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.
His musical has an appeal to it. While some might call his work "simple," "The American Organist" magazine said: "“Robert Edward Smith has a sense of melody in about any style you can name. This irresistible music can begin to fill the need in liturgical churches everywhere. It is always musical, even at its most utilitarian moments.”
These pieces, taken from his collection, "Hymn Preludes for the Christmas Season", which was published by World Libaray 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.
"Away in a manger" sets and combines the two most popular melodies for the carol, "Away in a manger". The tunes are by William J. Kirkpatrick (1838-1921), and by James Ramsey Murray (1887). The Kirkpatrick tune is the most popular in the UK, while the Murray gets the nod in the US.
This unpretentious setting is simple and effective, and the flute stops are the prominent sounds heard in this performance.
A photo of Robert Edward Smith is attached below.
TOMORROW - "Scherzo on 'In dulci jubilo'" - T. Frederick H. Cadlyn