Cor Carols!

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Back in 1981 a recording was released, Music for Christmas, featuring the Eastman French Horn Choir and the Eastman Trombone Choir. The first track on that album is Cor Carols, a work arranged by Leonard P. Schwartz. Schwartz was a horn student at Eastman at the time and is listed among the student performers.

Music for Christmas Eastman 292x300 Cor Carols!According to the record jacket the Eastman French Horn Choir was established in 1969. I was a student at Eastman from 1984-86, and this work was a key work among the works we performed at the annual Eastman Holiday Sing, all of them being works in 8 parts performed by two antiphonal horn choirs with all parts at least doubled, with three first horns in each choir and four fourth horns each for a total of 22 horns when I was there. To this day this general arrangement of 8 part antiphonal horn choir writing remains my favorite horn choir setup.

As to Cor Carols, it is an inventive work that combines Christmas favorites with orchestral excerpts. By the time I was there Verne Reynolds had re-worked the ending compared to the recording. I have been told that he subsequently re-worked the piece several times. The video below (direct link here) is I believe the final iteration of the work, as performed by the Eastman Horn Choir at the Holiday Sing in 2010, conducted by Peter Kurau. It is actually pretty heavily re-written, I personally miss the original opening, but it is nicely performed and you do get the feel of being there to be sure!

Want to hear it live? I believe it will be performed next week at the Eastman Holiday Sing, which I see listed as being held on Friday, December 14, 2012 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM at the Eastman School Main Hall. One not to miss if you are in the Rochester area! More on the Eastman Horn Studio may be found here.

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