My sister had some ideas that she wanted me to build an arrangement around. First of all she wanted an arrangement of "What Child Is This" for Three parts --- Women (mostly alto, very little divisi with soprano), Tenor and Bass, with a Baritone soloist, and clarinet and flute obligato. The instrumental parts needed to be fairly simple, but beautiful. Then, she did not want to sing the chorus of verse 2. And she wanted the entire arrangement done in time for rehearsal in three days. No pressure, of course.
Needless to say, I got started right away. The challenge was interesting and I actually enjoyed writing for her specific parameters. I was worried though about one thing. I know how erratic participation in ward choir can be. One week 12 people might show up, mostly altos with a smattering of men. The next week 25 may come with mostly sopranos and basses. And so on. So, I thought that the best plan would be to make the parts work for a normal (though pitched a little lower) Mixed SATB choir. And true to my supposition, my sister told me that at rehearsal this week, 30 people showed up, including a decent number of soprano voices. Go figure! Anyway, as I have said before, the Christmas season is the easiest time to support a nice-sized choir. Everybody enjoys singing Christmas songs.
"What Child Is This" is a Christmas favorite, and hopefully this arrangement will be a useful contribution to the many arrangements already out there. It may turn out to be a very versatile piece. The solo could be sung by either a woman or a man. The clarinet and flute obligato could be played by any number of instruments from violin to oboe to flute to clarinet, in almost any combination. The piano part could also be played by a harp. The chorus parts are very accessible and practically sing themselves. And you cannot beat the beauty of the haunting melody of this Old English Christmas Carol.
NEW - Treble (S.S.A.) version with Piano only accompaniment What Child Is This? SSA and Piano with Soloist