This lovely arrangement of the popular American folk song, for SSAA upper voices by Michael Higgins, perfectly captures the sense of loss and longing in the words. The music flows through a range of textures and harmonies, gently relaxing for a quietly evocative close.
This beautifully written setting for unaccompanied 3-part upper voices (SSA) of the famous World War I poem by John McCrae is poignant and atmospheric, with approachable contemporary harmony, creating an emotional impact.
With a text by Eugene Field, Higgins’ charming melodies gently rock in compound time and start off in unison before growing into a simple two-part texture. The voices are supported by a busy piano part that mimic the glimmer of the star. This accessible, lively setting is also suitable for SA.
“Michael Higgins evokes the star with a busy, glittering piano part. Voices sing an easily learnt melody in unison and optionally two-part harmony and as a canon. The text, by the 19th-century American ‘poet of childhood’ Eugene Field, may seem a bit twee nowadays, but the piece could work well in a school Christmas concert.”
James L. Montgomery, Sunday by Sunday (RSCM), September 2022
Higgins’ setting of this popular folk song is simple and wistful, particularly well-suited for children’s and youth choirs. With delicate quaver flourishes, the piano accompaniment flows gently alongside the vocal lines, creating suspensions that reflect the mysterious demands of the narrator. Originally published in The Oxford Book of Flexible Choral Songs ed. Bullard for three-part choir.
From the collection As you sing ed. Ferris and Tomlinson ‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers is a warmly uplifting secular concert work by Michael Higgins, setting the well-known poem by Emily Dickinson.
Higgins’s arrangement of Away in a manger is beautiful and delicate. The first verse is taken by unison upper voices; the second is a cappella, with an optional soloist or small group and sustained ‘ooh’s; and the last verse features fresh, homophonic harmonies. The accompaniment twinkles gently around the voices, contributing towards the magical character of the arrangement.
“I was immediately touched by the exceptionally fine and tender setting of Away in a manger by Michael Higgins. The lilting piano or harp part floats over arpeggio figures with occasional touches of a gently placed seventh and ends with a haunting two-octave unison. […] This beautifully crafted piece would work so well with young singers as well as adult choirs.”
Michael Higgins’s gentle setting of the traditional Gaelic Blessing has a memorable melody, a flowing piano part, and a beautiful, soaring soprano descant in the second verse. Written for the National Children’s Choir of Great Britain, the piece would be particularly suitable for children’s choirs.
“Demand for settings of the ‘Gaelic Blessing’ shows no sign of abating this ‘new’ one . . . has its own musical language that is easy on the ear, with a warm romanticism and an idiomatic piano part that contains much of the interest. There is variety in the choral textures, and I’m sure that young singers would enjoy it.”
James L. Montgomery, Sunday by Sunday (RSCM), December 2020