for further details.

Level:              Medium to advanced

Duration:        3’45”

Other info:     The Ashwell Carol was First Prize Winner of Amadeus Choir of Toronto’s 2011 Seasonal Song-Writing competition, Adult Amateur SATB Accompanied category. With a gently swaying organ accompaniment and the soprano voice entering in a tender fashion, Chris Artley transports the listener to Christ’s birth in Bethlehem. The angelic female voices ultimately ring out the joyous news that animates the male voices to sing a shared, “In excelsis Gloria Deo”. The cheerful atmosphere of this choral piece transports the singers and audience alike to the manger in Bethlehem and helps all to participate in the Christmas joy of the adoring shepherds and singing angels. Text is by Reverend John Catterick, former vicar of St Mary’s Church, Ashwell in Hertfordshire, UK.

 

“From humble beginnings (an attractive unaccompanied piece written in 2010) The Ashwell Carol has burgeoned into a full-blown Christmas carol of significant proportions with a superb orchestration and a reworking of the choral parts (2013). This metamorphosis of Artley’s carol echoes the origins and development of the river Cam: it has its genesis as it wells up from the spring in the village of Ashwell (hence the carol’s name) in Hertfordshire (UK) until it grows into a strong river, especially as it reaches Cambridge – arguably the home of contemporary British carol writing and arrangement (for example David Willcocks, John Rutter and others). Chris Artley was drawn to this text (written by the Rev. Catterick of St Mary’s, Ashwell) because of its traditional nature and the Latin burden at the end of verses. The choral piece is eminently singable and equally enjoyable for the listener. As always, Artley (originally from the UK but now resident in New Zealand) distinguishes himself with an accessible and original piece”. Terence Maskell, Director of The Graduate Choir, New Zealand

 

"Just to say that your Ashwell Carol made the final selection for the 2014 Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society Spirit of Christmas Concerts - colleagues were well impressed - many congratulations! Do please continue to send us stuff as there was much interest on the panel...you already have a group of fans in RLPS (as well as its chorusmaster!)"  Professor Dr. Ian Tracey, Chorusmaster Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society

Birthday

Scored for:     SSAATTBB a cappella

Level:              Medium to advanced

Duration:        2mins 20secs

Other info:     Birthday was composed in 2014 for Auckland-based a cappella group “Laudamus”. The flowing rhythms in Christina Georgina Rossetti’s poem naturally lend themselves to a melodic setting. The soprano and tenor part each take turns singing the melody in verses 1 and 2 respectively, whilst the other parts provide a lively and jazzy accompaniment. A key change at the start of verse 3, coupled with canonic entries in the upper parts, takes the energy levels of the piece to new heights, culminating in a very jazzy final cadence.

 

"A beautifully crafted and vibrant piece, Chris Artley’s Birthday, set to text by Christina Rossetti, represents a successful marriage between the words of the Romantic poem and toe-tapping Jazz. Tremendous fun to sing, this piece is a must for small ensembles but equally could be a great challenge for a larger choir".  Sarah Harris, Director of Laudamus

Cantate Domino

Scored for:     SATB & Organ

Level:              Medium

Duration:        3mins

Other info:     Chris Artley’s setting of Psalm 149 won first prize in the XIIth International Composers Competition Jihlava 2014, in the Czech Republic. This very accessible choral piece includes jazzy rhythms and chords, catchy melodic writing, a fugal section, dramatic organ accompaniments, as well as a “cool” a cappella section.

Christmas Bells                 

Scored for:   SATB & organ

Level:            Medium

Duration:      2min20

Other info:    Christmas Bells won first prize in the 2017 Leeds Philharmonic Christmas Carol Competition. It is a very attractive and lively setting of Henry Longfellow's poem. You can listen to Chris talking about this piece in the following interview: Click here

Dawn

Scored for:    SATB*, trumpet and piano (*also available for SATB, Brass Quintet and Organ; baritone, tenor and                              soprano solo voices with piano)

Level:            Medium to advanced

Duration:       4’30”

Other info:     ‘Dawn’ is a musical setting of words by Australian World War One soldier, Ellis Silas. The first part of the piece reflects on the horrors of trench warfare, conveyed through angular, recitative-like melodies and dissonant harmonic accompaniment. In the second half of the song, a much more tonal melodic style is used, accompanied by consonant harmonies, in order to convey Ellis Silas’ dreams and hopes of peace to come.

 

"A more challenging song but worth every minute of endeavour. This profoundly moving text has been set exquisitely, never missing a moment to highlight the sombre yet ultimately hopeful mood. Biting harmonies with mournful unisons flowering into warm cadences that never fail to have an extraordinary impact". 

Gina Sanders, International Soprano and Director of King’s College Chapel Choir, Auckland. 

I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes (Psalm 121)           

Scored for:    SATB, Organ and Trumpet* (* also available for SATB & Piano; TTBB & Organ; SSAA & Organ) 

Level:            Medium

Duration:       4min30

Other info:     Broad melodic arches and an enchanting sensuousness of sound, characterize Chris Artley’s setting of Psalm 121. He sets the choir, organ and trumpet in relationship to each other in an impressively atmospheric manner. It is a moving concert piece that will immediately fascinate the audience.

"It’s (Psalm 121) very attractive indeed Chris – and has a “ring” of crossover with American (Clausen et al) and the UK (Rutter et al) with your OWN stamp on it. Thank you for sending me the file".  Terence Maskell, Director of The Graduate Choir New Zealand.

 

“It (Psalm 121) absolutely knocked me out – it was the most beautiful setting”.

Brian Kay, former member of The King’s Singers.

 

"On behalf of the choir I congratulate you on writing such an uplifting and well-crafted piece (Psalm 121), which we thoroughly enjoyed performing. You not only write beautiful music but you write well for singers. "I will lift up mine eyes" really suited secondary school students. We all loved the trumpet solos and the organ accompaniment was a new experience for most of the students. Other choir directors were very positive in their comments too - I gave one of my copies away. Another commented enthusiastically "I am glad he didn't resolve that Amen". Thanks again. Your music has given a lot of people joy - we loved performing it and it seemed to be very well received by the audience".

Roger Powdrell, Head of Music, St Patrick's College, Wellington.

I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes (Psalm 121)           

Scored for:   SATB and Piano (* also available for SATB, Organ and Trumpet)

Level:            Medium

Duration:       4min30

Other info:     Broad melodic arches and an enchanting sensuousness of sound, characterize Chris Artley’s setting of Psalm 121. He sets the choir, organ and trumpet in relationship to each other in an impressively atmospheric manner. It is a moving concert piece that will immediately fascinate the audience.

"It’s (Psalm 121) very attractive indeed Chris – and has a “ring” of crossover with American (Clausen et al) and the UK (Rutter et al) with your OWN stamp on it. Thank you for sending me the file".  Terence Maskell, Director of The Graduate Choir New Zealand.

 

“It (Psalm 121) absolutely knocked me out – it was the most beautiful setting”.

Brian Kay, former member of The King’s Singers.

 

"On behalf of the choir I congratulate you on writing such an uplifting and well-crafted piece (Psalm 121), which we thoroughly enjoyed performing. You not only write beautiful music but you write well for singers. "I will lift up mine eyes" really suited secondary school students. We all loved the trumpet solos and the organ accompaniment was a new experience for most of the students. Other choir directors were very positive in their comments too - I gave one of my copies away. Another commented enthusiastically "I am glad he didn't resolve that Amen". Thanks again. Your music has given a lot of people joy - we loved performing it and it seemed to be very well received by the audience".

Roger Powdrell, Head of Music, St Patrick's College, Wellington.

In Darkness and in Light           

Scored for:   SATB and Organ

Level:            Medium

Duration:       3min30

Other info:    A very accessible and singable four part setting of this text from the New Zealand Anglican Prayer Book, specially commissioned by Neil and Sue Shroff for their 50th wedding anniversary. Neil, who is Director of Music at At Andrew’s Church in Epsom wrote, ‘I am absolutely thrilled with your work – it is just the sort of piece I had imagined, except better!’

 

"The beautiful layers of the vocal lines building in texture, coupled with wonderful key changes create an inspiring immediacy that makes this song an absolute gem for choir and audience alike. A real favourite!"

Gina Sanders, International Soprano and Director of King’s College Chapel Choir, Auckland.

The Language of Stones           

Scored for:   SATB divisi a cappella

Level:            Medium

Duration:       5min

Other info:    Written especially for New Zealand Choral Federation’s “Sing Aotearoa 2016”, The Language of Stones is a beautifully crafted a cappella work which effectively captures Auckland poet Robina Adamson’s contemplative text. This piece is a rewarding challenge for intermediate to advanced choirs.

Leisure                 

Scored for:   SATB & piano

Level:            Medium

Duration:      3min

Other info:    Leisure’ is an attractive setting for SATB voices and piano of Welsh poet, William Henry Davies poem of the same name. This piece was written for the Auckland Welsh Choir and their director, Diana Rhodes. She has commented, ‘Thank you so much for the song – I printed it out and enjoyed a little sing – very appealing setting and I like the little frisson in the harmony to make it interesting. The soprano part is grateful in the voice and indeed all parts lie well, so the choir will manage the tessitura easily’.

The Lord is my Shepherd           

Scored for:    SATB, Organ/Piano and optional 2 flutes/violins ad lib 

Level:            Medium

Duration:       4min30

Other info:    ‘The Lord is My Shepherd’ was First Prize Winner of the Lutheran Youth Choir of North America 2013 International Composition Contest.

 

"Chris Artley’s The Lord is My Shepherd is a very singable and well-crafted setting of the Psalm, which makes for an enjoyable and achievable challenge for any SATB choir. The careful balance of repetition in the melody with variation in harmonies and structure ensures that voice part learning is transferable between verses, yet the piece has contrast and colour a-plenty. The optional duet parts for violins (which also work beautifully with flutes) give an added flavor, which set the piece apart from the norm".  Paul West, Director of Music (2011-14), King’s College, Auckland,

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Love Came Down at Christmas

 

Scored for:     SATB & Organ (full orchestral accompaniment available - please contact Chris for further details)

Level:             Medium

Duration:        3min30

Other info:    'Love Came Down at Christmas' was the winner of the '2017 Freudig Singers Choral Composition Competition'. It is a beautiful Rutter-style setting of Christina Rossetti’s classic poem for SATB voices and organ. This piece also works fine with piano accompaniment. 

"There is a wonderful balance of simplicity and complexity in this beautifully crafted SATB offering, with plenty of interest in the melodic shapes and appealing harmonies. Chris engages both the singer and the listener with a mood of reflective stillness and deep sincerity. Ideal for youth and community choirs.” Gina Sanders, International Soprano and Director of King’s College Chapel Choir, Auckland.

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Love Is Patient

 

Scored for:     SATB & Organ 

Level:             Medium

Duration:        3min30

Other info:    I was delighted when asked to write Love is Patient for the 25th wedding anniversary of Auckland couple, Long Ngo and Celia Caughey. They were quite specific with the brief, to set these well known words from Corinthians and to write for a quartet of fine young singers from St Andrew's Church in Epsom. This setting is both reflective and stirring, with a rousing final chorus with descant. It has a few unexpected twists and turns, but is well within the means of a good choir.

Magnificat – My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord         

Scored for:    SATB and Organ

Level:            Medium

Duration:       3min30

Other info:    Written in early 2016 for Neil Shroff and St Andrew's Church Choir in Auckland, this setting of Magnificat, is designed to partner his Nunc Dimittis and is sure to delight both choir and congregation alike, with its immediately accessible melodic lines, jazzy harmonies and contrasting textures. This is a rewarding challenge for intermediate to advanced choirs and would be ideal for The Big Sing.

 

"Once again you’ve nailed it! Love the piece".  Neil Shroff, Director of Music, St Andrew’s Church, Auckland

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Make a Joyful Noise          

Scored for:    SATB and Organ

Level:            Medium

Duration:       3min30

Other info:    Chris Artley, a finalist in the First Annual Sewanee Choral Composition Competition, set Psalm 100 to music in this radiant composition. The organ accompaniment ascending in triplets commences the song of praise. Broad homophonic calls to praise (“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands!”) make room for motet-like, polyphonic passages in which the voices can shine briefly without the organ. A rewarding composition for a performance in worship or in concert.

May God Bless You         

Scored for:   SATB and Piano  (also available for SSA and TTBB and piano)

Level:            Medium

Duration:       3min30

Other info:    “Wherever you go, may you always have God’s love”. Chris Artley combines Reverend Reuben Hardie’s encouraging words with a wonderfully catchy and haunting melody that is delicately accompanied by the piano. This is a captivating highlight for choirs looking for new spiritual repertoire.

 

“May God Bless You by Chris Artley is a beautifully crafted piece. My chamber choir (SSA) absolutely loved it from the moment we started rehearsals. We have used it on several occasions and have always had a tremendously favourable response from the audience. It may be used either as part of a church service, or for concert performance. In either case, it provides a lovely moment of reflection”.  Paul Burrell, Assistant Headteacher/Director of Music - Presdales School, Ware, Hertfordshire, UK.

 

"May God Bless You is a highly accessible work that is equally successful for a solo trio or a large SSA choir. The words are set with honest simplicity and it was an immediate success at our concert."

Gina Sanders, International Soprano based in Auckland, New Zealand.

The Mock Turtle's Song                 

Scored for:   SAB & piano

Level:            Easy

Duration:      2min30

Other info:   The Mock Turtle’s Song won first prize in the 2013 Composition Competition of the “European Choral Association” in the frame of the festival “Youth Choirs in Movement”. This composition is based on a text from “Alice in Wonderland“, which appeals to junior and youth choirs directly. The poem has a clear structure (verse – chorus), and the vocal parts are kept straightforward. The striking piece contains some jazzy chords and humorously unexpected twists.

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Missa Brevis Akarana                 

Scored for:   SATB, Orchestra and Organ (also available for SATB and organ)

Level:            Medium/Advanced

Duration:      21mins

Other info:   The Missa Brevis Akarana was commissioned by the Auckland Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Peter Thomas and reflects Chris Artley’s interest in classical church repertoire and jazz. The melodic line of the Kyrie is reminiscent of Palestrina’s motets. The polyphonic and homophonic settings are balanced while the harmonic soundscape is enhanced by jazz chords. After the devout Kyrie in minor, a lively, dance-like Gloria in major – always surprising by its unexpected progressions – follows. Thus, the principal theme moves between G major and E major – Baroque sounds mix with chord progressions à la Bill Evans. The Sanctus is impressive due to its slow, Gershwin-like introduction that blends into rhythmic Latin sounds, ending after a triumphant Hosanna in a large-scale jazz finale. Gentle harp sounds accompanying the soprano and tenor open the Benedictus before the choir and orchestra join in. A further highlight is the solo violin that shines with a lyrical and ornamental melody. The Agnus Dei once again combines elements of classical church music tradition and jazz in catchy melodies accompanied by the strings. 

"I  have just finished reading the completed score of Missa Brevis by Chris Artley. I must say that I am very proud to be the one who invited Chris to compose this work for Choir, Organ and Orchestra. It’s a beautiful composition and I am really looking forward to rehearsing and performing it. Bring on March 10th!  I already know that the performers will relish playing this work, and that the audiences are in for a real treat. Chris manages to create music that is well-crafted, which provides a sense of accessibility, while also giving depth and meaning. His melodies are lyrical, his harmonies are warm and lush, but include a few surprises, while his rhythms will at times keep us on our toes".  Peter Thomas, Director of Auckland Symphony Orchestra

Nunc Dimittis – Lord Now Lettest Thy Servant Depart in Peace        

Scored for:   SATB and Organ

Level:            Medium

Duration:       2min40

Other info:    

Written in early 2016 for Neil Shroff and St Andrew's Church Choir in Auckland, this setting of Nunc Dimittis, is designed to partner his Magnificat and is sure to delight both choir and congregation alike, with its immediately accessible melodic lines, jazzy harmonies and contrasting textures. This is a rewarding challenge for intermediate to advanced choirs and would be ideal for The Big Sing.

O Magnum Mysterium              

Scored for:   SATB divisi a cappella, Glockenspiel ad lib

Level:            Medium

Duration:       5min

Other info:     The magic of Christmas and the incarnation of Jesus have been beautifully blended in the music of this moving setting of O Magnum Mysterium by Chris Artley. This choral piece, which Artley composed for the Nelson Summer School Choir, begins with the voices arranged calmly arising while the words, “O Magnum” are reiterated. The soprano enters with an unostentatious melody in an almost ballad-like manner quietly accompanied by the rest of the choir, in order to celebrate the glorious miracle of Christ’s birth, in a Hallelujah that resounds together.

 

“O Magnum Mysterium by New Zealand composer Chris Artley, is remarkable for its obvious charm, unity and beauty. It works fine and easily a cappella and creates a brilliant sound due to its well- balanced unity between the voices. It works fine for both smaller and larger choirs and I believe would give great pleasure to choirs of very different standards, and audiences as well. I would like to welcome highly a publication in New Zealand as well as internationally in general of some of Chris Artley’s music”. 

Ebbe Munk, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir in Denmark  

 

"Well Chris, thank you for writing such a beautiful piece of music (O Magnum Mysterium). I received a lot of wonderful feedback on your composition, the audience were spell bound".

Sue Densem, Director of Burnside High School Senior Chorale (winner of Platinum Prize at Big Sing Finale 2015).

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The Promised Child                

Scored for:   SATB 

Level:            Medium

Duration:      3min30

Other info:   The Promised Child won first prize in the St Mary-at-Hill Singers 2017 Carol Composition Competition. Transported directly to Bethlehem on this magical night, the singers and the audience can behold for the first time the auspicious babe in the manger, while angels proclaim the glad tidings of joy.

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Qui Creavit Caelum                         

Scored for:   SATB divisi a cappella

Level:            Medium

Duration:       3min

Other info:     Qui Creavit Caelum won first prize in the 2015 Cincinnati Camerata Composition Contest. Click here  The text is taken from the 1425 Advent Hymn Qui Creavit Caelum, which is sometimes referred to as ‘The Song of the Nuns of Chester’. Chris’s setting features a lilting modal melody, which receives fresh harmonic and textural re-workings in each of the verses, culminating a in a very jazzy ending. You can listen to Chris talking about this piece in the following interview: Click here

Sanctus                    

Scored for:   SATB and Piano (also available for SSAA and piano; TTBB and piano)

Level:            Medium

Duration:       3min50

Other info:     This is a jubilant and very attractive setting of the timeless Latin text, featuring jazzy harmonies, catchy melodic lines and a range of textures.  

 

"The girls really enjoyed the challenges that Sanctus provided. They particularly enjoyed exploring the harmonic worlds of your writing and the contrasts within the piece". Rachel Sutherland, Director of Senior Choir at Diocesan School for Girls, Auckland.

Solitude    

Scored for:    SATB piano and bass

Level:            Medium

Duration:       3min

Other info:    Solitude was written in 2014 for Auckland-based choir, “North Shore Chorale” and their conductor, Nicholas Forbes. The almost “schizophrenic” nature of Ella Wheeler Wilcox’ poem – with moments of great optimism such as Laugh and the world laughs with you, immediately juxtaposed with the despairing line, Weep and you weep alone – provides good tone painting opportunities. Changes in tempo and key changes and dynamics provide for variety. The piece builds up to a dramatic conclusion with a very jazzy final chord.  

 

"Solitude has an intriguing text, with an equally interesting jazz-like musical setting that is wonderfully effective whilst being not too difficult. The textural contrasts of unison and harmony demand different skills and the catchy rhythms have caught the imaginations of our young singers, who are thoroughly enjoying this excellent song". Gina Sanders, International Soprano and Co-Director of Macleans College Chorale, Auckland.

Songs of Joy                 

Scored for:   SATB & piano

Level:            Medium

Duration:      3min

Other info:   This is a joyful song with appealing melodic lines accompanied by a Latin style accompaniment on piano. Written for the Auckland Welsh Choir and their director Diana Rhodes, she has commented, ‘We are all loving the piece and it will make an excellent pairing with Leisure. So pleased!!’

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When I am Dead, My Dearest                

Scored for:   SATB 

Level:            Medium

Duration:      1'40"

Other info:  “When I am dead, my dearest, sing no sad songs for me.” – The poem presented here by the British lyricist Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) begins with these sad yet at the same time comforting words. In Chris Artley’s touching composition the women’s and men’s parts can alternately take over this captivating melody, tenderly accompanied by the rest of the choir.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
O Magnum Mysterium by Chris Artley - all parts sung by American tenor, Matt Curtis.
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