“Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” (PICARDY) is a eucharistic hymn from the fifth-century Liturgy of St. James, translated by the Anglican priest and hymnodist Gerard Moultrie (1829-1885).
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958), editor of the English Hymnal of 1906, adapted a French carol dating from the 17th century for Moultrie’s text, naming the hymn tune “PICARDY” for the region of France from which it is thought to originate.
Vaughan Williams’ contemporary and friend, Gustav Holst (1874-1934), set the hymn for SATB choir and orchestra as part of his 3 Festival Choruses, Op.36a (1916), and it was published in 1921 for SATB choir with piano transcription by Holst’s assistant, Vally Lasker.
Although the hymn is appropriate at any time, Holst’s anthem is often programmed at Christmas, in recognition of the incarnation and nativity of Jesus the “Word made flesh,” expressed in the first line of the second verse: “King of Kings, yet born of Mary.” Likewise, this adaptation and arrangement for concert band is suitable for performance at any time and is especially appropriate at Christmas.
Piccolo, Flute 1-2, Oboe 1-2, Bassoon 1-2, Clarinet 1-3, Bass Clarinet, Alto Sax 1-2, Tenor Sax, Baritone Sax, Trumpet 1-3, F Horn, Trombone 1-2, Bass Trombone, Euphonium (B.C. and T.C.), Tuba, Timpani, Bells, Chimes, Snare Drum, Cymbals/Bass Drum
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