Rise up, Shepherd

Originally arranged for a school choir, this traditional American spiritual includes an oboe obbligato part. The current arrangement was first performed by by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Choir, and subsequently included on their “Spirit of Christmas” CD recording.

Rise up, Shepherd received performances at the Sage, Gateshead at Christmas 2008, as well as five performances by the CBSC and Orchestra in Symphony Hall, Birmingham.

It is a very simple piece to perform, and the scoring is quite light, with single woodwind, horn, harp and strings, but it can be performed equally well with piano accompaniment and an optional part for oboe (or flute). In fact there’s a recording of the piece by The Master Singers from Eau Claire, WI, USA,  which uses just oboe and harp as an accompaniment, and is very effective.

Further details are on the OUP Website, which includes an extract from the printed vocal score and an MP3 sample (with oboe and piano accompaniment).

I’ve also been granted permission to include an extract of a performance with orchestra by Wellshire Presbyterian Church in Denver, Colorado, USA, which makes use of the orchestral accompaniment. This formed part of their Festival of Carols, presented in December 2008. The Sanctuary Choir and Orchestra are conducted by Dr Michael Pohlenz.

This extract by Wellshire Presbyterian Church Choir and Orchestra, Denver, Colorado

‘Rise up, Shepherd’ has more recently been included in OUP’s book of Flexible Carols – in a simplified form (without the obbligato part for oboe).

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