Monday, September 10, 2007

Fall choral highlights at my parish

Here are some of the nicer pieces we are working on this fall:

Stanford Ps. 150 (CPDL)
Funny, I went through 2 years of grad school for conducting, and we never spent even a minute on directing Anglican choral chant.

Barnard “If God is Building When We Build”
(St. James Music Press, Sunday by Sunday II)
Well-suited, actually, to this past Sunday. Easy if your folks know LAND OF REST.

Bell “Let All Mortal Flesh” (GIA)
Very easy arrangement, but a wicked-cool last verse where the organ has all these funky chords against the unison melody. Also good for teaching the melodic minor scale.

Weaver “Ave verum” (St. James Music Press, Sunday by Sunday II)
Very pretty setting that is also easy. This piece alone is worth the $55 for the Sunday by Sunday II collection from St. James. (Hat tip to Gavin for making me aware of this publisher!) Head over to and give it a listen.

Englert “The Lord is My Light” (GIA)
A more challenging piece, but nice.

Stanford “And I Saw Another Angel” (CPDL)
This one’s a big long, but not hard, and a fun sing. Very dignified.

Howells “My Eyes for Beauty Pine” (Oxford)
This should be a very easy teach, since it’s unison and basically just the same melody three times, but it also reinforces the singers’ ability to count.

Hogan “Hear My Prayer” (Hal Leonard)
I am usually not big on Afro-American spirituals in the liturgy. Part of it is a “gut sense”, I guess, that while many enjoy singing and hearing this music, it isn’t culturally how we express the awesome and the truly sacred. This piece is an exception, though, I think - it’s clear in its eschatological reference, and it’s more subdued.

Josquin (attr.) “Tu pauperum” (my own edition)
I would love to know something of the origin of this text, but alas, I haven’t had time to research it. A wonderful piece - albeit one that, IIRC, we now think was not written by Josquin. It’s the secunda pars of a motet called “Magnus es tu, Domine”, btw, but the first part is really boring. I mean, like, don’t even bother.

Smith “Choral Fanfare for Christ the King” (GIA)
Short, extroverted, and simple. Love it.

Handel “Worthy is the Lamb / Amen” (my arrangement)
I came up with this in college - an arrangement that, after the initial “Worthy is the Lamb” movement, cuts out the “Blessing and honor”, then skips from after the soprano entrance in the Amen to the last major bass/trumpet entrance. It works well, actually - yes, I know how cool the “Blessing and honor” is, but I just don’t have the time I would need to put it all together.


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