Psallite ("Sing Praises"): Old Christmas Carol for Brass Quintet and Organ or Piano

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Psallite ("Sing Praises"): Old Christmas Carol
(after Michael Praetorius)

Music by Franz Liszt
Arranged by William J. Bullock

Grade 4
Duration 2:00

Michael Praetorius’ setting of the sixteenth-century carol Psallite, unigenito made the carol so famous that later composers were enticed to use the carol as the basis for new compositions. One such composer was Franz Liszt, who used it to begin a set of Christmas piano works he composed for his granddaughter, Daniela. She was the first person to hear the work, when Liszt played it for her on Christmas Day, 1881, in her hotel room in Rome. Written in a style typical of the composer’s autumnal works, the movement exploits the melody’s initial bell motto in an elevated style. This arrangement enhances that style by transcribing it for organ (or piano) and brass quintet.

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