Ndikhokhele Bawo

“Ndikhokhele Bawo” – arr. Michael Barrett

The text of Ndikhokhele Bawo comes from Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” and is in the Xhosa language. This Bantu language falls into the category of Nguni languages, the same umbrella that contains Zulu; Xhosa is one of the most widely spoken languages in South Africa. Michael Barrett, Director of Choral Music Studies at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, sets this sacred text in a large-scale ‘ternary’ form, ABA. A solo soprano voice brings in the choir with a serene sense of hope and wonder. The women join in with the same soloistic style and the men accompany them in widely voiced homophony. The piece continues to grow in dynamics with a celebratory declaration.

Oh My Luve’s Like a Red, Red Rose

“Oh My Luve’s Like a Red, Red Rose” by Robert Burns (1759-1796)

Eighteenth-century Scottish poet Robert Burns composed the text for “Oh My Luve’s Like a Red, Red Rose” to depict the immense longing and passion of romantic love. Rene Clausen’s setting of this text would have ended our spring program’s set of love songs. The arrangement begins with obbligato violin and cello imitating the heart’s flutter. A sweeping piano accompaniment drives a dance-like 3/4 meter to encapsulate the meaning of Burns’ text, while the chorus stays in strict homophony to bring all hearts to one beating pulse.

Great Day

“Great Day” by Stacey V. Gibbs (b. 1962)

“Great Day” is an arrangement of a traditional spiritual by Stacey Gibbs. Gibbs is a highly sought-after Black composer-arranger who is acclaimed for his ability to add choral vitality and energy to the power of traditional spirituals. His pieces have been performed by choirs throughout the U.S. and internationally.

Turtle Dove

“Turtle Dove” by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)

English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote a full arrangement of this piece in 1919, after he discovered the melody in 1904 while collecting folksongs. The text dates back to 1710, which tells the story of two lovers that vow to remain faithful as one travels far from home.

This beautiful work by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams would have taken place in the second half of our Spring program this past April. Our new tenor, Michael Fenn, sings the text delightfully and brings this work to life. Please enjoy the first of many Virtual Choirs to come from the Arizona Repertory Singers.