Magic and Fantasy
Date: Fri, 11 Oct 1996 14:09:33 -0400
Subject: SUMMARY: Repertoire suggestions
As promised, here is the compilation of suggestions for choral works having
to do with magic, fantasy or enchantment. Thanks to all who replied.
I've always like Schumann's Zigeunerleben, but if you are after something
bigger, how about the Mendelssohn Erste Walpurgis' Nacht. The Schumann
about three minutes and is published (was) by Lawson Gould, but is
available in a number of editions. The Mendelssohn is certainly available
from Barenreiter. I am unsure of the duration of the whole work, but 20
minutes would be a guess.
Purcell-Saul and the Witch of Endor
Dido and Aeneas: Witch Music
Brahms: Der tote Knabe
Berlioz: Le ballet des ombres
Jones and Persichetti: hist whist
Robert Schumann - Zigeunerleben (SATB and Piano) - there's an edition
published by Lawson-Gould, I think edited by Abraham Kaplan.
When you said enchantment, you said Sirens! In my research for music for
women's voices, I have found enough Siren pieces so that we could drown a
sailor at every concert. The very best one is one I publish for SSA chorus,
SAT (or SAA) semi chorus, and soprano solo, by Lili Boulanger, "Les sirenes."
about 5 minutes.
However, when I think of actually enchanting an audience, I think of
Boulanger's "Soir sur la plaine" (SATB) published by G. Schirmer, and Mabel
Wheeler Daniels's "Dum Dianae vitrea" (SSA a cappella, Treble Clef), about
5-6 minutes each, both about the mysterious quality of the light at evening,
both of which I would have at my funeral if I were not an Episcopalian. You
sort of walk around in a haze afterwards.
Treble Clef Music Press
Ravel Trois chanson ends with that marvelous chorus about the
gobelins, naiade, etc. etc. Of course, it is only a warning to children
to not go into the woods but lots of mention of the supernatural.
Don't know the exact title but Gail Kubik (20th c., American) wrote a set
of pieces about witches and spells. He was a very effective composer. It
was one of his later pieces, written around 1980 I'd guess.
Suggestions: How about the witches' duet from "Dido and Aeneus" by Purcell.
I believe it has just become available again in octavo form for SA within
the last couple of years. Don't know the exact title, but the first line is
"But ere we this perform, we'll conjure forth a storm".
Also, on a lighter note, "Magic to Do" from the musical "Pippin". After
being unavailable for awhile, a new arrangement came out within the last 5
years. (I'm at home and don't have access to my library, but I think the
arranger was John Leavitt.)
This one's SATB.
On the pop side: "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" (I have an a cappella
vocal jazz arrangement. If you want, let me know.) or "Love Potion #9."
Charms and Ceremonies - Michael Hurd
you might check the Mozart Magic flute score for chorus numbers.
the entire opera, as I'm sure you know, is based on fantasy and is highly
Masonic in nature.
I'm not sure this qualifies, as it sets an enchanting mood, but is not
really fantasy: Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda by Holst. The set for SSAA
with harp is truly ethereal. It casts a spell. However, it isn't fantasy
for Hindus; it is faith.
Another truly enchanting piece: "Love is a Rain of Diamonds" for SSA by
Gwyneth Walker. Again, not fantasy, though. But it puts listeners into a
What about some of the Purcell pieces like the Fairie Queene?
There are three witches' choruses (SSA) in Verdi's _Macbeth_. One is in
the new Opera Choruses collection issued by Oxford University Press. All
three, of course, are in the Ricordi and Kalmus scores of _Macbeth_.