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Both of Them

When I say that I managed to fit both harvest hymns into this morning’s harvest service at St Clement’s, that probably says more about the limited state of my repertoire in that area than anything else.

Nonetheless, we had both Come, Ye Thankful People, Come and We Plough the Fields and Scatter where generally we have one or the other. We Plough was supported by the band (electric guitar, bass and drums today), with a few nips and tucks to the chords suggested in Songs of Fellowship to make it work with that line-up. Meanwhile, Come… was performed by a small choir during the presentation of harvest gifts, using a simple arrangement by me. Unison on first verse, melody and bass lines for verses 2 and 4 and melody with an alternative bass part by me in verse 3, first descending and then ascending chromatically to add some colour to the verse about judgement.

Richer by far, though, was the other choral piece – Elgar’s setting of As Torrents in Summer, which uses a couple of stanzas lifted from a larger poem by Henry Longfellown (7 & 8 from The Musician’s Tale; they present a beautiful image in two parts while the rest of the poem, admittedly given much less consideration over the past few weeks, seems less focused). That was quite exhilarating to sing and, judging from post-service comments, was well-received by the congregation too.

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