The Song of Solomon, chapter 4, Revised Standard Version, Catholic edition (E)
Choral level of difficulty: 1 (5 greatest)
This is another imaginative offering from MacMillan who wrote it for the wedding of his son Aidan to his Albanian wife, Kleida. This anthem sets words from the Song of Solomon and was intended for the Offertory in the marriage service. It is scored for SSAATBB with soprano solo. The repeated note opening (Behold, you are beautiful, my love) emphasizes the singular, steadfast love of the couple and this goes on over the simple chordal choral entry. Eventually, the spell has to break, and passion asserts itself, winding down to those opening repeated notes being taken over by the basses in octaves (thus, the man and the woman have the ‘steadfast’ repeated notes). The soprano soloist takes them back, hands them to the tutti sopranos, and the piece winds its way to another of MacMillan’s magical endings (he is so good at endings).
An essentially simple piece which has a programming existence far beyond the wedding ceremony and will suit choirs of even fairly modest attainment.
Repertoire Note by Paul Spicer