Monday, November 21, 2011

Nativity Scenes, Suite for String Orchestra

Nativity Scenes, Suite for String Orchestra can be described as an aural rather than visual presentation of the Nativity story. It was the composer's intent to capture some of the awe and wonder he felt as a child participating in an outdoor living Nativity scene. Scriptural narration serves to connect commonly known Christmas carols to their historical roots.

The work is in five movements. It may be performed with or without narration. The individual movements may be excerpted. Duration 28 mins with narration, 22 mins without. Individual movements range from 4 to 7 mins.

The narration texts provided in the score are from the King James version of the Bible. Though the composer prefers the King James version, other versions may be substituted.

Though intended as concert music, the work has strong visual elements. It is well suited to the addition of interpretive dance or ballet choreography. It is also well suited to Lessons and Carols services. In and of itself, it does not make the best sing-along material, but traditional hymns can be inserted between movements if desired.


Mvmt I. Prophecy of the Messiah. A treatment of the carol, O Come, O Come Emmanuel (aka Veni Emmanuel).

Mvmt II. The wise men from the East and their encounter with Herod. A treatment of the carol, We Three Kings.

Mvmt III. The shepherds in the field to whom the birth of the Savior is first revealed. A treatment of two carols in combination, While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks, and, Christmas (aka, Joy to the World). The movement is a tipping of the hat to composer G. F. Handel.

Mvmt IV. The deliverance of the Holy Family from Herod's attempt on Jesus' life. A treatment of the carol, Silent Night.

Mvmt V. The unusual energy and growth of the early Christian Church, in effect, the birth of Christianity itself. A treatment of the carol, Good Christian Men, Rejoice (aka, In Dulci Jubilo).


III. Handelia


Nativity Scenes: Suite for String Orchestra, is published by Oxford University Press. Score and parts are available at

No comments:

Post a Comment