Jubilate Deo


Duration: 5 minutes

1) SATB, brass (4 tpts, 2 tbns, b.tbn, tba), organ, percussion (2) (timps, susp cym, bell in C)
2) SATB, brass quintet (2 tpts, hn, tbn, tba), 1 susp cym, bell in C, organ
3) SATB, organ

1) First performed by Daventry Choral Society and Bristol Brass Consort, cond. Alexander Walker, 27 June 2003, Daventry Tertiary College
2) First performed by Selwyn College Choir/Onyx Brass/Sarah MacDonald, March 2004, St Bride’s Church, London

Listen to Jubilate Deo by Alan Charlton performed by Selwyn College Choir and Onyx Brass conducted by Sarah MacDonald:

Programme Note

Jubilate Deo was composed for Bedford School Chapel Choir during my final year as composer in residence at the school in 2002. Originally the work was scored for choir and organ, but I had always envisaged rescoring it for larger forces. The work however remained unperformed, so when Alex Walker asked whether I would like to arrange it for choir, brass, organ and percussion for Daventry Choral Society and Bristol Brass Consort, I leapt at the chance. This new version of the work has also been considerably reworked, with a rewriting of the choral parts, alteration of the harmony in places, the development of more intricate accompaniment textures for the brass and the insertion of some extra music to improve the pacing of the work.

There have been many settings of different versions of the psalm Jubilate Deo by composers over the years, including Josquin, Gabrieli, and others. The version I have set, based on the text of one of the Gabrieli settings, can be divided into a four-part structure, each part introduced by the line ‘Jubilate deo, omnis terra’. I sought to reinforce the sectionalised nature of the psalm with clear changes of texture and mood accompanying each section.

The five and a half minute setting makes considerable use of a ‘declamato’ style of vocal writing (where consonants are accented more than is usual), and many of the textures are based on superimposed ostinati (short repeated musical ideas). Through these techniques, I intended to impart a detached, ritualistic feel to the setting.

Latin textTranslationSetting
Jubilate Deo omnis terra,
quia sic benedicetur homo
qui timet Dominum.
O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands: for the man shall be blessed who fears the Lord.Female voices in unison with instrumental interjections;
Tutti ostinato-based texture
Jubilate Deo omnis terra.
Deus Israel conjungat vos
et ipse sit vobiscum.
Mittat vobis auxilium de sancto,
et de Sion tueatur vos.
O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands. The God of Israel, may He join you, and may He himself be with you. May He send you help from his Holy place and from Zion.Men’s voices in rhythmic unison with light accompaniment;
men’s voices over ostinato texture leading into tutti texture
Jubilate Deo omnis terra.
Benedicat vobis Dominus ex Sion,
qui fecit caelum et terram.
O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands, From Zion, may the Lord bless you, who made heaven and earth.Female voices in quiet contrapuntal texture;
Loud tutti passage in rhythmic unison for the choir
Jubilate Deo omnis terra.
Servite Domino in laetitia.
O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands, Serve ye the Lord with gladness!Choral tutti with reprise of material from first section in imitation, leading into passage in irregular metres, for tutti
(Jubilate Deo omnis terra.
Servite Domino in laetitia.)
O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands, Serve ye the Lord with gladness!Reprise of material from first section, for solo tenor/alto and bell, repeating the text of the final section