Piece of the week: ‘The Feast of Palms’

My Palm Sunday anthem, ‘The Feast of Palms’ for SATB and organ, was originally written for the collection ‘Ash Wednesday to Easter for Choirs’, published by Oxford University Press, and later published as a separate octavo. It is a setting of the well-known text by Gerard Moultrie, and it tells the story of Jesus asking his disciples to fetch the donkey, so that he could ride in triumph into Jerusalem, cheered on by the crowd waving palm-branches.

A vivid text, which needed vivid pictorial music – I responded with a syncopated melody with plentiful ‘hosannah’s set to cross-rhythms. As the excitement of Jesus’s approach builds, the melody is presented in different voices, then appears in double-length notes in the organ pedals (‘They set him on his throne so rude, Before him went the multitude’…) and in two-part canon (‘They thronged before, behind, around, They threw palm-branches on the ground’…), leading to a joyful conclusion.

It was good to have such a dramatic picture to portray musically, and it was an enjoyable piece to write!  I hope you like it too: you can listen to it and follow the score here, and the music is available here in the UK, and here in the USA.