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Nature: Garden

Dear listers,

Thank you so much for all of your responses to my request for ideas on
the theme of “the garden”. Some of you asked for a compilation, so here
it is. I tried not to repeat anything but I may have. Sorry this took
me so long…….
Ronnie Quella

well, one obvious choice is "A Girl's Garden" from the Thompson

another, for SATB would be the exquisite "Chansons de rose", by M.
Lauridsen part. "dirat-on", any number of excerpts from Simon's THE
SECRET GARDEN score (many lovely ensemble numbers within), The works of
Elizabeth Alexander.

I believe there is a Brahms piece for choir, Der Gaertner.
You might also want to check out Kirke Mechem's 5 Centuries of
Spring...the setting of Edna St. Vincent Millay's "Spring" may be a
earthy though..i.e. "Not only underground are the brains of men eaten
maggots..." It is also rather difficult (a lot of tritone motives). I
not sure this is that helpful, but it is what came to mind off the top
my head.
Lastly, "Clusters of Crocus/Come to my Garden" from The Secret Garden
is a solo piece, but there may be a choral arrangement out there
somewhere. It is beautiful.

There's a choral arrangement (by Doreen Rao, I think) of the song from
Bernstein's "Trouble in Tahiti": "There is a garden..."

It's quite nice, for trebles.

I don't know if the song "Plant a Radish" from "Fantastiks" was ever
arranged, but it would fill the bill.

Folk song arrangements of "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme." John
had a nice arrangement with Shawnee Press many years ago.

Jesus Christ the Apple Tree - Elizabeth Poston
Linden Lea - Ralph Vaughan Williams
Flower Songs - Benjamin Britten
The Sally Gardens - Benjamin Britten

"Lord Jesus Hath a Garden" - Don't know the composer

I believe there is also a title "Come into my Garden..."
Ronnie - my high school choir loved "Seeds Grow to Plants" by John

"My Master Hath a Garden" by Randall Thompson is a lovely, easy,
accompanied SA piece.
"Dirait-On" by Mort Lauridsen talks about a rose in a garden.
Available for SATB or women's.

John Rutter has a little known cylce of songs for satb entitled
of America" and it contains one of his loveliest works - very simple
unassuming, very much in the American folk idiom, but ballad-like,
"Seeds Grow to Plants". It would especially appropriate for a high
group. It may be published separately. It is published by Hinshaw Music
Chapel Hill, NC and I think they have a website.

There are lots of songs about roses:
My Wild Irish Rose
Red Roses for a Blue Lady, etc.

You can go to and do a search on a flower or vegetable of
choice :>)

I think there is both a scene and a song in The Fantastiks" called
"Plant a
Radish" which is humorous. - something about a radish if my title is

If you want to get a bit jazzy, look for songs about foods (from
too - "Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy" or "Don't Sit Under the Apple
a la the Andrew Sisters for your girls, "Flim Flam Sauce" for a good
soloist or show choir.

If you have a really triple A group, you might look at Bernstein's
"Make Our
Garden Grow" from Candide but it's a gut-buster for even mature tenors

For something off-the-wall, look as some creative vegetable costumes
and do
"Singing in the Rain" - it could bring the house down with appropriate
"plant" choreography - which means movement but rooted to the spot :>)

On the more serious side there are two things that come to mind - a
of Joyce Kilmer's "Trees" if you can still find it in print, and a real
oldie every junior high satb group had to learn back in the 1960's -
Green Cathedral" which speaks of the sanctity and majesty of the forest
living, green things.

If you have an especially talented girl and are willing to spend some
time - look at the "Bean Song" from Sondheims' "Into the Woods". I
think that's the title, but the witch does it in the 1st act. It's more
of a
rap than a song, complete with witchy cackles and marvelously funny and
clever lyrics.

For your women's choir, "Down By The Salley Gardens," arranged by
Michael Cleveland published by Treble Clef Music Press.

I highly recommend Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel's "Gartenlieder". It's as
(and I think, better than) anything her brother wrote.

If you go to, you can search the sheet music page on
key word "garden". The search will turn up about 150 selections. Of
these, about 15 - 20 are scored for choir (SATB, SSAA, SAA etc.). All
the choir scores are mail order at about $1.50 each. Unfortunately,
are downloadable for preview on-line.

I've used this site many times to purchase sheet music. They have been
great site in the past. There's been some recent changes in the
It caused their site to be down for about a week recently but its back
and working. Read the press release on the home page.

There is an easy but pleasant arrangement of "Come to my Garden" from
the Secret Garden. I think it is published by Hal Leonard and is
available for treble voices or SATB.

"Garden Hymn" arr. Parker/Shaw (I might have the title wrong; the text
begins "The Lord into his garden comes")
there are plenty of pieces about flowers and trees, of course,
Britten's set that has a piece about flowers, another in the set with
words "Green Broom" in the title (sorry, I'm blanking on the real
titles of
these), the Four Sweet Months, etc.
Fine: Have you seen the white lily grow
Billings: I am the rose of Sharon

Garden of Seraglio by Wilhelm Stenhammer

A Floral Fancy....Fischer Tull
Chanson des Roses..... Morten Lauridsen
Due North...Stephen Chatman
Lullaby...James Mobberley
Elizabethan Spring....Stephen Chatman esp. (there is a garden in
her face)
My Luv is like a Red, Red Rose...James Mulholland, David Dickau, or
Rene Clausen

Randall Thompson's Frostiana Suite hits directly and indirectly at your
theme. The "Girl's Garden" is right on point, for the girls' voices.
Pasture" is very close for the three part mens' voices, "The Road Not
is close to the theme, and is mixed. The others, "Come In" is again
for the girls, and the rest of the pieces fit well enough. This
suite is too infrequently done in its entirety, yet is well deserving
of it.
(I have 36 years of H.S. experience - it's well within the grasp of
high school groups.)

some movements from First Person feminine, Seymour barab

Pierre Certon's chanson, "Vive la Serpe" (Long live the secateurs).
Margot McLaughlin

Try Eugene Butler's "Give Me the Splendid Silent Sun"
Hinshaw (HMC 694)Text by Walt Whitman for SAB voices
and piano.

Erev Shel Shoshanim (Evening of Roses) SATB arr. Klebanow World

Dear Ronnie,

Let me send you a copy of my SATB chorale, "Trust the Seeds," whose
performances have included several by high school choruses. The text
(which is about gardens but also about children, dreams and
looks like it may be the kind of thing you're looking for.

1. Trust the seeds, although they lie in darkness,
Stirring beyond your watchful eye.
Though they may not flower as you dreamed they would,
When the planting's over you must trust the seeds.

2. Some soon bloom to fill your heart with wonder,
Some only after you are gone,
You must give them freedom to grow as they should.
Give them room to spread their roots, and trust the seeds.

3. In your heart, you know that some may wither,
All you can do is hope and pray.
Some will rise up grander than you dreamed they could.
There is joy in planting if you trust the seeds.

I also have an SSA arrangement of Emily Dickinson's chestnut, "To Make
Prairie," which was premiered just last fall. If the poem fits your
theme closely enough, I'll send you a complimentary copy of that, too.

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee —
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.

Best of luck with your programming --

Elizabeth Alexander


(The first Part)
There is a garden in her face
Where roses and white lillies grow;
A heavenly paradise is that place
Wherein all pleasant fruits do flow.
There cherries grow that none may buy
Till "cherry ripe" themselves do cry.

(The Second Part)
Those cherries fairly do enclose
Of orient pearl a double row,
Which when her lovely laughter shows,
They look like rosebuds filled with snow.
Yet them no peer nor prince may buy
Till "cherry ripe" themselves do cry.

(The Third Part)
Her eyes like angels watch them still;

Her brows like bended bows do stand,
Threatening with piercing frowns to kill
All that approach with eye or hand
These sacred cherries to come nigh
Till "cherry ripe" themselves do cry.
Thomas Campian (1567-1620)
Composed by Richard Allison for SSATB voices.
Modern edition is THE ENGLISH MADRIGALISTS, Volume 33, edited by
Edmund H. Fellowes, revised by Thurston Dart, published by Stainer
and Bell.

The music isn't too difficult. Nor is it very profound, despite the
outstanding poetry. Perhaps the most interesting thing is Allison's
incorporation of the Elizabethan "cherries ripe" street cry into the
fabric of the music.

Bernstein also has a solo piece that is published for unison chorus
called "There is a Garden". This may be easier than you want, but I
think it could easily be arranged for 2 or 3 part treble voices. Good

There is a piece for SSA called The Garden of Music by Patterson.
It is lovely and published by Heritage Music Press. You can get info
and possibly a partial sound recording by clicking on jwpepper's site.
Good luck! It sounds like a lovely programming idea. Have a beautiful

Look at "Three Songs From the Chinese," by Edwin T. Childs
3-part, SAB. Mark Foster Music

topics of outdoors, trees, wind, ducks

King Jesus Hath a Garden arr. Rutter, published Oxford. Also Floral
Fancy, but can't remember composer or publisher. Very fun. Of course,
from musical theater there is "Never say no" from the Fantasticks. The
text goes "plant a radish, get a radish, never any doubt, that's why I
love vegetables you know what you're about . . ." The entire song
refers to a vegetable garden, and how much easier it is to raise
than kids. Fun.

For the Beauty of the Earth, Rutter [various voicings]
Promise of Living--The Tender Land, Copland
A Rose Touched by the Sun¹s Warm Rays, J. Berger
Erev Shel Shoshanim (Evening of Roses)--Klebanow [World Music-SATB]
lots of songs about roses/flowers!
if you want real pop--Garden Party (Ricky Nelson, I think!)
Good luck!

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on August 24, 2005 10:00pm
The Tree, for unaccompanied SATB choir, 2003 (Duration: 3 min.) by Greg Batholomew (
A setting of the poem by American transcendental poet Jones Very (1813 - 1880) composed at the 2003 Oxford Summer Institutes at Lehigh, where it received a reading by The Princeton Singers directed by Steven Sametz. Premiered 2004 by the American University Chamber Singers.
on September 13, 2005 10:00pm
Our senior choir sings "The Cool of The Day," which definitely has a garden theme.