Garth Baxter is noted as a modern traditionalist composer. This is a style that combines the traditions of form and clear melodic writing with the use of contemporary approaches to harmonies and other elements. He has composed works for various performance mediums, ranging from intimate solo and small group settings to larger ensembles such as orchestra and concert band. His compositions have been performed around the world.

Choral Works

* Click a song title to view (or hide) a description.

A Virgin Most Pure (This is the birthday of Jesus, our king)

4-5 minutes Intermediate Alymar $8*

SATB and piano

Words are from various sources in public domain.

The form is a large ABA with both the A and the B sections being small aba forms themselves. The moods vary quite a bit in this song from the sweet opening theme to the jazzy main B theme. This has been a hit when performed. Several comments have been that the return to the A theme at the end brings chills to the listener. This piece is at the intermediate level. There is some chromaticism in parts, and even though many sections are sung in unison and with support from the piano, it still would be a challenge to school and church choirs with untrained, inexperienced singers. Available from Alymar.

And Death Shall Have No Dominion

7 minutes, Intermediate.

Children's Choir, Adult Choir, organ, piano, trumpet, tympani, tom-toms.

This powerful text by Dylan Thomas is a forceful declaration of the promise of everlasting life. At times romantic, but always vivid in description, the words are presented in such a way that they speak to people of all faiths. There are two main melodic ideas. The most prominent one is repeated each time the title words return. The piece is very moving and concludes powerfully. It is very moving for both the audience as well as the performers.

This work was commissioned by McDaniel College and the Children's Choir of Carroll County.

The Battle Cry (A Tragedy)

15 minutes, Difficulty varies.


A cantata consisting of six short songs for chorus with piano accompaniment (two pieces are a cappella).

Words by Thomas Hardy. Hardy's poems were written about the Boar War and World War I but the sentiments can be applied to any war past or present.

  1. My Love's Gone A-Fightin' Youtube

    3 minutes, Easy voice, intermediate piano. SA, piano. A folk-like song follows a dramatic piano introduction. This sweet, naive song is in an A-B-A format. The words depict a young woman whose lover has gone off to fight in a war.

  2. The Battle' Youtube

    Two and a half minutes, Intermediate. A dramatic song for SATB and piano about the horrors of war. There is a long piano introduction that sets the mood for the martial first theme. The form is intro, ABA'CA''D coda based on the introduction. The intended feeling is one of marching into battle; the horrific battle; and then marching away from the battle.

  3. The Man He Killed Youtube

    One and a half minutes, Easy. A solo for baritone or tenor and piano. A simple song about a soldier who has killed his "enemy". The words suggest the realization that his foe was most likely just like him, had enlisted because he had lost his job, and in another situation they might have been friends and shared a drink at a pub.

  4. Drummer HodgeYoutube

    Two and a half minutes, Intermediate. SATB a cappella with a short solo for soprano. A poem written by Hardy that was inspired by a real event. A local boy went down to South Africa during the Boer War as a drummer boy for the British troops and was killed. The song really speaks of those innocent people who are killed in war.

  5. A Wife in London Youtube

    3 minutes, Intermediate to upper intermediate for high voice (sop. or tenor) and piano. This is a heartbreaking song of a young bride who first receives a letter stating that her husband has been killed in battle and then the next day she receives a letter from her husband stating how much he looks forward to coming home to be with her. There is a piano introduction that recalls the feeling of The Battle.

  6. Coda Youtube

    One and a half minutes, Lower advanced. A short SATB a cappella song that dramatically asks "by whom and when the Law of Peace, brought in by that Man Crucified, was ruled to be inept, and set aside?" This through-composed song is at the lower advanced level due to chromaticism.

In Memoriam

SATB, piano and harp and piano.

5 minutes, medium difficulty. Alymar Publications, $15.

Moving song using the poem (1916) by Lieutenant Ewart Alan Mackintosh which was written in memory of Private David Sutherland and the other members of his troop, who were killed in battle. Lt. Mackintosh, himself, was killed in battle 6 months later.

The melodic material is modal and folk-like. The song is written in an 'ABABA' form.

Journey to Ithaca YouTube

SATB, Children's Chorus, Organ and Piano.

Text by Lisa VanAuken, based on a poem by C. P. Cavafy.

Uplifting choral work, perfect as an inspirational work for children's choir with the adult choir. The basic message of Cavafy's original peom is retained (the gift of life is its journey) but the mythological references are removed to make the poem more understandable and more lyrical.

The form is rondo to fit the repeating text. The journey to Ithaca is folk-like in writing style, but has much modulation (that is always well prepared by the instrumental accompanient). The work come to a dramatic, stops out, exciting end. A great way to end a recital.


4 minutes, Intermediate. Alymar $8*


Setting of the first section of the mass.

Ternary form.

Texture fluctuates between homorhythmic and polyphonic.

Tonal but with some chromaticism.

Songs of Life

SATB and piano or children's chorus (or 2 treble voices) and piano.

7-8 minutes, difficulty-lower intermediate to intermediate. Alymar Publications. $15.

Three songs that speak of the beauty and challenges of life using the poetry of Sara Teasdale. This song cycle was commissioned by the Children's Choir of Carroll County.

  1. A Chart of a Small Sea YouTube

    The theme of this song (in ternary form) is the importance of being yourself.

  2. The House of Dreams YouTube

    This song approaches the idea that, while it is important to dream, one must keep a foot grounded in reality. (Through composed but with similar phrases.)

  3. A Prayer YouTube

    This song emphasizes that it is always important to enjoy life, and to love life with your fullest effort. (Mainly through composed but with repetition where phrases in the lyrics are repeated.)

Still Falls the Rain YouTube

7-8 minutes. Medium difficulty for SATB and Organ Alymar $20*

"In Baxter's Still Falls the Rain, the Kühn Choir of Prague is joined by organist Linda Sitková for a lyrical, uplifting piece based on a well-known poem by Edith Sitwell. Though it concerns the suffering experienced by people during WWII, the text and Baxter's music ultimately celebrate the indomitable spirit and hope that have enabled people to survive the most devastating circumstances."
Textura - February, 2021

A work of intense beauty and power. The poem, written by Dame Edith Sitwell during the blitz of London during the Second World War, is a moving tribute to the enduring love of Christ. The form of the composition is through-composed but there are returning thematic ideas, particularly the one that is associated with the title of the poem, which returns many times during the work.

Three Madrigals

8 minutes. Difficulty varies.

SATB, and also available for voice and piano.

This is an a cappella version of songs based upon anonymous renaissance poems. This is also available as solo songs for voice and guitar.

These songs were comissioned by Western Maryland College.

  1. There is a Lady Sweet and Kind

    Two and a half minutes, Intermediate. This song captures the mood of light romantic innocence with just a hint of melancholy.Written in AA'BA"B' form.

  2. The Silver Swan YouTube

    Two and a half minutes, Difficult. This is a new setting of the poem by Christopher Hatton. Written in ternary form with a coda. The song is difficult due to a fair amount of chromaticism and leaps. But the piece stays within the realm of tonality.

  3. Love Me Not for Comely Grace

    2 minutes, Intermediate. Light hearted love song. Through composed but similar motives in each verse.

War is Kind

6 minutes Upper intermediate Alymar $10*

SATB and piano.

Words by Stephen Crane.

Dramatic setting of sarcastic cynicism of Crane's poem on the horrors of war. The composition is made up of several contrasting sections each one ending with the same dramatic musical setting of the words "do not weep, war is kind".

Wild Mountain Thyme YouTube

4 Minutes moderately easy.

For SATB a cappella.

Setting of the traditional song with newly composed music to several verses. This romantic song is written for a full choral sound.