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Christmas by instrumentation: Christmas Carols with brass

Many people asked for a compilation of what I found regarding brass
quartet/quintet arrangements of the following:

O Come, All Ye Faithful
The First Noel
Joy to the World
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Hallelujah Chorus

So, here it is, with my thanks to those who responded with information!

Kerry Burtis
My all-time favorite arrangements for the first four pieces are the
Willcocks' arrangements from the four book Oxford Carols for Choirs series.
I think all four of the titles you seek are in the "green" book, Book I.
It's available in hardback and paper, with the brass parts sold separately.
At one time back in the sixties or early 70s Oxford published five carols in
a set, but I don't remember the name they gave to the set. Lou Fifer
at Oxford could probably help you.

The best carol arrangements I can think of are for brass organ and choir by
David Willcocks (Oxford U Press) They have accompaniment parts for 5 part or
8 part brass (your choice)

The brass parts are high and demanding, but the arrangements are wonderful.

By all means get the "Five Carols" by David Willcocks (Oxford). They can be
done either with brass quintet OR with strings or strings and ww.

Oxford Carols, David Willcocks (arr.)

Eight Carol Accompaniments for brass quintet, percussion, organ: ISBN 0
190354855 0

Includes: O Come, All Ye Faithful; The First Noel; Hark! The Herald Angels

I use Joy To The World from our hymnal and have the brass double the parts
and 1st Trumpet double the soprano descant. It's usually our recessional
piece so it works well with choir and congregational singing. In other
words, IT's BIG AND LOUD.

David Willcocks (Oxford U Press) -- A number of wonderful arrangements of
such tunes as these, and John Rutter, same way (OUP or Hinshaw). Tasty
harmonies, fine descants, audience participation. Good stuff.k

Have you checked the" Carols for Choirs" 1, 2, 3 books published by Oxford
University Press. Many brass arrangements available and arrangements work
well with choir.

Some of the Rutter are quite workable with brass, and organ filling in the
rest. But, as you note, the full versions are a lot of players. Willcocks
has a set of, I think, 5 Carols, from the Carols for Choirs, vol. 1 book,
arr. for a very flexible scoring, where everyone seems to play everything, so
you can extract for brass or for strings, etc. Even if not laid out this
way in the score, you can do up your own brass version from the organ part
in C for C vol. 1. Check with OUP to see what they've got in the rental or
retail files for brass in the Willcocks carols. Or call Luck's Music
Library in Madison Hts, MI 1-800-348-8749. They carry a big inventory of
Christmas music with various instrumental scorings. Luck's specializes in
orch scores and parts, and does vocal/choral, IF it involves orch or brass or
such. Comprehensive catalog and fast service.

You might take a look at O Come, All Ye Faithful and Joy to the World, both
settings by John Rutter and published by Hinshaw--O Come (HMC-847) and Joy
(HMC-785). For O Come there are brass parts only in addition to a full
orchestration, and for Joy to the World the two trumpet parts are very
effective--additional instrumentation 2 Ob, Bsn, Timp, Organ or Harpsichord
and strings.

John Ferguson has some nice arrangements which can also double as
accompaniments for singers in a group of publications he did for GIA
Publications based on the common arrangements found in most hymnals.
( Go there and look for "Festival Hymns 1 - Christmas" or
"Brass Sound of Christmas" by Tolosko or "Die Weihnacht" by Blahnik.

John Ferguson has a set of Christmas Hymns with 2 trumpets and 2 trombones
which are published by GIA. I have done them for several seasons. I love them
and would like to add some other arrangements but I have not found any worthy
of replacing the Ferguson. I believe they include Adeste Fideles, Hark! The
Herald Angels Sing and one other. (The title escapes me as I usually don't
use the third one in the set) (Their is also an equally musical set of
Easter Anthems by Ferguson.) Joy to the World has an interesting arrangement
by Pelz, Augsburg? publishers.

5 Christmas carols popular in Canada that were arranged for just your
purpose: "FIVE CHRISTMAS CAROLS arranged by Derek Holman for SATB Choir and
Audience with accompaniment for organ, piano, or orchestra, or brass quintet"
Publisher is Gordon V. Thompson/Warner Brothers. Titles include IL EST NE LE

Are you aware of the 40 or so arrangements of hymns by Vaclav Nehlybel? They
are solid, accessible, and very flexible. I've used them for twenty five
years. I think they're published by Hope, and I can't remember the title,
but with a little detective work, you'll be able to locate them. They are
contained in one conductor's book, then a book for each part (includes

Psalm 150 Publications has a number of these tunes arranged for Brass, Organ,
and Timpani with congregation by Robert A. M. Ross.

Kola Owolabi, a young composer from Canada, has an excellent arrangement of
Joy to the World (it was performed by the Canadian Brass and the Church Choir
of St. Andrew and St. Paul in Montreal). His email address is
kola.owolabi(a) I'm pretty sue he's published through Warner
Brothers, but I would simply ask him. Hope this helps!

Have you looked at Hal Hopson's new book, The Creative Use of Instruments in

I'm a composer and arranger in London UK, and I have an arrangement for brass
quintet, organ, and vocal decants for Hark! the herald-angels sing. I'd be
pleased to show you a copy. Do you have the Finale program? If so, I could
email the file, otherwise I could post or fax some of the pages.

Paul Ayres/paulayres(a)

I don't know of a brass quartet or quintet but John Ness Beck has
arrangements of those carols for 3 trumpets which I used every year but not
the Hallelujah Chorus. There are verses for the audience/congregation alone,
then an interlude with trumpets and then a final verse in unison with
trumpets parts and a coda for choir and trumpets with keyboard accompaniment
throughout. I usually play them on organ and let the audience go without a
director although I have done them on piano and directed the audience. Just
depends on the location. Also do them with my community chorus where I play
organ and my accompanist plays piano so we have a great time. Not exactly
what you are looking for but really nice arrangements. They are published by
Beckenhorst. I don't have the exact titles at hand but if you need them, em
ail me back and I will retrieve one and send you the info. Conversely, if you
find any of the arrangements you are seeking, I would appreciate knowing
them. Also have a brass quartet that I work with and it would fun to have
those arrangements handy should the need arise.

There are really awesome brass arrangements by Sterling Procter out of
Dallas, TX. These could be played by really good high school students. They
are exciting and some provide descants. The church loves them!! The
arrangements are also very economical! Here is his contact info:

Sterling Procter
1324 Highland Road
Dallas, TX 75218
fax: (214) 328-1200

on April 24, 2003 10:00pm
Canadian Brass have simply dynamite arrangements of Christmas Carols for choir and brass Quintet. Visit their website and Canadian Brass Store for listing.
on June 18, 2004 10:00pm
Canadian Brass has some wonderful arrangements for choir and brass. Visit their website store for a complete listing. The telephone staff is very helpful. There are two arrangements of O come All Ye Faithful. I believe that it is the one by Stephen Neff that is so incredibly thrilling.

on November 18, 2007 10:00pm
The 48 hymns arranged by Nehlybel is called: Festival Hymns and Processionals available at:
on December 11, 2008 10:00pm
Sterling Proctor does great arrangements for brass only and brass and congregation! Richard Webster is another composer that writes pieces that sound very much like John Rutter. I have used his "Come Thou, Long Expected Jesus", "O Come, All Ye Faithful" and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and they are stunning. They are not for the faint-hearted player. Visit his website for more info: