‘For the beauty of the earth’ by John Rutter
Arranged for Flute Choir by Matt Johnston
Score and parts
- The “chorus” is made up of 2 C Clutes, Alto Flute and Bass Flute. If desired, a mixed SATB choir can be used in lieu of these flute parts
- 4 Flutes
- 2 Alto Flutes
- Bass Flute
- Contrabass Flute (or Contralto Flute in G)
- Harp (or Piano) – optional
Words by Folliott S. Pierpoint
“For the beauty of the earth” by John Rutter has been a favorite of choirs around the world. It was composed in 1978, dedicated to Rosemary Heffley and the Texas Choral Directors Association. This arrangement for flute choir can be performed in two ways, either entirely by flutes, or in combination with a mixed SATB choir. The upper four parts in the score (marked “chorus”) can be replaced by vocalists using the choral version of the piece published by Oxford University Press. Optionally, the ensemble can be augmented by a harpist or pianist using the part provided, or by playing out of the choral edition.
Program Notes by Matt Johnston
During my time as a church pianist and organist, a liturgy rotating on a three-year cycle meant that I got to play this For the beauty of the earth by John Rutter many times. With a catchy tune and a piano part that is fun to play. I always looked forward to performing this lively anthem. Thus, when talking with flutist Penny Zent about some of our favorite pieces, we both mentioned how much we like this one, and thought it could be a nice candidate to arrange for flute choir, especially in that her ensemble regularly performs at a church. An arrangement that can be played entirely by flutes, or with flutes accompanying a choir of voices was born. The harp part is entirely based on the original orchestration and can easily be adapted to play on the piano, or, the pianist can play the original piano version found in the choral octavo.
I dedicate this arrangement to Penny for inspiring me to create this adaptation, and also, I would like to dedicate it to my first piano teacher, Bonnie Copeland. She was the organist and accompanist at my childhood church and one of my first musical memories that has been with me my whole life was singing “For the Beauty of the Earth” in the version from the Presbyterian hymnal. Although it is not the melody that is used in this version by Rutter, I remember the challenge of having to memorize the text of a few of the verses, and then singing it with the adult choir. A cherished memory for sure!