Robert Edward Smith (b. 1946) has written music for vocal and instrumental ensembles of all sizes ranging from unaccompanied viola to symphony orchestra. He has been Composer in Residence at Trinity College Chapel in Hartford, Connecticut since 1979, and taught harpsichord and continuo realization at the Hartt School, University of Hartford from 1992 to the present. In 2002-2003 he served as Composer in Residence, St. John’s Memorial Chapel at Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
These pieces, taken from his collection, "Hymn Preludes for the Christmas Season", which was published by World Library Publications in 1998, are certainly no exception. My performances follow the composer's registrations "in spirit," but I have used a more "sophisticated" approach in sections.
"Patapan" (or "Pat-a-pan") is a French Christmas carol in Burgundian dialect, later adapted into English. It was written by Bernard de La Monnoye (1641–1728) and first published in Noël bourguignons in 1720. Its original title is "Guillô, Pran Ton Tamborin" ("Willie, Bring Your Little Drum" or "Willie, Take Your Little Drum").
The carol revolves around the birth of Jesus Christ, and is told from the perspective of shepherds playing simple instruments—flutes and drums—the onomatopoetic sound of which gives the song its name; "patapan" is meant to mimic the sound of the drum, and an accompanying lyric, "tu-re-lu-re-lu," the flute.
The Salisbury reeds are very successful at producing the required effects, particularly the Swell Vox Humana (no trem) and the Solo Cor Anglais.
A photo of Robert Edward Smith is attached below.
This is the first of my "Christmas uploads". I'll be doing at least one a day through the Epiphany on January 6th. A great variety, including several large-scale English carol-fantasies will be included.
I wish ALL the blessings of the season!