Just published – for SATB, flute, harp or piano, organ and strings
Commissioned for the 20th Anniversary of Battersea Choral Society
A fresh and urgent retelling of the nativity story in the imagined words of the Bethlehem herdsmen, Thomas Hewitt Jones’s The Shepherds’ Tale is among his most directly appealing choral works to date. Inspired by poet Matt Harvey’s poignant lyrics to a setting of high drama and intensity, the composer lovingly conveys the profound feelings of these humble folk encountering the Incarnation, and foregrounds the ravishing duo of solo flute and harp against atmospheric organ and strings. Straightforward to learn and a joy to sing, the music moves from dismay to celebration in its kaleidoscopic fifteen minutes’ duration, broadly laid out in five sections that follow the emotional pilgrimage in all its doubts, longings, and final affirmations.
In uplifting tones beautifully complementing those of seasonal Stainer & Bell classics including Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on Christmas Carols and Alan Bush’s The Winter Journey, The Shepherds’ Tale places centre stage the wonder of these lowly observers of the earth-shattering events, more often recounted artistically through the eyes and ears of the Magi and Holy Family.
If you’re missing singing in choirs this Christmas, a free sing-a-long video has just been created for your enjoyment. All you need to do is “Follow the bouncing sheep”:
The album release is also now available here: li.sten.to/sheepie