Descants should 'enhance the meaning of the words and intensify the sung prayer of the worshipper.' So writes the editor of this collection in his excellent preface to a significant new collection of 102 descants for hymns. The quality of printing is superb in both editions - and the melody edition is particularly clear with a helpful, good size of print for music and words. . . . This volume contains some of the best descants bound together under one cover . . .
Many of the descants here are printed both in the original key and at a lower pitch. This matches settings in different hymn books, provides a more comfortable range for some singers, and helps the organist who is reluctant to transpose . . . This is an excellent collection which should find a
significant place among those choirs which value and enjoy being part of the descant tradition in hymnody. * Gordon Appleton, Church Music Quarterly Sunday by Sunday, March 13 * The collection is beautifully produced, with clear indexes and an informative preface by the editor, Julian Elloway . . . OUP is to be congratulated on producing this definitive and practical resource which should be in the hands of every director of music who uses and loves hymns. Singers in schools, churches and choral societies will find that the descants and arrangements will enhance their enjoyment and appreciation of Christian song. * Ian Sharp, Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland * A good descant, sung well by a choir or small group of upper voices, or played by an instrument, can give a wonderful lift to many kinds of congregational song, as long as the accompanist plays matching harmonies beneath. A recent publication from OUP, The Oxford Book of Descants provides complementary melodies and organ accompaniments to enliven the last verse of a wide variety of hymns, carols and songs . . . Julian Elloway's introduction includes some
interesting historical background on the practice of singing descants as well as practical advice. The editorial process reflected his firm belief that 'descants should be chosen to enhance the worship of the congregation rather than just to give the choir some extra fun'. * Anne Harrison, Praxis News and Worship, Autumn 2012 * Julian Elloway is to be congratulated on producing this highly practical selection . . . It should be warmly welcomed by all choirs and church musicians seeking to enhance hymn singing. I shall certainly enjoy using them at my church, and heartily recommend this new collection to all organists and choirmasters.show more