|Listen to a recording of Noel Nouvelet by Stephen Dunstone.
MUSIC SAMPLE - View Noel Nouvelet by Stephen Dunstone.
Suitable For : Lever / Pedal Harp
Genre : Contemporary Harp Ensemble
Ability Level : Easy - Intermediate
Format : PDF as a Zipped File Download
I have been told off for saying things like "This has to be one of my all-time favouritesĒ and "This is
without doubt one of the greatest everĒ so frequently about pieces of music, plays, films and books, that it
doesnít appear to leave scope for anything to be of lesser quality. This isnít actually true - I do come
across things that arenít so brilliant - but I have to confess I can get very enthusiastic about those things
that excite or move me.
NoŽl Nouvelet is a case in point. It really is one of the all-time greats, and (for me, at least) this is partly due
to the fact that itís a Dorian mode piece (looks like itís in G major, but its home chord is actually A minor).
This allows the juxtaposition of A minor and D major chords, which is both very mediaeval and very cool,
and the kind of chord pairing used by some rock groups. It means, too, that you get cadences which are G
major to A minor instead of the conventional E major to A minor perfect cadences, which is also very folky.
Some choral arrangements seem to disregard and even obscure this intrinsic quality, and give it that kind of
droopy but slightly astringent 1960ís feel, which I feel is a terrible waste (and not in the least bit appropriate
to the message of the carol).
So in my version Iíve tried to allow those wonderful harmonies to stand out clearly. And because thereís an
irrepressible excitment to the whole thing, Iíve marked it to be played "VigorosoĒ (which gives scope for
personal interpretations of speed). I also couldnít resist writing not just one descant, but two. Verse 4
introduces the first, verse 5 the second, and verse 6 combines the two, if you have enough players. Each
verse only lasts about 20 seconds, so if, like me, you find yourself wanting more of it, just play some of it
I havenít put any dynamics in, but despite the "VigorosoĒ it does work to use a mixture of loud, energetic
playing, and lighter, nimble, eyes-shining sounds.