Wishing you a very joyful Christmas
from all of us at
electric voice theatre

We rounded off our year with a wee bit of zoom carol singing in a special event just for our Virtual Choir, singers, company and board  members.
As you may know, virtual singing together means recording things in advance – so we thought we’d share a bit of the joy with you in the shape of two of the pieces we were most excited to discover from Christmases past. You will recognise the words of one but perhaps not the music of either….. hopefully by next year they will be sung more widely.

Click on the blue arrows below to listen and scroll down for more info.

“Hymn for Christmas Day”
Jane Savage (1752 – 1824)

arranged for virtual choir and organ

“Hymn For Christmas Day” by Jane Savage (1752 – 1824) is a setting of the famous carol – “Whilst shepherds watch’d their flocks by night”.

It was published in 1785 in a collection by William Gawler for the Asylum for Female Orphans.

I found this score accidentally, while rooting about in various archives for something quite different! Later, as I looked for information about Jane Savage online, I came across Rachel Webber, a postgraduate student at the University of York, who had uncovered the hymn a few years ago and had it performed in Ely Cathedral by their excellent Girls Choir. She also had a modern score for unison voices published for choirs to use – you’ll find it here. She is keen for the hymn to be used so please spread this information far and wide!

Our arrangement is very different, being for our Virtual Choir and some of the Electric Voice Theatre Singers, so I’ve created harmony parts from her score while keeping to her directions for using chorus, semi – chorus and solos.

We love it – there is joy in every note!

We don’t know a great deal about the composer, Jane Savage, except that she was a harpsichord player too and that her father was also a composer. She may have moved with him from Kent to Red Lion Square in Holborn in the 1780’s during which time most of her work was published.  This is an important coincidence for us, as we’ll be spending lots of time there in 2023 ourselves – working with Conway Hall to promote the life and work of composer Eliza Flower!

“O lovely voices of the Sky”
Eliza Flower (1803 – 1846)

for solo voice & piano

Black and White sketch of the composer's face

Eliza Flower (1803 – 1846)

Tinted lithograph of a drawing by Mrs E Bridell Fox, 1898/99 courtesy of Conway Hall Ethical Society

Find out more about this important composer and hear more of her music here

The words of the song were written by

Felicia Hemans (1793 –1835)

 ….of “The Boy stood on the burning deck” fame!

O lovely voices of the sky,
That hymned the Saviour’s birth!
Are ye not singing yet on high,
Ye that sang, “Peace on earth”?
To us yet speak the strains
Wherewith, in days gone by,
Ye bless’d the Syrian swains,
O voices of the sky!

O clear and shining light, whose beams,
That hour Heaven’s glory shed
Around the palms, and o’er the streams,
And on the shepherd’s head;
Be near, through life and death,
As in that holiest night
Of hope, and joy, and faith,
O clear and shining light!

O star which led to Him, whose love
Brought hope and mercy free;
Where art thou? – ‘mid the hosts above,
May we still gaze on thee! –
In heaven thou art not set,
Thy rays earth might not dim,
Send them to guide us yet,
O star which led to Him!