Gritton, Peter: God is Truth
Soprano or Alto Solo, SSA and Piano
Borrowed from the General Prologue to Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, ‘Truth, Honour, Freedom and Courtesy’ is the motto of Prendergast School in south-east London; and when the school commissioned a new carol from the composer (at the premiere of which his daughter Frankie sang the opening solo), it was a strikingly imaginative touch to link these virtues with the Christmas story: truth with God, honour with Mary, and freedom with Christ. Limpid ‘old world’ pentatonic melody in the verses contrasts with a rising, hopeful, chromatic–scalic figure for the refrain ‘God is truth, Mary is honour, Christ is freedom’. Increasingly animated in mood, the carol is shaped towards the rousing final chorus, where the music of ‘truth’ combines with a descant for ‘courtesy’, and ‘courtesy and kindness’ are lauded in an uninhibited gospel-style outpouring.
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