Warwick: The Great O

Saturday 13 July 2024
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About this piece: Warwick: The Great O

Thumbnail of The Great OThis chant setting of the single syllable "O" was written at Dunblane Cathedral on the First Sunday of Advent 2006.

The inspiration for this setting comes from the writing of a German Catholic priest, Max Josef Metzger, who, before his execution by the Nazis in 1945, wrote:

He knows not Advent’s meaning who has never sat
By twilight in a dreary cell...

The sense of longing in the original Advent 'O' Antiphons is expressed by a four-note melisma E-A-A-G on the syllable "O". In this setting these four notes can be found at the beginning of the third section of the chant. There is also a "Blues" reference in the falling thirds in the final section, helping to reinforce the sense of desolation.

The music is presented in modern notation. The use of stem-less notes on a five-line stave shows the pitch and relative rhythmic values without imposing a rigid rhythm. The chant may be sung at any convenient pitch.

The text

The antiphon consists of the syllable "O". Also included is the melody and five verses of the hymn 'O come, O come, Emmanuel', which follow immediately.

Difficulty level: **

This moderately-easy piece is available for purchase as a choral octavo or for a limited time as a free download. Royalties from this publication will go to the Dunblane-Likhubula Partnership in order to help development of the Likhubula village community, high in the Mulanje mountain massif in the tea-growing area of Malawi.

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Conditions of the licence

You may make copies of the work for your local use; however, copyright remains with the publisher. Copies may not be made for commercial use, for resale, hire or distribution under any cover other than the original.

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