Choral and Vocal Works

Spring Bursts Today

“Easter [at Harvard Memorial Church] began with an hour-long prelude organ recital, performed to a packed congregation by Associate Organist and Choirmaster Christian Lane, who showcased the myriad sounds and colors of the new instrument. The service proper began with the world premiere of Alfred Fedak’s setting of Christina Rossetti’s Easter Carol – commissioned for this service. Fedak’s energetic setting for choir and organ beautifully captured the poem’s imagery of rebirth and rejuvenation – apt metaphors for a new ministerial and musical beginning in this church.” – Edward E. Jones, The Sounding Board, Fall 2012 

“After a fine performance of the ‘Final’ from Symphony No. 1 of Louis Vierne, [Edward] Jones and the choir got the opportunity to show their stuff in the world premier of Spring Bursts Today, composed for the occasion by Alfred V. Fedak, a well-known composer of sacred music. The choir sang the piece, which beautifully combines the colors of the organ with the singers, with unusual power and was a delight to hear.”-– The Boston Musical Intelligencer, April 12, 2012 (reviewing the inaugural performance of the new C. B. Fisk organ at Harvard Memorial Church, Harvard University, Easter Sunday, 2012)

The Falconer

“Lyrical lines for the choir with images of Christ as the falconer and our song soaring up as the falcon make this a favorite for choirs. Moderately easy and a good pick for small and large choirs.” -Noel Werner, New Jersey Chapter ACDA www.njacda.com

Parting Blessing

A Parting Blessing is a benediction with an original text in a pandiatonic setting. Given that Fedak composed both words and music, the pairing is accordingly congruous with some rhetorical gestures that border on eloquent. The music is comfort food, not challenging ears or sensibilities, which is appropriate for such a soothing text. As with any white-note music, the added chord tones present some tuning and pitch accuracy issues, but the linear part writing mitigates many of these challenges.” – AAM Journal, May, 2013

When Love Is Found

“Glorious! This piece continues to be my favorite to sing at weddings. The text, by Brian Wren, is gorgeously set to music that fits the words and meaning. The lines soar and swell, with piano accompaniment that is simple yet glistening. Though not ‘easy’ to sing properly, the musical lines lie so well that they can actually carry the voice. I have heard other pieces by this composer and would recommend them as well. A singer’s friend!” –Kathryn Grace, The MusicRoom, September 30, 2014

Clap Your Hands

“Alfred V. Fedak is very well-known in the liturgical world and serves Westminster Presbyterian Church, Albany, New York. He gives us a modern paraphrase of the great Psalm 47 in a joyous setting appropriate for Ascension, or any occasion which calls for a festive psalm of praise. The text is a paraphrase by Michael Morgan. With the choral parts fairly simple and direct, and a colorful and challenging organ accompaniment, this is an anthem that choirs of almost any size will enjoy and perform. There are several key changes that fit well so the choir will not have too much difficulty finding their pitch! This is a good ‘challenge’ piece for any season.” – Creator, September, 2011

From All That Dwell Below the Skies

“This is Isaac Watts’ s paraphrase of Psalm 117 set to the early-American hymn tune ‘Schenectady; —and a welcome relief from ‘Old 100th.’ It is a bright, ebullient festival setting that pits the brass against the voices and will make a stunning festival piece.”          – The American Organist, March 2011

The Lord Is My Shepherd

“This is a movement reprinted from Fedak’s For Us the Living: A Requiem, reviewed in these pages in January 2008. I’m relieved to find that my appreciation for the piece back then remains intact; it is very nicely set, particularly the central section, ‘Though I walk…,’ in which a veritable firestorm of accompanimental chromaticism besets the singers, evaporating as quickly as it began, as the text reaches ‘You spread a table….’”        – AAM Journal, Jan. 2011

“Fedak has composed a beautiful setting of the 23rdPsalm. With no repetition of the text, each section portrays the meaning of the words in music that is modern in concept and ‘congregation-friendly’ in sensitivity.” – The American Organist, April, 2011

“Psalm 23, well-known to every church musician, is set in English. The simplicity of the opening lines allows the text to speak clearly. The drama comes in the middle section (‘the shadow of death’), reaching its climax at ‘your rod and your staff, they comfort me’ through intense chromaticism.” – Stephen Young, The Choral Journal, June/July 2009 

Valediction

Valediction is a movement from Fedak’s larger work For Us the Living:  A Requiem. The text is from the Wisdom of Solomon: “The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God.” The Dies irae-type drama of Stanford’s setting is notably missing here; the emphasis is on the souls’ rest in peace. The second half or the anthem is a lively response using a verse from Tobit. The accompaniment, based on figuration foreshadowed in the first part, dances around the choral parts in stately quarter/half note motion. A lengthy organ coda rounds out the piece, providing a dénouement ending piano. In general, the organ part is idiomatic and interesting, although a few gestures (and a low B-flat) are outside the parameters of typical organ writing. The choral parts are not particularly challenging, nor do they require large forces despite a few moments of divisi.” – AAM Journal, May, 2013

Requiem: For Us the Living

“Alfred V. Fedak, a composer of numerous hymn tunes and octavos, has produced his first major work in For Us the Living. This requiem, commissioned by Clifford Lamere in memory of his parents, combines traditional elements found in the musical settings of Fauré and Rutter, as well as new textual ideas found in Eastern Orthodox rituals and in passages from the Apocrypha. Though composed as a concert work, the piece possesses a great deal of liturgical value and could conceivably be used in a worship setting. Each movement of the work reveals the composer’s ability to create beautiful melodies (some based in plainsong), rich harmonies, colorful orchestral effects, innovative counterpoint, and intense emotion with his chosen texts. The opening Sentence, sung in English, introduces melodic material that will recur during the final measures of the Valediction, bringing the work full circle as a representation of a life cycle. The lyrical Introit leads into a Kyrie Eleison that clearly draws it inspiration from Gregorian chant; both of these movements rely on the traditional Latin texts. In the next movement, Psalm 23, well-known to every church musician, is set in English. The simplicity of the opening lines allows the text to speak clearly. The drama comes in the middle section (‘the shadow of death’), reaching its climax at ‘your rod and your staff, they comfort me’ through intense chromaticism. Written in triple meter, the percussive Sanctus introduces a new energy in the middle of the work. By contrast, the Benedictus resumes the beautiful lyricism of earlier movements. The solo aria, Pie Jesu, accompanied by harp in the orchestral version, is really more of a duet between the soprano and the solo violin. The gentleness of the melodic line recalls a lullaby, praying that the departed may sleep in peace. Fedak introduces the Agnus Dei with an eight-measure chaconne, which reinforces the sense of the text as a litany. The middle section moves to Bb Major before returning to the chaconne figure to close the work with a slight textual twist. Instead of using the traditional text of Dona nobis pacem the composer changes the text to Dona nobis requiem, underscoring the work’s real intent as stated in the title, a prayer for us, the living. Valediction, the farewell, opens with a simply beautiful four-part chorale, moves into a duet between the women and the men, and comes back to the hymn-like style to close with a gentle, serene Amen. The choral writing lies comfortably within normal ranges; Fedak knows how to write for church choirs. Occasional three-part divisi for the female and male voices occurs in nearly every movement but is counterbalanced by an abundance of unison writing. Although the rich orchestration calls for paired winds, horns, harp, strings and organ, the vocal score features an extremely accessible organ reduction for use in smaller settings. Additionally, according to the composer’s notes, movements may be performed separately. Fedak’s requiem will prove to be an extremely useful and accessible work for church, college, and community choirs. The accompanying compact disc of the first performance is well performed and serves as a useful guide to tempi, registration, and vocal color.” – Steven Young, The Choral Journal, June/July, 2009

“Alfred V. Fedak’s For Us the Living was conceived and first performed (last April) as a concert work, but it was also clearly composed with an eye on its liturgical viability. The text is drawn almost entirely from elements of the traditional Requiem (the Introit, Kyrie, Sanctus, Pie Jesu, and with a tiny caveat, the Agnus Dei). To these are added a short text from the Eastern Orthodox Kontakion for the Departed, familiar to us from the 1979 Burial Office: ‘All we go down to the dust…,’ as a first movement (connected to the following two, the Introit and Kyrie, a setting of Psalm 23, and a very nice Valediction, based on short passages from Wisdom (‘The souls of the righteous’) and Tobit. Interestingly, the successive texts are sung in various languages: English for the opening movement, Latin and Greek for the following two, English for the Psalm (close, but not identical to, the 1979 BCP translation), back to Latin for the Sanctus, Pie Jesu, and Agnus, and English for the Valediction. The Agnus Dei is tweaked in two ways: rather than the conventional Requiem form (with ‘dona eis requiem’ in place of ‘Miserere nobis’), the first two petitions end as in a regular Mass, and the third, after a bit of ‘dona eis requiem,’ closes with ‘dona nobis requiem.’ The piece is, as the title says, for us. There are occasional flashes of familiar Requiem plainsong melodies in the Kyrie and the Agnus Dei (and I may have missed other such references). The most memorable passages, for me, are the opening movement (whose very lovely substance returns in the instrumental postlude to the Valediction), the Psalm (with a striking chromatic climax for the ‘valley of the shadow of death’), and the very exciting Sanctus. Although Selah Publishing advertises the work as ‘moderately difficult,’ I would categorize it as rather easier than that; less taxing, for instance, than the Fauré Requiem, since long stretches here are in unison and the voices seldom fly without an accompanimental net. The piece weighs in at about 30 minutes, all told. I suspect the scoring is a bit rich for most budgets: paired winds, horns, harp, and strings, plus organ. The reduction in the vocal score is manageable, and a bit of sensitive registration could make it quite convincing. But don’t take my word for any of this: download or print an inspection copy of the piece at Selah’s website, where you can also listen to a recording of any or all of it (in the orchestral version). Technology is great!” – AAM Journal, January, 2008

Built on the Rock

“Alfred V. Fedak’s setting of the Scandinavian hymn Built on the Rock is a concertato of three stanzas. Some alterations have been made to the Doving translation, so it is fortunate that a congregational page is included. The choir divides into only two parts, and the two-octave handbell part is optional (but included in the choral score), making this publication accessible for those with smaller resources.” – The Hymn, October 1995

Come, Gracious Spirit

“The text is an invitation for the Spirit of God to guide our lives through an unknown and perhaps uncomfortable path toward ultimate joy and completeness. Intriguing chord progressions and mildly counterintuitive accidentals employ text painting to emphasize the point that if we but follow the difficult path, we will find fulfillment.” – The Hymn, Autumn 2005

“This moderately easy anthem for Pentecost is scored for two-part mixed choir and organ. Alfred V. Fedak is a noted organist and composer with nearly one hundred individual compositions to his credit, including anthems, mass settings, vocal solos, and organ music. He has also composed 80 hymn tunes which appear in various collections and denominational hymnals. Set to the simple and beautiful English folk-tune DANBY, the text (by Simon Browne) in this quiet and introspective anthem is given a sensitive treatment that contains largely unison and imitative writing. It is accessible to almost any church choir. Several interesting chord progressions within the largely supportive organ accompaniment serve to emphasize the excellent text painting. It is an excellent choice for small churches seeking quality music.” – Choral Journal, May 2007

God Be with Us When We Gather Here 

“Alfred V. Fedak’s God Be with Us when We Gather Here, for two-part mixed choir, keyboard and optional handbells, has a useful text by Carl P. Daw, Jr.” – Bulletin of The Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland, April, 1996

“Nearly everyone will find an occasion for which this fine piece is perfectly suited. The composer knows how to write skillfully for limited resources, as this excellent anthem demonstrates. A superb text by Carl P. Daw Jr. has been set for unison and two-part choir with handbells (12) and optional children’s choir. You can safely order this one ‘sight unseen.'” – The American Organist, December, 1996

“It is also suggested that some sections could be sung by children. The handbell use is limited and in brackets in the keyboard part. The music is light, happy, and easy with the choir often singing in canonic lines. The keyboard is on two staves.” – The Diapason, October, 1996

Into Jerusalem Jesus Rode

“Several works in this list are based on either traditional melodies or original melodies which evoke the folk genre. Alfred Fedak comes a close second with Into Jerusalem Jesus Rode, which puts Carl Daw’s atmospheric Palm Sunday text to the Dakota hymn tune LACQUIPARLE (‘Many and Great’). Fedak generally knows a good thing when he finds it, and his haunting setting is a perfect model of restraint. Don’t let the harp part scare you off…there are many ways to make this jewel gleam.” – AAM Journal, January 2001

Wordless Song within the Waters

“Alfred Fedak’s Wordless Song within the Waters is a brooding setting of Richard Leach’s ecologically sensitive hymn. It is deeply moving, but it demands a good deal from the listener, and it says things many in our culture don’t want to hear.” – AAM Journal, September 2002

Shepherd of Souls

“The text Shepherd of Souls has not had a beauty-makeover in years, and it is about time we hear it with a new melody. As with other good SAB writing, Fedak removes even a hint that there is something missing from the vocal parts. Graciously accessible, this communion anthem would grace any choral library.” – AAM Journal, December 2005

His Voice as the Sound of the Dulcimer Sweet

“Al Fedak’s lovely setting of Samanthra really does need a hammered dulcimer, which is not always readily available. A synthesizer is a possibility, where one is available. With the parts in comfortable mid-range, the choral writing is niely considered to balance with a real dulcimer, and the arrangement is no less than we would expect from this great colleague.” – AAM Journal, May/June 2001

Hosanna

“Having a Hosanna for Palm Sunday is not uncommon, but having one which invites responses from the congregation is. This setting has a congregational part which repeats after a choir statement. The three-page celebration would be a delightful introit that will jubilantly set the tone for Holy Week. The organ and brass also alternate statements so spacing all the performers throughout the church will add a festive spirit. The last stanza has a descant for the sopranos which builds to a strong ending.” – Diapason, February, 2000

“Selah has extracted this jaunty piece from a larger oratorio entitled The Glory of God’s Grace, music by Fedak, libretto by Carl P. Daw, Jr. Liturgically, it would be an ideal piece for the Palm Sunday procession, especially if your local practice does not include a procession into the sanctuary from outside the building. It may be designed to work for an outdoor procession too; I’ve not seen the full score and cannot say with certainty. It is regal, to say the least, and I bet you’ll find an appropriate place to sing it. Highly recommended (even without the brass).” – Cross Accent, Spring 2000

“A processional for Palm Sunday, this piece for optional brass quintet, SATB choir, and optional congregation is from the oratorio by Alfred Fedak and Carl Daw, The Glories of God’s Grace. It is a fairly short piece, great for a processional, and is simply constructed using quite a bit of repetition. If the congregation is invited to participate, the tune is introduced by the choir and brass before the congregation sings, giving them ample opportunity to learn by hearing it first.”  – The Hymn, January 2001

In Thee Be All Our Glory

“Al Fedak’s In Thee Be All Our Glory is, in fact, a setting of Edward Caswall’s translation of Jesu dulcis memoria (‘Jesus, the very thought of thee’) based on the plainsong tune. Anthem settings of well-known plainsong melodies are notoriously tricky, but when they work – as this one abundantly does! – they are pure gold. This is a winner!” – Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians, December 1998

L’Envoy: King of Glory, King of Peace

“This setting of a George Herbert poem is charged with energy and emotion. The music expresses the text well and evokes a sense of spirituality. The moderately difficult writing utilizes a variety of mixed meters and key centers. The choral parts, which lie in comfortable ranges, require three-part divisi in the treble voices. The ending is beautiful and serene; an optional ending is given for smaller choirs that cannot manage the divisi. The organ accompaniment needs good string and flute stops; a soft 32′ pedal will make the perfect ending.” – Choral Journal, April, 1994

“[L’Envoy] is not too difficult, although it would take great rhythmic control to give the piece the somber, forceful attitude it needs. Fedak provides an alternative ending for smaller choirs; this should be used unless you have enough sectional presence to stagger breathing through a sustained piano ending.” – Pastoral Music, August-September, 1994

L’Envoy: King of Glory, King of Peace is choir music rather than congregational music. While it is not too difficult (the organ part is independent of the voices), it is very dramatic.” – Modern Liturgy, May 1994

“Alfred Fedak used the other ‘King of glory’ text (L’Envoy at the conclusion of “The Church Militant”). A restless organ introduction sets the mood for the brooding e-minor theme of the first half of the text; a strange modulation jolts us into the drama of a fortissimo g-minor middle section, which gradually subsides to the blessing of the concluding pianissimo E-major. Fedak writes well, achieving lush effects while preserving both integrity and interest for each voice part. An optional ending is provided to avoid 8-part divisi, and I like its simplicity better. Check this one out; the text has many seasonal implications and uses.” – AAM Journal, Dec. 1994

O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High

“Using both tunes associated with this text, DEO GRACIAS and DEUS TUORUM MILITUM, Fedak has fashioned an exciting concertato which portrays both the darkness of Lent and the glory of Easter. Scored for congregation, SATB choir, brass, timpani, and organ, it starts with a rather severe, somewhat extended prelude which introduces DEO GRACIAS. The first four stanzas are sung to this tune, utilizing stanzas for both everyone and choir alone. An interlude follows which introduces DEUS TUORUM MILITUM. Stanzas five through seven, reflecting the Easter events, are sung to this tune by everyone. Quite an effective setting of this hymn.” – The Hymn, October 1993

“Alfred V. Fedak has produced an engaging ‘concertato’ arrangement of O Love, How Deep (Thomas á Kempis, trs. B. Webb) for SATB choir, congregation, organ and optional brass and timpani. After an extended introduction, vv. 1-4 are partnered by varied settings of DEO GRACIAS (Agincourt Song): then an instrumental interlude leads into DEUS TUORUM MILITUM at ‘For us he rose from death again.’ The congregational part, separately printed on the back page, may be photocopied, provided that sufficient copies have been purchased for the choir.” – Bulletin of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland, July, 1994

“…there is Alfred Fedak’s equally definitive festival setting of O Love, How Deep, How Broad, etc. It sounds hokey, but he uses both DEO GRACIAS (stanzas 1-4) and DEUS TUORUM MILITUM (stanzas 5-7) with really stunning results. Fedak’s restraint is telling and his pacing is so exquisite that by the simple substitution of a V7 of IV chord (for the colorful major III chord we expect five measures from the end), the piece’s climax is made from the inside out, as opposed to the imposition of increased volume and slower tempo only.” – AAM Journal, February 1995

Peter’s Denial

“Either Palm Sunday or Good Friday would be a suitable occasion for Alfred Fedak’s Peter’s Denial. This strophic setting of a poem by Richard Leach is quite easy; half of it in unison (twice through a mostly-stepwise melody), a third stanza more a2 with octave doublings, and the final page a four-part guise of the same tune. The grounding tune reminds me of old American folk melodies, though we are spared pseudo-Sacred Harp treatment of it here. As a reflection on Peter’s Passiontide denial of his Master, and he might have said instead, the piece has something good to say, and it is well within the reach of small or even tiny forces.” – AAM Journal, December 2007

Psalm 42: As Pants the Deer

“This is a haunting little piece. The text is a paraphrase of Psalm 42, with interesting interpolations that expand and intensify the message of the verses chosen; in addition, the author has added a refrain to each verse. A Dorian melody is the musical foundation of each verse and refrain, and the composer has created contrast by varying the voicing and harmonization of these verses, and introducing variety into the organ interludes between the verses. This is not difficult music; the organ part is rather spare, and the text is set homophonically with much unison and two- and three-part harmonizations for the choir. Ranges are somewhat limited, and the rhythms align with the textual accentuation, thanks to some rarely used time signatures. The result is a beautiful, simple anthem that is highly recommended to church choirs of varying abilities.” – Choral Journal, February, 2001

“I commend Fedak for musically attending to dual aspects of this Psalm–the first characterized by thirsting and lamenting, the other by anticipation that the orant will soon be able to lift up the mighty praise due a faithful God and Savior (hence the thundering conclusion). With each successive stanza, brooking gives way to hopeful urgency. The modal tune resembles ERCHIENEN IST DER HERRLICH TAG. The text is a metrical paraphrase by Ruth Duck. Recommended for Lent or the Easter Vigil. Medium difficulty. Recommended.” – Cross Accent, Fall 2001

“Fedak’s Psalm 42: As Pants the Deer falls into the category of original hymn anthems which evoke the folk tradition. His new tune rings changes on the Tallis THE THIRD TUNE (‘I heard the voice of Jesus say’) in the best possible ways. Two minor points need to be noted, however. There is apparently a missing ‘S.A., unison’ instruction in measure 13, and the big ending (Exuberantly…Quasi toccata) will not suit everyone.” – AAM Journal, January 2001

A Song of Paul

“Alfred Fedak has made a very agreeable arrangement of a gorgeous Scottish melody A ROSEBUD. The paraphrase of I Corinthians 13 by John L. Bell is quite good, though the text and melody do step on each other’s toes in a few awkward moments. Even so, the melody is so very lovely and the music so well-arranged, that one can overlook those few lapses.” – Cross Accent, December 1996

This Is the Hour of Banquet and of Song

“Among the several criteria one employs to assess new (and old) hymns is how well a hymn text and tune are wedded together. Horatio Bonar’s communion text has had many tuneful suitors, but in Fedak’s anthem the text has found its melodic ‘soul mate.’ Though a hymn anthem, each stanza has subtle variations in both the choral and organ parts that make it more anthem than hymn. Highly recommended.” – Cross Accent, Fall 2001

“Here is an easy communion anthem that is strophic, tonal, and appropriate for the small church choir. Horatio Bonar’s nineteenth-century text is classic and hopeful, describing the bread and wine in personal terms, the presence of God in ecumenical words, and the future with excitement. Like the poetry, the music is straightforward, a key-of-C selection that can be learned in fifteen minutes before the service, but it is not trivial. The pleasant tune covers slightly more than an octave and gains its interest through word painting (‘prolong’ sustained; ‘rise’ topping an arpeggio; ‘brief’ shortened by a rest) and a touch of hemiola in its joyful waltzing. This music is perfect for the Lord’s supper, or for a service when key singers are missing, but the choir still needs good material.” – Choral Journal, April 2001

“This communion anthem can be used anytime during the year and would be especially useful for those who keep their choirs singing during the summer months and want a beautiful and relatively simple anthem to learn.” – Beliefnet.com, May, 2000

Thy Matchless Love 

“Alfred Fedak’s Thy Matchless Love is also a very fine piece, setting John Brownlie’s familiar text to a vintage Fedak original tune. For the benefit of those who do not yet know what ‘vintage Fedak’ is, the best definition I can give is the most honest: ‘vintage Fedak’ is a wonderfully singable tune that always makes me say, ‘Gosh! I wish I’d written that!'” – AAM Journal, December 2001

Triune God, Mysterious Being

”Triune God, Mysterious Being’ perfectly unites Carl Daw’s evocative text with Alfred Fedak’s inward turning tune CHURCH UNITED. Like the Nicene Symbol, Carl approaches the Holy Trinity with imaginative metaphor that needs time for the rich phrases to be digested:
Christ our Savior, Sovereign, Shepherd;
Word made flesh, Love crucified,
teacher, healer, suffering servant,
friend of sinners, foe of pride.
Not only does Fedak’s tune allow room, but Fedak’s arrangement also knows when to keep the texture simple. The sophistication of this fine piece could easily be overlooked by performers, but given a sensitive reading, it could hardly be overlooked by the congregation fortunate enough to receive it.” – AAM Journal, March 2002

“Selah continues to promote contemporary hymnody and anthems based on it. These by William Rowan and Alfred Fedak are welcome examples of how to encourage congregations to learn new hymns by including them in anthems based on those hymns. Triune God, Mysterious Being is Fedak’s setting of his own tune CHURCH UNITED to Carl Daw’s wonderful text. The union is ideal: Daw’s vibrant Trinitarian imagery and its theology of dynamic interplay with the mission of the Church is perfectly mirrored in Fedak’s gently urgent tune. The Threefold Truth is Rowan’s splendid contribution to F. Pratt Green’s powerful text which has the familiar memorial acclamation (‘Christ has died! Christ is risen! Christ will come again!’) as its refrain. As an anthem, I like Rowan’s better, but as a hymn-tool, Fedak’s is more practical. Either way, they are magnificent unions of text, tune, theology, and art; buying the choir copies gives permission to reprint the congregational part in the service sheet, which is a great way to promote many good ends!” – AAM Journal, April 1995

“A gentle 6/8 meter moves this unusual but catchy setting of Fedak’s hymn tune CHURCH UNITED, which can be sung for either Pentecost or Trinity Sundays. Only one of the four stanzas is at all tricky, and the anthem ends with choir/congregation in unison except for a soprano descant. Carl Daw’s poetry, as usual, provides strong, fresh images.” – Worship Arts, Jan/Feb 2006

When God’s Time Had Ripened 

“The piece has an absolutely beautiful tune (Fedak’s ROSE OF BETHLEHEM, composed in 1990), and imaginative, ingratiating choral part-writing, reminiscent of Rutter at his very best (and including a bass part which is occasionally independent rather than slavishly doubling the organ pedals!). The accompaniment is easy yet interesting. Not the least part of the beauty of the piece is the wonderful text by Carl P. Daw, to whom it is also dedicated. In general it is easy but of substance, and gives a feeling of quiet rapture and ecstasy, somewhat like Rutter’s WHAT SWEETER MUSIC. It reminds one of the best of the pop composers, such as Bernstein or Sondheim. I cannot recommend the piece highly enough. It’s one of those pieces a choir and congregation instantly love–a sure winner!” – Journal of The Association of Anglican Musicians, Jan./Feb., 1993

“An original carol with poetic beauty and theological challenge is linked to a lyrical original melody written in the style of the lovely carol settings by John Rutter and Andrew Carter. This arrangement uses direct canon, simple four-part harmony, and a solo soprano in a manner accessible to many youth choirs, yet also interesting for adults. A wonderful new carol for churches in any denomination. Daw’s text is pithy and interesting, but it is Fedak’s music that will make this a new favorite of many congregations.” – Creator, Sept./Oct., 1993

“Equally notable is When God’s Time Had Ripened by Alfred Fedak, where verses are given to solo baritone, solo soprano, and SATB choir with organ: rather similar in style to the carols of John Rutter, but very well put together, and the writing is rich, expressive and immediately attractive.” – Church Music Quarterly (Journal of the Royal School of Church Music), Oct., 1992

As the Lyre to the Singer

“Indian Christian Narayan Vaman Tilak’s hymn of the believer’s union with Christ is given warm and graceful musical expression in this anthem by Alfred V. Fedak. Each of the three stanzas contains a series of metaphors for closeness, ‘as the meal is to the hungry, as the water in the well, as the lover is beloved, in the love of Christ I dwell.’ The musical device Fedak uses to highlight each metaphor is an opening ascending interval, either a sixth or an octave, which usually then descends over the rest of the phrase. The preponderance of images of nature, music and relationships, the slow tempo and the gentle motion of the music make this a good selection for a spring Sunday.” – Worship Arts, March-April, 2010

Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor

“A stirring setting of BRYN CALFARIA (‘Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor’), this piece is particularly effective in its (unexpected) softer passages. Suitable for a larger ensemble which can handle some phrases for the men in three parts. Moderately difficult.” – Worship Arts, July/August, 2010

Christus Paradox: Choral Variations on “Picardy”

“You, Lord, are both Lamb and Shepherd” are the first words of the text by Sylvia Dunstan; they give a flavor of the kind of paradoxes explored in the rest of the text. The musical arrangement is quite suitable for the average choir. A fully orchestrated version of this setting by John Ferguson is also available from GIA. – Pastoral Music, December/January, 2003

God, Who Built This Wondrous Planet

God, Who Built This Wondrous Planet is an original setting of Jaroslav Vajda’s text for SATB choir, congregation, organ, and optional handbells. His tune is very appealing, and the arrangement is full of enthusiasm throughout. Stanzas one and four are in unison, two and three in four-part harmony, with handbells playing mostly between stanzas until the fourth, where they and a soprano descant bring the music to a grand climax. Keep this one in mind for a special occasion!”  – The Hymn, April, 1998

Praises

Praises, commissioned by the [Burnt Hills, NY] Oratorio Society, was first performed by the chorus in 1994. Fedak, an area organist and composer, is the Oratorio Society’s accompanist. The concert opened impressively with his work, a piece with many striking vocal moments and effective orchestral writing.”  – Daily Gazette, 12/7/97

The Web of Life 

“Fedak, the [Burnt Hills] Oratorio Society’s accompanist, is organist/music director at Westminster Presbyterian Church and organist/ choir director at Temple Beth Emeth, both in Albany. The premiere demonstrated that he writes beautifully for voices and very interestingly for instruments. Accompaniment was by organ and a small orchestra. His Web of Life incorporates hymn tunes, chants and chorales and includes texts from a wide variety of sources including the Old Testament, Navaho and Ute prayers, Sanskrit and the writings of individuals such as Catherine Cameron, Chief Seattle and Judy Chicago. The cantata’s eight movements are interspersed with readings, which were spoken by the four outstanding vocal soloists of the evening: soprano Gene Marie Callahan, mezzo-soprano Susan Hermance Fedak, tenor Timothy Cloeter and baritone William Florescu. “The work’s Prologue is chant-like and percussive in the beginning and modal sounding later on. The opening section featured a striking entrance by Callahan and very gorgeous singing by the chorus. The first song, Unnamable God, is a dramatic choral section that includes a lovely baritone solo. Florescu delivered it very nicely. Susan Fedak sang beautifully in the second song, Teach your children, which also includes poignant passages for the chorus and percussion instruments. God who stretched the spangled heavens is a powerful section in which Callahan and Florescu were again impressive. They also came through with flying colors in We have forgotten who we are, a haunting song with a simple, repeated choral background. The Navaho-inspired House made of dawn, is a lengthy, mystical sounding piece for chorus, with lovely writing for the solo quartet. Also effective was the prayer-like Earth teach me stillness, a song for tenor – sung with confidence by Cloeter – with answering passages by the chorus. The performance ended impressively with the syncopated and upbeat And then all that has divided us will merge. The work was commissioned by the Oratorio Society to commemorate the group’s 30th anniversary.” – Daily Gazette, November 20, 2000

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