Eric Helmuth: The Mahogany Tree

Publisher | choral music,christmas (secular),men's,winter season | Friday, June 15th, 2007

Mahogany tree

When you think of a mahogany tree, you might predictably imagine a mighty trunk with leafy branches above, right?

Well, you wouldn’t quite be hitting the mark if one was referring to this piece by Eric Helmuth. Mahogany was a very popular wood in England, imported from the Americas. It was used for fine furniture, in particular the dining table which was commonly known as “the mahogany tree.”

And although one may not suspect that this piece is holiday-themed… it is! With lyrics by William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863), Helmuth’s The Mahogany Tree, for TTBB and piano, is a boisterous, joyful depiction of a group of men gathered around the table as they sing, drink and toast to each other and to the Christmas season.

Here’s an excerpt from the text:

Once on the boughs, birds of great plume
Sang in its bloom:
Night birds are we: here we carouse singing like them,
Perched round the stem of the jolly old tree.

One particularly special aspect of this piece is Eric’s energetic and brilliant piano accompaniment.

To view the first four pages of the score, click here.

Diane Benjamin: Snow Might Fly

Publisher | choral music,composers,family,winter season,women's | Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

Snowflake

June through July seems to be the season when most choruses begin planning their winter/holiday concerts. So, to help acquaint you with what YRM offers for your concert programming needs, we’ll frequently be posting over the next couple of months about new pieces and catalog favorites that feature themes of winter time and of the holidays… Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Winter Solstice.

First up is a new piece by Diane Benjamin titled Snow Might Fly, composed for SAA, oboe and piano. This music is a joyous and exuberant setting of Becky Karush’s lyrics about a moment captured on a wintry day. Nostalgia, family, nature… a simpler life.

Snow Might Fly (view the first four pages of the score by clicking on the link)

[audio:http://yrmusic.com/audio/benjamin.diane/snow.might.fly.mp3]

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