Page 138 - Voice for Life Songbook 1
P. 138

                                28. A prayer of St Richard of Chichester
Track 28
St Richard (1197–1253) was the Bishop of Chichester for eight years. Richard was elected Bishop by the canons of Chichester when the previous Bishop died in 1244, but King Henry III refused to recognise him as Bishop. For several years, Richard was entirely dependent on the charity and hospitality of the people and clergy, who defied the King. At last in 1247 the King relented.
St Richard is often represented with a chalice at his feet.This is because it is said that once when he was celebrating Mass he dropped the chalice, but miraculously no wine was spilt.
The text of this piece is a prayer which St Richard is thought to have said on his deathbed.
Introduce your singers to the descending sevenths which appear in this song by using the interval in a sequence as a warm-up exercise.
First of all ask your singers to try and connect the sound between the notes of the falling seventh by sliding between the notes on the ‘ya’ sound. When they can do this while keeping the tone even and connected across the interval, omit the slide (they can still ‘imagine’ it is there).You can then add in the words to this exercise.
Teaching the song
Begin with the melody of verse one. Ensure your singers keep the gradual crescendo going from bar 14 right up to bar 17, aiming for the word ‘dear’ as the high point of that phrase. Be careful that your singers don’t try and rush the last phrase – after the crotchet movement in the previous phrases some of these final notes will feel very long by comparison (especially the four beats notes on ‘follow’ and ‘thee’).
You can then go on to teach the harmony part. In bars 49–50 make sure your singers realize that the top part should be singing the same note in both bars here!
Using the voice well
To sustain the legato lines in this piece, decide with your singers where the climax falls in each phrase and where they should breathe (younger singers may need to stagger their breathing if the long lines prove difficult for them). It will be much easier for them to produce a beautiful cantabile line if there is a sense of momentum within each phrase towards a particular point.This will also help communicate the text with emotion.
    
Ya ya Ya ya More dear  ly, more near
 
 ly,
Ya ya more clear
Ya ya
 ly, I'll fol  low.

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