Three Medieval Carols
Composed by William Averitt
for Flute Solo
Published by ECS Publishing
These brief movements for solo flute are each based directly upon three lovely Christmas church melodies from the 14th, 13th, and 15th centuries, respectively. The original melodies are associated with texts that convey the joy surrounding the Annunciation, that speak of the Father’s love, and that express the shepherds’ astonishment upon receiving the news of the birth of Jesus.
1. Angelus ad Virginem (Source: Dublin Troper – 14th Century)
2. Love Begotten (Source: 13th Century Plainsong)
3. Nova, Nova (Source: 15th Century Manuscript)
Included in this collection are three advanced, one-page, lesser-known religious Christmas carols for unaccompanied flute from the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries. Each ranges in length from one to two minutes, and all three can be performed in under five minutes. The style of writing makes these appropriate for performance at recitals or for use as instrumental music for church services.
“Angelus ad Virginem” is meant to convey the joy surrounding the Annunciation, when the Virgin Mary learned from the angel that she would miraculously give birth to Jesus. Averitt captures this joy through the use of a gently moving tempo, mixed use of 6/8 and 9/8 meter, and the mid- to upper-register of the flute. Dynamics range from pianissimo echo passages to fortissimo, which could match the range of emotions that Mary might have experienced based on the text that inspired the arrangement.
“Love Begotten,” which is based on “Of the Father’s Love Begotten,” is perhaps the best-known of the carols in this collection, although the recognizable melody is not present until the end. The piece begins in E-flat minor with a contemplative feel that builds to a forte climax before relaxing for the plainsong melody of “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” in E-flat major.
“Nova, Nova” depicts the shepherds’ astonishment upon receiving the news of the birth of Jesus. With a “vigorously dancing” tempo, mixed use of 6/8 and 9/8 meter, and various use of accents, this is the liveliest and most difficult of the three arrangements. The ending features a passage that sounds like church bells tolling.