Works composed as Memorials
COMPILATION: MEMORIAL WORKS
What terrific responses from 40 Choralist members! Additional ideas are
The original query:
Can you suggest intriguing choral works written as memorials? I'm
looking for pieces of varied character sacred or secular which set
texts other than the traditional Latin Requiem. I'd prefer works under
10 minutes. They may be accompanied or a cappella, Renaissance through
contemporary. I'll gladly post a compilation.
Allison Fromm Entrekin
Paul Ayres: my reworking of "Purcell's Funeral Sentence" (SSAATTBB
unacc), text from the Church of England's Book of Common Prayer. 7-8
Bach motets: Fuerchte dich nicht, Der Geist hilft, Jesu meine
Freude & O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht, BWV 118 (new ediiton by
Ysaye M. Barnwell (Sweet Honey in the Rock): Breaths a setting of a
beautiful poem by Senegalese poet Birago Diop. Unaccompanied.
John Ness Beck: In Memoriam Double Choir, a cappella
Beethoven: Elegaischer Gesang (ECS)
William Billings: Samuel the Priest
Johannes Brahms: Nänie in German with Classical/mythical
references, orchestral accompaniment, gorgeous but also just over 10
minutes. [painter Anselm Feuerbach]
Brahms: Begrabnisgesang (Hinshaw)
Bright Morning Stars Are Rising TTBB Chorus, unaccompanied; tenor solo
William Byrd: Justorum Animae (or any other setting)
Nancy Hill Cobb: Threnody (Hinshaw music) is a 25-minute work for
SATB Chorus and orchestra. It combines some traditional Latin Texts
(Agnus Dei, Absolom fili mi, Ubi caritas, and Cantate Domino) with one
scripture (Psalm 94) and the poetry of Ernestine Clark, a woman who
worked in downtown Oklahoma City and was peripherally affected by the
Oklahoma City bombing. It is dedicated to the victims of the Oklahoma
City bombing, living or not, and is about the event and the subsequent
recovery of those who survived.
Corigliano: Psalm 8 [his father]
Giovanni Croce: O Vos Omnes
Eleanor Daley: Requiem It's longer than you need, but it's in many
movements, some the Latin text, others poetry. Publisher is Gordon
Thompson, I believe, and the requiem is recorded by her choir in Canada.
Four works by Eleanor Daley are wonderful as memorials:
1. "The Angels Will Guide You Home, a beautiful setting written for
SSA with piano (duration 4:30; Alliance Music Publishing).
2. And God Shall Wipe Away All Tears (unison with piano, Hinshaw).
3. In Remembrance, part of a larger work (Requiem), written for SATB
a cap and later re-voiced for SSAA a cap (Warner Chappell) and TTBB a
cap (Rhythmic Trident Publishing). Wonderful acapella work, not
difficult, great text. "Do not stand by my grave and weep, I am not
there, I do not sleep..." about 3 minutes.
4. Another, possibly lesser-known work, but absolutely stunning, is
For the Fallen (Alliance) for SATB a cappella and trumpet soloist.
Malcolm Dalglish - "Epitaph" - SSAA (but he might have an SATB
arrangement) accompanied by hammer dulcimer. Absolutely gorgeous.
Robert DeCormier: Two works written as memorials: Legacy (text by
John Dobbs) published by Lawson Gould, chamber orchestra & Under A
Greenwood Tree (text by Sean O'Casey) unpublished, full orchestra.
Both are about 20 minutes in length.
Josquin des Prez: Nymphes des Bois written as a lament/memorial to
Johannes Ockeghem (La deploration de la morte de Johannes Ockeghem)?
Beautiful! Josquin eloquently lists composers paying tribute . .
.Josquin, Piersson (Pierre de la Rue), Brumel, Compère. It is in
French, though you can perform it in old French.
Joyce Elaine Eilers: Thy Will Be Done & Go Ye now in Peace
Dan Gawthrop: Close Now Thine Eyes - SATB a cap. & Sing Me to
Heaven - SATB minimal divisi
Ron Harris: Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep SATB, a cappella.
Publisher: WOODLAND / INTRADA A0500210.
Howard Helvey: I was honored two years ago to write a memorial choral
work for the mother of the conductor of the Columbus (Ohio) Symphony
Chorus. The sacred text, "Whatever Be the Love," was commissioned as
well, and was written by the extremely talented Mary Louise Bringle.
Oxford University Press will be publishing the 6-minute work,
tentatively scheduled for release this fall. It is scored for SATB
choir and orchestra, but can be performed effectively with the piano
reduction. If you'd like, I'm happy to send along a pre-publication
copy for your perusal.
Herbert Howells: Take Him, Earth, for Cherishing (Belwin) about 9+
minutes, written for his son Michael, but finished at time JFK
assassinated. The text is from a 4th-century poem by Aurelius Clemens
Prudentius, translated by Helen Waddell.
Richard Hynson: In the Midst of Life (from Book of Common Prayer) and
Blessed Are the Dead (from Anglican Burial Service). Both are
published by Mark Foster Music, now a division of Shawnee Press.
Isaac: Quis dabit [Lorenzo de Medici]
Laburda Jirí: Hymnus "Ut omnes hominess vivant humaniter" for the Mixed
Choir a cappella and Alto solo, on the Latin text by Jan Amos Comenius
This Hymnus was awarded the main Prize in the International Concourse
in Jihlava (CZ) and after it appeared in print by the American
publishers: G. Schirmer, Inc., (Music Sales Corp.), 257 Park Avenue
South, New York, NY 10010. U.S.A. and became very popular in our
As to my music doesnt use the avantgarda-technics, nevertheless it was
awarded more than 60 prizes (10 international), has been performed in
numerous countries of the whole world and all my music has been
appearing in the great world publishing houses.
In case of your interest, please visit the websites:
www.musica.cz (comp - laburda)
www.Google (jiri laburda)
Lassus: Tragico texti syrmate SSSSAA (very wide range) is a
gorgeous, and vocally demanding, Renaissance lament for the destruction
of a city, and for those who died in it. Treble Clef Music Press,
James MacMillan: A Childs Prayer in memory of children who died in
a massacre at a school in Ireland. sitting in my office. 3-4 mins.
(Boosey and Hawkes)
Ann McKinley Psalm 46 (SATB and piano) written in 2002 in memory of
Commander Dan Shanower who was killed in the Pentagon on 9-11. 9
The motet was performed later that year (2002) by a community chorus in
Aurora, the next town to the west. On September 11, 2003 it was
performed at a memorial
service at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. The latter performance,
naturally scheduled very early in the term, was a pick-up
student-faculty-staff group. (Weston Noble was present. He said I
knew how to write for voices, a fine compliment, I think!)
The 3 performances are now available combined on a single CD. I can
send you one, also a score if you are interested. The on-line path:
Naperville Chorus: go way downthere's the sound of the motet go
further down for repertoire listing, then see
"Psalm 46" and also my name, both in red. For further information see
SHANOWER FAMILY and also info (+ pictures) on Naperville's memorial to
Graeme Morton: Crossing the Bar(Morton Music). It's Australian, a
lovely setting of Lord Tennyson's work.
W. A. Mozart: "Lacrimosa" from Requiem
James Mulholland Think On Me SATB and SSA arrangements with Piano
and French Horn. Text by Mary Queen of Scots, written from prison, I
believe. It's an octavo, several minutes in length, available in
several voicings, including SATB, TTBB and (I think) for solo voice...
published by Colla Voce Publishingcheck out collavoce.com for
Steve Murray: I have a piece, as yet unpublished, that was written for
a neighbor woman who died in an automobile crash in 2000. I used the
text which has the lines "Do not stand at my grave and weep..." I have
named it "A Thought To Keep", and I will have it recorded by Albany Pro
Musica in May. The recording and score will be then available for any
interested parties to examine. If you wish, I'll send you a pdf file
of the score. www.SteveMurrayMusic.com
Brad Nelson: For Whom The Bell Tolls The score can been seen and
heard by clicking on - http://www.gladdemusic.com/forwhom.htm - its 3
movements span quite a range of styles, 1st and 2nd movement is
accompanied, 3rd movement is a cappella. It is a moving work.
Francisco Nunez: Canticle for treble voices and piano. The Ithaca
College Womens Chorale has performed it in concert at ACDA All-Eastern
and I believe its to be published soon by Boosey and Hawkes.
Oceanna Music publishes a beatiful and moving SAB work with piano very
suitable for your request, as it was written as in memory of the
composer's brother-in-law. It is called 'Goodbye' and you can see a
manuscript sample and hear a sound clip at our website:
www.oceannamusic.com (look under the choral section in our online
Page: Donde hay
Alice Parker: Remembering Those who Fly - A very cool choral piece,
SATB, accompanied only by brass, no keyboard. Great for something like
1. Memorial - scored for double choir, narrator and flute. Written to
commemorate the life of the ancient Scottish figure of St Ninian.
Based on texts from the Bible (Psalm 98), from William Dunbar's Lament
for the Makars (makar = poet), and an anonymous Irish Gaelic poem about
the passage of time. First performed at the Ninian Festival in 2000.
2. Music for Jill - SATB unaccompanied. Very simple. Written to
commemorate the life of Jill Sumner, who with her husband David ran a
small theatre in south west Scotland. Jill died of cancer three years
ago and mentioned this poem by Norman McCaig when I asked if she'd like
me to write something for her.
3. How can I keep from singing? - SATB divisi. Commissioned last
year by the Lancaster Chorale, Ohio (dir. Robert Trocchia), to
commemorate the life of Nick Jourdan, a singer in the Chorale for many
years. Words and melody by Robert Lowry, 1860. To be premiered May
2005 in Lancaster, Ohio.
Poulenc Quatre prieres [his uncle]
Purcell's "Funeral Sentences" (SATB and continuo) text from the Church
of England's Book of Common Prayer. 7-8 mins.
Donna Rhodenizer: Heaven's Open Arms, written as a memorial tribute
for the families of the victims of the crash of Swiss Air Flight 111.
It has also been used at funerals, Remebrance Day ceremonies, and has
been adapted for 9/11 memorial use. Heaven's Open Arms is available in
SAB as well as SSA arrangement. It is in contemporary style,
accompanied (piano). Written by Canadian composers, Donna Rhodenizer
and Andy Duinker. www.redcastlepublishing.com
John Rutter's "The Lord Is My Shepherd" from his Requiem (1985 -
Hinshaw) is available separately from Oxford. It has a beautiful oboe
solo, and sounds good with organ accompaniment, although you could use
piano and/or keyboard. Also, "Out of the Deep" from the Requiem is
another excellent piece that stands on its own. It has a cello solo.
John Rutter: To Every Thing There Is a Season SATB Chorus with
Schumann: Beim Abschied zu Singen (Broude Bros. or Breitkopf)
Natalie Sleeth: Hymn of Promise
Tavener: Song for Athene and Funeral Ikos (Chester)
R. Thompson: Alleluia, SATB unaccompanied
Thomas Tomkins: When David Heard
Vaughan Williams: Rest, The Souls of the Righteous and An Oxford
Victoria O Vos Omnes
Eric Whitacre: When David Heard
Eric Whitacre: Sleep originally commissioned as a memorial to a
singer's parents who had passed away just a few weeks apart, and
originally a setting of a Robert Frost poem "Stopping by Woods on a
Snowy Evening." He had to have a friend write a new poem when he had
problems with the Frost estate, and the result is stunning. Around six
Many thanks to Mitos Andaya, Jennifer Anderson, Gregory Aune, Paul
Ayres, Linda Beaupre, Nick Boltz, Faith Brill, Janis Bryant, Frederic
H. Ford, Jack Goodwin, David Griggs-Janower, Howard Helvey, Joy
Hirokawa, Mary Hoffman, Laburda Jirí, John T. King, Bruce Lengacher,
Nancy Hill Cobb Lippens, Ann McKinley, Jonathan Miller, Steve Murray,
Brad Nelson, Jon-Philip Olson, Meg Papadolias, Sheena Phillips, Cynthia
Powell, Lauren K. Quigley, Donna Rhodenizer, Joel M. Rinsema, Catherine
Roma, Robert A.M. Ross, Clair Rozier, Mohamed Shahril Bin Mohamed
Salleh, Margaret Shannon, Allen H Simon, Patricia thor Straten-Mohr,
Anthony Toohey, Sophie Ward, William Weinmann, & Rodney Wynkoop!
Allison Fromm Entrekin