Musical Contribution – December 2022
Good night (A Manger Lullaby) Mark Brandwijk (1994)
We have invited a young and talented musician for the final month of the year. Mark has already more than earned his stripes. We’re delighted to have Mark give his own explanation of the Musical Contribution:
In this arrangement, we step together into the stable at Bethlehem. We see a child lying wrapped in swaddling clothes. Father Joseph and mother Mary are sitting around him. The scene exudes a sense of calm and peace. Such a child, sleeping just like any other child. And yet there’s a huge difference: this Child is sleeping in a crib, in a stall, as there was no room for Him. ‘The Saviour became so poor, for you and for me!’
This arrangement combines two themes that ‘fit’ almost seamlessly together in terms of time signature and phrasing. The constant five-quaver movement in the right hand forms a subtle counter rhythm and already discretely announces the second theme. After several bars of introduction, the pedalboard introduces the first real theme: the melody Hanover by William Croft, known in Dutch as 'In Bethlehems stal', on a text by Jan de Liefde.
There’s a brief pause when the third line of this song is performed. This was written on purpose so you can take your time here. The final line picks up the movement from the beginning again.
And then it’s time for the second theme. The left hand plays the second theme here due to the continuous movement in the right. This is the melody from Wiegenlied op.49 no.4 by Johannes Brahms: ‘Guten Abend, Gute Nacht (…) schlaf nun selig und süss’. The ‘In Bethlehems stal’ melody also returns at the same time.
Once the two themes have been played, a final chorale follows, in which the first theme is played again, this time canonically.
In the sections where the melody is played by the pedal board, this part should also “take the lead” in timbre as well as phrasing. Make sure the balance is good!
Keep the articulation in the right hand constant even if the other voice parts (left hand and pedalboard) go in a different rhythmic direction.
The combination of the different themes does add complexity to the arrangement here and there. Try to use the registers to keep the sound transparent.
I hope you enjoy playing this new arrangement.
Wishing you a blessed Christmas