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Stravinsky, Symphony of Psalms programming ideas

MANY thanks to all who responded.


.pieces that can be done with Symphony of Psalms without hiring additional fiddles. Could be with lower strings, or with winds and brass without any strings. Honegger's King David, for instance, would work well, in its original version of 16 wind/brass/perc players

Here's the Stravinsky scoring:

5 flutes (5th=picc).

4 oboes and corA.

0 clarinets

3 bassoons and contrabn


timp. + BD


2 pianos



So a "normal" wind ensemble piece would require the hiring of clarinets (and maybe saxes, baritones, etc) and a "normal" orchestra strings would need upper strings. Of course there are many pieces that call for brass quartet/quintet but I'm looking to use more of the players.

RESPONSES - hope I didn't miss any!

first movement of Brahms Requiem

Faure Cantique de Jean Racine - Rutter scoring for low strings Faure Requiem (original scoring - lower strings plus solo violin)

Schubert Gesang der Geister Uber den Wassern (late version)

Cherubini Requiem, movement 1

Imant Raminsh "Pau: A Testament" for baritone, chamber choir and 4 cellos, on Casals' autobiography

Stravinsky Mass (double winds)

Stravinsky Cantata - wind quintet and cello

I came across the following in the catalogue of the Hildegard Publishing Company (music by women composers). I know nothing about it beyond that its instrumentation fits the bill: Garwood, Margaret: "Tombsongs" SATB + orchestra.

The Hildegard catalogue number is 09419a for study score, 09419b for large score and parts. Their number (in Bryn Mawr, PA) is 610-649-8649; fax is 610-649-8677. The Garwood work is available on recording so you could easily check out the piece:
R&Product_Code=TROY679> &Store_Code=AR&Product_Code=TROY679


Choral Trilogy

TROY679 - $16.99

(I bought the CD last week on Ebay for $5 - DJ)

Schubert Deutsche Messe, originally just for wind band? you could always add vc/db too.

Kurt Weill's "Der neue Orpheus" (1925) might be interesting paired with "Symphony of Psalms," although the former calls not for choir, but for Soprano soloist, Violin solo, and orchestra with no violins.

Have you considered the Lloyd Webber 'Requiem' - the full orchestration version uses just violas, cellos and basses.

When I did the Symphony of Psalms with 2 rehearsals of professionals with the Harvard Suymmer Chorus we did the Brahms Second SErenade (instrumental only, no fiddles) and the Brahms opl. 106 for double chorus, which we could rehearse without the instruments.

Hindemith Apparebit repetina dies - 4 Horns . 2 Trumpets . 3 Trombones . Tuba

Many, many years ago I paired Penderecki's Psalms of David with the Symphony of Psalms. I don't remember the orchestration of the Pend.---was it just percussion?

Bruckner Mass in E minor
2 ob; 2 clar; 2 bsn; 4 hrn; 2 tpt; 3 trb; SSAATTBB
It is powerful and beautiful.

A Christmas piece that would work with these players is the Respighi Laud to the Nativity:
2 flutes, oboe, EH, 2 bassoons, piano 4-hands and triangle.

Can't think of anything big, but only a few things stylistically congruent which use your players:

The Choral New Yorker: Fine's language and use of accompaniment (one

Let's touch the sky: Louise Talma uses flute, oboe, and bassoon to
accompany her setting of e.e. cummings' poem.

A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map: Barber uses male chorus and tympani.

Finally, I performed The Sym Psalms w. Britten's Festival Te Deum. If one pianist is also an organist, it can work.
This is hard!

I have grappled with this several times. Not an easy one. However, I THINK that Don Grantham wrote a piece for women's chorus and orchestra with the same orchestration. I have several times spoken to Bill Bolcom and a few other composers about what a great idea it would be to write a piece for the exact orchestration of the Symphony of Psalms. Wouldn't it be great to have a new fabulous piece by a superb composer with that orchestration. And it
might even establish itself - instead of getting a premiere and one other performance!

Have written two works without fiddles:
San Chronicle (single winds, brass, piano-celeste, harp, vlas, vc & db - about 20 min) - recorded on Naxos as part of my San Gloria CD ("Five African Songs") and a Te Deum (SATB, winds, brass, perc, harp, organ and lower strings

- circa 25 min) - no commercial recording available.

Dr Peter Louis van Dijk

David Griggs-Janower
228 Placid Drive
Schenectady, NY 12303-5118
518/356-9155; 518/442-4167 (w)

Albany Pro Musica
PO Box 3850
Albany, NY 12203-0850
Ph: (518) 438-6548

Music Department - PAC
Univ at Albany
Albany NY 12222
SUNYA Music department fax: 518/442-4182
UAlbany Chamber Singers:
UAlbany Chorale:

"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." Berthold Auerbach

"Although nature has gifted us all with voices, correct singing is the result of art and study." Aristotle

"Why waste money on psychotherapy when you can just listen to the B Minor Mass?" Michael Torke

"The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils...Let no such man be trusted." Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice (and Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music)

Original request:
Looking for suggestions for a work by a Russian composer to go on
program with Stravinsky Symphony of Psalms. 15-30 minutes long
Something other than Rachmaninoff.
Cantata "Alexander Nevsky" by S. Prokofiev.
It is longer, around 40 min.
1. Mov'ts from Alexander Nevsky - Prokofiev
2. Coronation scene: Boris Godounov - Borodin - (10-12 min)
If you want to reduce the text-learning load, you could do "The
Cherubic Hymn" set by Lomakin, Glinka, and Bortniansky. (all pub.
Musica Russica). Really lovely a cappella settings, and it is the
church music that Stravinsky would have known. Of course, any other
scores by these composers would also be useful. Also, don't forget
Stravinksky's own 3 church settings: To the Mother of God, Our
Father, and Creed. (pub. Boosey).
Try some Vasiliy Titov, maybe selesctions from his Mass in G. A great,
entertaingin piece. You can hear samples of it at Musica Rusica's
In answer to your posting, try this fabulous Hebrew Anthem (which
means "we give thanks") You can view a sample page of sheet music at
Please feel free to visit my web page at

You will hear audio tracks from my cantata Canticles of Love, Despair,
and Hope that now is getting published by E.C.Schirmer. I think it
would go perfectly with the Symphony of Psalms. The orchestra is
small, the parts are easy and won't take much rehearsal time. The
piece received a standing ovation from the audience at its premiere
and is very audience-friendly.
The web page also has a Russian a cappella piece A Northern Tale,
track 6.

Kirill Dyachkov
You might like to look into the music of Sviridov (I think there is
some from Musica Russica Publishers) There is a lovely suite of
pieces "Music to the Play "Czar Fyodor Ioannovich" after Tolstoi
(1973) - the second movement of which is the stunning vocalise for
choir and with texted soprano solo that was heard in the film Dead Man
Walking. Also Sviridov - "A Pushkin Wreath: Concerto for Chorus"

Our former doctoral student Kyrill Dyachkov from Moscow also might
have some ideas (kdyachko(a) and he a also is a composer now
to be published by E.C Schirmer if you want a newer piece by a Russian
now American. His recital composition was actually a cantata based on
texts by Emily Dickinson and St John of the Cross "Canticles of love,
despair and hope : (2006) ( - beautiful - and also not in Russian
(English and Spanish) - perhaps an interesting foil to Stravinsky -
Russian/American and Symphony of Psalms not in Russian. I'm sure he
would be happy to forward you a recording if you are interested.

You might also want to look into some of Marika Kuzma's new editions
of the Bortiansky choral concerti (Musica Russica) if you want a
contrasting period.


Thanks for your ideas.
Bob Eaton

on November 11, 2006 10:00pm
My favorite pairings with the Stravinsky SofP are long Schuetz or Gabrielli double/triple choir motets, with winds on the smaller choir and brass on the larger. If you have a solo quartet as one of the choirs in a triple choir motet, you can even use the celli as a basso continuo for the smallest choir. That genre is a wonderful match stylistically, as well. There are any number of great pieces to choose from. To add interest (and a bit of difference) to the program, I'd use the spatial resources of the venue to put the various choirs/instrumental ensembles in different corners/balconies of the hall.
on August 21, 2007 10:00pm

I tried for a palindromic program (that is, preceding the Symphony of Psalms with settings of the same psalms by other composers, in reverse order). Schutz's Psalm 150 worked well to open the program -- two SATB choirs on stage and two brass choirs, up in the balcony. Parry's unaccompanied setting of Psalm 38 (Lord, Let Me Know Mine End) from the Songs of Farewell gave a nice warm contrast. Then I got stuck, and never did find a good candidate to match Psalm 39, so the palindrome was incomplete. Any ideas?

Psalm 150 (Schutz) ... Alleluja, Lobet den Herren
Psalm 39 ............. ________________________
Psalm 38 (Parry) ... Lord, Let Me Know My End
Psalm 38 (Stravinsky)
Psalm 39 (Stravinsky)
Psalm 150 (Stravinsky)

on September 7, 2008 10:00pm
For something really really hard, try the Lutoslawski "Trois Poemes"... I think in this case, the Stravinsky would be considered the "add-on" work!!!! And of course you'd need another conductor, but those are a dime a dozen
on September 21, 2008 10:00pm
does anyone know where i can listen to Parry/lord let me know mine end online----free!