Variations on Noel Nouvelët
for Wind Ensemble
Duration: 6 1/2 minutes / Grade 6
A set of variations on the traditional French new year's carol, noel nouvelët, also known as Sing We Now of Christmas. But I first encountered the melody during Easter at St. James Episcopal Church in Springfield, MO, where I sung in the choir during college. The Episcopal Church uses the melody as an Easter hymn called "Now the Green Blade Riseth." Each year, the dorian melody would get stuck in my head, impossible to excise. Even years after I had moved away from St. James, I would still get the melody stuck in my head from time to time as I imagined different variations of it. Finally, I had to sit down and write a formal set of variations.
These variations are wildly different from each other and explore vastly different styles and re-interpretations of the melody. It could easily be a contest piece, offering worthwhile and diverse challenges to ensembles up to the task.
I originally wrote this piece for brass band in the early 2000s, But I always felt the piece would find its true home in the wind ensemble. So in 2010, I finally set about revising and adapting the piece for wind ensemble.