#2 Ecclesiastes (Knowledge)
from Songs of the Sages
by Hampson A. Sisler
4X4 Choral Music Series
Two-part (Men/Women) or SATB Chorus, Narrator, Organ
Full Orchestra accompaniment version available
Review from The Diapason, September, 1999
The Songs of the Sages have everything going for them. The first two are based on words from the Bible, "Hers are the ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace," and "Behold, the works of God, yet think not toward the knowing of them all," and the third, "Virtue is a pinnacle for living," from the Wisdom of Solomon in the Apocrypha. The texts, of course, are useful for any congregation, religious or secular. Two choral parts are provided: one for two-part women and men’s chorus and another for four-part mixed choir. Each anthem includes cuts so that it can be performed in a minute and a half less than the full-length version. The accompaniments are not difficult and being written with a signature without sharps or flats, the accidentals are read easily as they are encountered without having to remember what is or is not altered. The accompaniments incidentally, are also a fine source of study for would-be composers: they skillfully underlay the voice parts, helping them with their pitches, are almost sparsely written with no unnecessary notes to clutter up the texture, cover the whole keyboard, and though written on two staves, keep the would-be Pedal part distinct from the rest of the left hand so it is immediately discernible.
Dr. Sisler…has combined a vital rhythmic drive with comfortable part-writing within the vocal range of the average choir in an original harmonic style that is advanced enough for the musically sophisticated and yet can be appreciated by those who are not.
Review by Rollin Smith