Sunday, February 13, 2011

Works for Mixed Choir

Three Marian Carols: 2010: SATB, Piano: 6 min. 30 seconds
Missa Brevis: 2008: SATB, 3 drummers: 13 min.
Magnificat: 2006: Soprano Solo, SSATB: 8  min.
For the Fallen: 2006: Solo Voice, SATB, Organ: 3 min. 30 sec.
Five Flower Songs: 2003: SSATBB: 13 min.

Three Marian Carols will be premiered by the Mohawk Community Singers in Hamilton in the weeks before Christmas 2011. They are strophic and not as challenging as some of my other choral music.

The Missa Brevis was commissioned by the McMaster Choir and they sang the premiere. It has subsequently been performed by the Scarborough College, University of Toronto Choir. It is a setting of the Prayer Book text in English. The drummers lend a rhythmic element to the piece and this appeals to younger singers. There was also an educational motive in setting these traditional words, as many university choristers are active Christians who know little of the liturgy and history of their religion. A recording of three of its movements are available (accompanied by pretty pictures) further down in this posting.

The Magnificat was also commissioned by the McMaster Choir.  This is also an English Prayer Book setting. The text is, of course, Mary's response to the angel when she learns she is to be the Mother of God. The soprano soloist represents the voice of Mary. There is also a recording of this piece later in this posting.

For the Fallen is a setting of one verse from the famous Laurence Binyon poem. It would be appropriate repertoire for most church choirs for Remembrance (Memorial) Day.

I spent a substantial portion of my performance career as a professional chorister. This didn't lead me to begin to compose in a serious way by writing choral music, however, because I had decided early on to avoid writing pieces "on spec" and I didn't have an on-going relationship with a choral conductor. Composing music is far too demanding of time and energy (especially since I have been able to devote so little time to it) to write things without a promise of performance. I did eventually write Five Flower Songs with no immediate prospect having them performed. Jon Washburn and the Vancouver Chamber Choir workshopped them and Jon thought they were too hard for all but the most expert choristers.  They were written with a really good chamber choir in mind and were inspired by music (by Hindemith, Poulenc, Britten et al) I sang as a Tudor Singer many years ago. Nobody has, yet, had the juice to program them.

Kyrie from the Missa Brevis

Sanctus from the Missa Brevis
Agnus Dei from the Missa Brevis


1 comment:

  1. Dear David,
    This is so Wonderful, like the music coming from the ''Univers des Sphères'', so unic and from the ages of humanity... I like very much. It's a chance for us that you have ear those sounds and create those magnific pieces so delightfull!!