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SATB: with bass solo and orchestra

Dear List,
Thank you all for your wonderful contributions that are listed below. I
have so enjoyed receiving information from such a variety of tastes and
genres. This list affects more than what seems immediately apparent. I
sent the list to Richard's parents and a portion of the Mom's reply follows
(Richard and his Dad are in NY with his HS orchestra. He is also a fine
violinist!). The 'music angel' she refers to I give back to all those on
this list.
Enjoy and thanks again...Linda Spevacek :)

Just received the emails concerning search for pieces for Richard. What a
gold mine! I can't wait to go to Books and Borders to research recordings.
You're a music angel! Richard is currently in Washington D.C. with CDS High
School orchestra tour. Fred's with him so I'm not worried. Thanks for all
you do. I think there are great possibilities for Richard. See you on
Monday! Stella Ollarsaba
Original Post

Dear list,
I have a most talented high school bass sophomore and am looking for a piece
to feature him as the soloist with the choir and orchestra. An example of
his level...he performed ''Arise Ye
Subterranean Winds' by Purcell as his solo for the All State tryout this
year. He can do sixteenth runs flawlessly and has a range to a high F. Last
year as a freshman, he was the only bass in his high school choir who made
All State. He also does musical theatre extremely well. I welcome any
suggestions in any genre. Thank you!

Linda Spevacek
"Walk Him Up the Stairs" from PURLIE. Don't know who publishes it, but I
know it IS published in an octavo.
Try the three part version of "The Storm is Passing Over" by Tindley, arr.
by Baker in the Doreen Rao series...I've done it with boys singing melody an
octave below, and the girls splitting the two lower parts's very
Birmingham Alabama
I have the perfect piece for what you edition of Johann Adolf
Hasse's "Laudate Coeli Dominum", for Baritone soloist, SATB choir and
orchestra (strings, 2 oboes, 2 trumpets, timpani). It is published by
Hinshaw Music Inc., HMB-196. If you have any questions about this, please
don't hesitate to ask.
Martin Banner
Monticello, New York
How about one or all of the Vaughan Williams 5 Mystical Songs.
Jonathan T. Krinke
University of Missouri-Kansas City
Linda, The first one that comes to mind is the Five Mystical Songs, by
Vaughn Williams
Dr. Carroll J. Lehman
Director of Choral/Vocal Activities
Keene State College
Keene, NH 03435-2402
How about Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Five Mystical Songs"? It shows off both
the soloist and the choir, and I believe there is a setting for orchestra.
Maryann Lisk
Isn't the "Antiphon" of Vaughan Williams written for Chorus Orch and Solo?
Ray Klemchuk
J.S. Bach's St. John Passion includes some two extremely beautiful numbers
for bass, chorus, and orchestra.

"Eilt, ihr angefochtnen Seelen" is fast and wonderful. No bass in that
chorus! The bass sings "Hurry, hurry!" and the choir asks "Where? Where?"

"Mein teurer Heiland" is rich and profound. SATB choir sings a chorale in
the background, while the solo sings siciliano-style triplets. It's not
loud or flashy -- pretty sophisticated.

For fun, you could follow also do something like "Sit down, you're rockin'
the boat" from _Guys and Dolls_.

Or, check out the various Gilbert and Sullivan basses who sing with choruses
of policemen, sisters, cousins, aunts, etc.

Hope this helps -- please post a compilation!
Nina Gilbert
Director of Choral Activities, Lafayette College
Easton, Pennsylvania 18042-1768
Dear Linda,
My suggestion would be selections from Mendelssohns 'Elijah'- and lucky you!

Later email:
Linda, Why not write a piece. My students enjoy singing your music, and I
am glad for the fact that your music has substance to it.
My degrees are in composition from the University of Melbourne and Sydney-
As to 'Elijah' I looked at the score the parts for bass are in the double
solo quartet /mixed voices, still perhaps the baritone solo's could be
droped a notch.
? Bass solo's in Schoenberg moses and Aaron or part of a quartet in the
Brahms songs.
Have a good weekend.

Harry Pickett
Department of Fine Arts
Director of Choral Studies
Auburn High and Middle Schools
Riner, VA 24149
Either Durufle's or Brahm's Requiems would work, as both have rather
demanding baritone solos (but you'd need a soprano as well to do either
Vaughn Roste
Edmonton, Alberta
Sounds like Copland (Boatman, Bought me a Cat) or Vaughan Williams (Five
Mystical Songs?) just waiting to happen. I am not sure what orchestrations
are available... If you have the time, and he is REALLY good go for the RVW
"Dona Nobis Pacem!"
Mike Wade
You might try "Danuel" Kirk Mechem(not sure about the spelling.) It is
from an opera and I would think orchestra parts would be available.
Kelly Dame
West Plains, MO
If he's graduating this year, it may be too late. However, the most obvious
thing that comes to mind is the Fantasia on Christmas Carols by Vaughan
Williams. There's also the Sea Symphony, also by RVW. Sounds like a
fantastic musician you have there! JMB
James Baldwin
Not to be "trite", but you COULD do the version of OLD MAN RIVER from the
original score of SHOWBOAT, with orchestral parts and choir as
back-up.....Might be overdone, but it would surely bring down the house.
Depending on how exactly his voice sounds, I'd suggest 'O Isis und Osiris'
from Mozart's Magic Flute, 'Le Veau d'Or' ('Golden Calf') from Gounod's
Faust, or 'Del Futuro Nel Buio Discerno' from Verdi's Nabucco---the Mozart
is probably easiest if you're concerned about straining the voice, but it's
also probably the lowest tessitura of the three, and if he already has a
high F, he sounds more likely to be a baritone (though an F is hardly
unheard of for a mature bass). I realize opera is not traditional high
school choral/orchestral music, but none of these is impossible for a good
high school choir or orchestra, and it would probably be wonderful fun for
him to sing -- and put on his resume for colleges. Best of luck to you and
to him!
Frank Wells
Tampa Bay Concert Choir
(formerly with Tampa Bay Opera, if you couldn't have guessed!)
Hi, Linda! Glad to be of assistance. Let me see what else I can add to
the discussion here.

First, I'm not a bass, I'm a conductor and composer -- my first jobswere in
opera, though since then, I've worked in most every field that involves the
voice, choral, songs, musical theater, etc., and much of my compositional
output is also vocal of one sort or another. I have done some performing
both as a tenor and a baritone, so if your young singer winds up being the
latter, I may be of some more direct assistance there.

Bass-baritone (sometimes called basso cantante in Italian, to differentiate
it from the basso profundo) is a legitimate voice type in itself, though as
young as he is, the voice is likely to keep moving upward, so you may well
find yourself with a baritone by the time he's heading off to college...
Wouldn't even be unheard of for him to turn into a bigger, darker tenor in
10-15 years -- many singers (Placido Domingo, to name just one) who debuted
as baritones later migrated to tenor roles as their voices continued

Ok, recordings: for bass-baritone types, look for Samuel Ramey and Jose Van
Dam, also Bryn Terfel among the current young generation of singers; James
Morris is a great big Wagner-type bass voice; for baritones, Leo Nucci and
Sherrill Milnes are the first couple that come to mind, also Thomas Hampson,
the latter again younger than the others. For Germanlieder, the gold
standard would have to be Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Any of these would be
excellent sources of inspiration and good models for a young singer, though
I'd always recommend listening to as many different singers as possible for
ideas, rather than relying on one or two favorites to mimic -- the breadth
of exposure from which to drawideas and form one's own style is vastly
better in the long run to creating a mature and insightful musical voice,
though simple imitation may be easier in the short term. With that in mind,
I highly commend to you the numerous inexpensive historical recordings
available – while they may have inferior audio quality, they present a
opportunity to encounter other generations of singers with many and various
insights into the music, often different from the performances of the
current generation -- and with the cheap prices, one can get two or three
such discs for the same expense as one full-price offering.

Literature... The albums that I've used most as a singer, and most recommend
to those with whom I work would be: the Schirmer albums of Arias (one for
each voice type -- stick with the bass one for now; most of the baritone
arias go up to at least E or F) are an excellent mix of classic arias and
somewhat newer repertoire; the 26 Italian Songs and Arias book (published by
Alfred, newer and better edited than the similar classic Schirmer), which
can also be purchased with an accompanying CD; Schirmer publishes an book of
50 German lieder, 10 each by Brahms, Schumann, Schubert, Wolf, and
Strauss -- an excellent basic selection; for more advanced art song study,
International Music Co. publishes a volume of 90 Schumann songs, including a
few complete song cycles and many individual songs -- I particularly like
this volume since it's offered in low/medium/high keys, as opposed to only
low and high -- the low keys are often just one step lower than the
low-medium version in many books, but that makes these songs much more
approachable for a younger singer.

I hope you and he find these suggestions helpful -- if I can offer further
ideas, I'd be happy to help however I can. Best of luck to you both!
Frank Wells
I saw you request for a work for bass solo and orchestra. Last year I wrote
a work title "Night Songs" for baritone and small ensemble, which I am
currently orchestrating for small orchestra and solo. This may be a good
work for your student. I can send the ensemble piece to you via email (adobe
acrobat files, or Finale 2003 files) so you can check ranges and suitability
if you would like.
Paul Witney
I kept mulling this over in my mind this weekend and have come up with these
suggestions. Any of Copland's Old American Folksongs (ed. Fine) could be
turned into soloist and choir (either TTBB or SATB) with wonderful effect. I
interspersed an extended set of these with the Fine arrangements and the
solo versions, very successful and (gulp, I hesitate to say in light of
the current philosophical discussion) entertaining for all.

Several years ago, I sang the show edition with men's choir of Old Man River
with the Syracuse Symphony. The orchestra had the parts but i don't know
their availability otherwise. Electrifying version with men's choir--sets
you hair on fire!

I also sang America, the Dream Goes on. I don't remember if I had to alter
the arrangement to make a solo part but a very fine flag-waver.

The "Libera me" from the Fauré Requiem should not be overlooked.

Going out on a limb for a young singer, "The Toreador Song" from Carmen.

Stephen A. Stomps, Director of Choirs
Auburn High School Choirs
Is this an awesome and varied set of responses from the 'music angels'...or
what? Thank you all again!

Linda Spevacek

on January 6, 2007 10:00pm
Linda, Did you locate Walk Him Up the Stairs from Purlie... or did you find some other material? If your still looking I have copies somewhere....Please let me know if I can help.DENNIS D