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Five old French carols
Original Title
Gogolak, Edward
Year Arranged
Original Instrumentation
Hornists Nest
Year Published
Catalogue Number
HN 54
Sheet Music Format
A4, Score (6) & parts (4x4=16)
Additional Equipment
Other Instruments
Structure / Movements
5 carols: I Branle de l'officiel (Ding, dong, merrily on high): Joyfully II Berger, secoue ton sommiel profond (Shepherd, shake off your drowsy sleep): Allegretto III Nous etions trois bergerettes (We were three shepherdesses): Spiritoso IV Il est ne, le Divin Enfant (Born is the Holy Child): Relaxed 2 - Stately V Quittez, pasteurs (Shepherds, leave your sheep): Brightly
Treble, bass
¢, 6/8, 2/4, 2/8+3/8, 2/2
Key signatures
None, 1#, 3b, 2b
Horn 1: G - g2 Horn 2: G - g2 Horn 3: c - g2 Horn 4: G - f2
Creator's Comments
Edward Gogolak holds degrees from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and from the University of Wisconsin. Though his major instrument was, predictably enough, horn, several years ago he gave up performing on the horn to devote his musical time to the recorder. He now lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he is active in musical circles as a recorder virtuoso, clinician, and teacher, and also as a composer and arranger. Mr. Gogolak makes the following comments regarding the French Carols: “The first three of these works were written in 1972, when I was just beginning my work on my master’s degree in horn. The remaining two (Il est ne; Quittez Pasteurs) were done in 1980 to complete a set of five for this publication. “In these quartets I have deliberately combined familiar or familiar-sounding melodies with a serious musical approach, which makes them more than simply ‘arrangement’ of tunes. The carols are scored for a quartet of equal players, which means that ideally, each performer should be capable of negotiating the horn’s entire range. This sort of scoring permitted me to write an interesting part for each player. “In short, my intent was to create works which would be challenging for performers, appealing to the audience, and at the same time, artistically significant. “The following information regarding the titling of the French Carols may be of some interest. ‘Ding, Dong, Merrily on High’ is really an English setting of a French tune. This tune appears in Orchesographie, a well-known treatise on French dances and dancing written by Thoinot Arbeau in 1588. The melody appears note for note identically as in the carol, under the title “Branle de l’Officiel,‘ or ‘The Official’s Branle.’ The branle was a common Renaissance dance in fast duple time. As far as I can tell, the first use of the melody as a carol was in England in the early 1800’s, but it could have been sued as such in France at an earlier date. At any rate, the melody itself is very definitely French in origin.”
Performance Notes
Looking at the range above, it is really true that all four players are treated equally. On the other hand this means that there are frequent tessitura changes for each player, playing for example in the pedal register, and in the next bar finding themselves a few octaves higher. It does make these not too difficult pieces more interesting for advanced quartets though, which could be a determining factor once the right season comes around.
Access to review score: Nancy Joy (NMSU)