UPDATED: I know this is terribly out of season, but for some reason I was prompted to revisit this arrangement. In doing so, and after a change in the software I use to arrange and compose, I found several grevious errors in the notation, things that were at best unclear and occasionally just plain unpleasant. I am more comfortable with this version, which is not to say that it is finished. So if someone decides to celebrate Christmas in June, please have a listen and let me know what you think.
Far, Far Away on Judea's Plains is one of my favorite Christmas hymns. The interesting thing about this hymn though is it is not necessarily about Christmas. Other than the setting provided by the title and the first line there isn't really anything in this hymn to tie it to Christ's birth. In fact, if you examine the lyrics for all verses closely, you'll see that this hymn is all about singing praises and glory to God, which can apply in any Gospel setting. The closing refrain: "peace on earth, good will to men" is also applicable at any time of year. And that's why I love it.
I've been tempted to sing this in a stake or ward choir setting in the middle of the year just to get a reaction. Anyway, with this in mind, I wanted to come up with an arrangement that emphasized the fact that this is simply about our desire to sing praises to God, and there's a Hosanna Shout thrown in there for good measure.
One note about the recording, the software I use offers an organ sample with one dynamic setting: loud. So the transition into "Peace, Peace, Peace,..." at the end is intended to a much more dramatic dynamic shift.
If you look at this music, please provide feedback. I would love to hear what you think. Enjoy.
Written for SSAATTBB choir with organ accompaniment.