SATB and Organ. The very definition of "Old Warhorse," Vaughan Williams' original version is for SSATTB with either orchestra, organ and large brass ensemble, or organ alone. Here is our ARRANGEMENT with MUCH less vocal divisi and includes parts for brass quintet as well. Make no mistake, this is still a BIG piece for a competent choir. The organ part has not been changed. The brass parts (score and parts to be found in the EXTRAS file) are meant to be played WITH the organ part (with the exception of the opening trumpet fanfare). The brass parts will also work with your 1920 Stainer & Bell edition. A GREAT anthem!
O Clap Your Hands is a setting of Psalm 47. The piece is typical of Vaughan Williams' ceremonial works for the church. The joyous mood of the text is capitalized upon in a setting of extroverted jubilation. The brass and organ parts work fanfare-like counterpoints around the vocal lines. After reaching an anticipated climax on "Sing praises unto our King," the music reaches a moment of quiet introspection. Here the vocal lines take on an almost speech-like quality that seems to pay homage to the tradition of Anglican chant. The moment, however, is quickly interrupted by the brass, and the energy of the music returns to the same joyous mood as the opening. This is a piece clearly designed to fill the church with a grand noise in praise of God.
O clap your hands, all ye people;
shout unto God with the voice of triumph.
For the Lord most high is terrible.
He is a great King over all the earth.
God is gone up with a shout,
the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God; sing praises.
Sing praises to our King; sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth.
Sing ye praises with understanding.
God reigneth over the heathen.
God sitteth upon the throne of His holiness.
Sing praises unto our King. Sing praises.