A Hymn for St Cecilia (Charles H. Giffen)

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To the Choral Public Domain Library, in praise of singing   St-Cecilia.jpg

Music files

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Full score

  • (Posted 2018-09-26)   CPDL #51371:     
Editor: Charles H. Giffen (submitted 2018-09-26).   Score information: Letter, 34 pages, 484 kB   Copyright: CC BY NC SA
Edition notes: This is a letter-size version of the full score. Instrumental parts and a larger (tabloid-size) conductor's score are also available. Performance time is about 8.5 minutes.

Instrumental parts

  • (Posted 2018-10-01)   CPDL #51405:   
Editor: Charles H. Giffen (submitted 2018-10-01).   Score information: Ledger, 4 pages, 145 kB   Copyright: CC BY NC SA
Edition notes: Harp part.
  • (Posted 2018-10-01)   CPDL #51406:   
Editor: Charles H. Giffen (submitted 2018-10-01).   Score information: Letter, 15 pages, 550 kB   Copyright: CC BY NC SA
Edition notes: Wind parts: Flute, English horn, Bassoon, Horn in F, Trombone.
  • (Posted 2018-10-01)   CPDL #51407:   
Editor: Charles H. Giffen (submitted 2018-10-01).   Score information: Letter, 15 pages, 551 kB   Copyright: CC BY NC SA
Edition notes: String parts: Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Violoncello, Double Bass.

General Information

Title: A Hymn for St Cecilia
Composer: Charles H. Giffen
Lyricist: Ursula Vaughan Williamscreate page (1911-2007)

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SacredAnthem for St. Cecilia

Language: English
Instruments: Chamber orchestra (flute, English horn, bassoon, horn in F, trombone, harp, and strings)

First published: 2018

Description: This is an anthem setting of the poem 'A Hymn for St Cecilia' by Ursula Vaughan Williams, for mixed choir and chamber orchestra. It dedicated to the Choral Public Domain Library, as CPDL approaches the 20th anniversary of its founding (in December 1998) by Rafael Ornes, with much appreciation by the composer for all that CPDL has done for choirs and choruses, making thousands upon thousands of choral scores available for free download.

The music itself is an elaboration of the composer's hymn on the same text (Sing for the morning's joy, Cecilia, sing to the tune "Gloucester Crescent" which was composed in 2017 explicitly for the Ursula Vaughan Williams text. The harp is an organic part of the accompaniment.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Sing for the morning’s joy, Cecilia, sing,
in words of youth and phrases of the spring.
Walk the bright colonnades by fountains spray
and sing as sunlight fills the waking day.
Till angels, voyaging in upper air,
pause on a wing, and gather the clear sound
into celestial joy, wound and unwound,
a silver chain or golden as your hair.

Sing for your loves of heaven and of earth,
in words of music, and each word a truth,
marriage of heart and longings that aspire,
a bond of roses and a ring of fire.
Your summertime grows short and fades away,
terror must gather to a martyr’s death, but never tremble,
the last indrawn breath remembers music as an echo may.

Through the cold aftermath of centuries
Cecilia’s music dances in the skies,
lend us a fragment of the immortal air
where with your choiring angels we may share.
A light to light us through time-fettered night,
water of life, a rose of paradise;
so from the earth another song shall rise
to meet your own in heaven's long delight.

 — by Ursula Vaughan Williams (1911-2007)
Copyright © 1961 by The Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust. Used by permission.