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Major work for High School?

I am looking for suggestions for a major work for my high school choir. The group is a non-select choir with above average abilities and a few soloists. In the past we have done Faure's Requiem, Vivaldi's Gloria. and the Rutter Requiem. I am curious as to what some of you have done and how your students reacted to it. All input is most welcome. Thanks.
on October 15, 2009 11:47am
Phillip,
  I built the program on Carmina Burana. The piece always mysteriously found it's way into my folder (and theirs) Eventually, my choirs performed Carmina five times. I even took an all-male ensemble to a choral festival with the first movement and In Taberna ( Carmina usually doubles ST-AB). I have also performed Bach, St John Passion, Lobet de Herrn, Singet dem Herrn; Stravinsky, Symphony of Psalms, Rutter, Mass of the Children, Gloria, Magnificat,and Requiem; Honegger, King David; Faure, Requiem. With my Women's Chorale, I performed Vaughan Williams, Magnificat; Vivaldi, Gloria; Britten, Ceremony of Carols, Missa Brevis; Deliebes, Missa Brevis.
 
  If you build the expectation, the singers will always expect the highest from themselves. Each of my three ensembles expected their own major piece every concert.
S
on October 15, 2009 4:55pm
There are a number of works that can be performed with High School groups. Are you looking for works with full orchestra? The Cherubini Requiem Mass In Cminor has no soloists, the range is right in the tessitura for most experienced high school singers. A huanting and dramaic work that will be challenging but will be perfect for the a good high school concert choir. The Dies Irae is one of the most engaging, dramatic, haunting, and the message just migh cause you to change your ways!
Of course, there is always the opportunity to invite a local church choir or two to join in too.
My high school choirs were always eager to take on these kinds of challenges. Of course at first they needed a bit of inspiration, but after they became familiar with the music, you couldn't get them to stop singing it. I never could quite figure that aspect of teaching high school students. They would complain and want to sing easier music..... until they learned the hard stuff. And then, on the bus to where ever... they would sing the hard stuff...
One work that is perfect for High School groups is the Sacred Cantata by Dr. Michael Kissinger. It is actually a work based the style of Gospel. The solos are excellent and well within the ranges of good high school singers. The work is for piano and SATB with solos. However, I would add a bass and drum set for a little more dramatics. You can see and hear a little of it by going to Sound Music Publications: www.smpjazz.com. Let me know if you would like to hear more of the work.
Good luck and bless you for doing good literature with you groups.
Frank DeMiero
on October 16, 2009 6:55am
Phillip,

On the order of difficulty that you have suggested above, try these:

Mozart Coronation Mass
Mozart Credo Mass
Vivaldi Magnificat
Britten Rejoice in the Lamb (a bit more challenging)
Basler Missa Kenya (a bit more challenging)

Enjoy the journey.

Robert Russell
Portland ME

on October 16, 2009 7:26am
If you've got capable soloists (sounds like you do) the Schubert Mass in G is wonderful.  I know the Walla Walla, Wa High School performed the entire thing a couple years ago.  I've only done the "Kyrie" with my large group.  Not having an orchestra is a bit of a bummer, but the piano reduction seems to work.
 
 
Mike
on October 16, 2009 8:05am
Dear Phil,
I would like to send to you interesting music for sopran, bass, mixed choir and organ, but I would need your mail address for it.
Jiri Laburda
on October 16, 2009 9:56am
 Since we're all talking sacred works here, you may want to consider John Stainer's "The Crucifixion". Tenor and Baritone soli, good 4-part men's writing. I was able to do it with my church choir two years in and they loved it! It is also orchestrated if you'd be interested in that version.
on October 16, 2009 9:38pm
 Here are a few major/extended work ideas that might be worth exploring depending upon the skill level of your ensemble:
 
Handel Coronation Anthems (esp. Zadok the Priest)
Hanson Song of Democracy
Haydn Little Organ Mass
Purcell Come Ye Sons of Art
Rutter Gloria
Schubert Mass in G
Vivaldi Magnificat
 
Another thought is to program selections from specific genres (e.g. oratorio, opera, missa eclectica).
 
Best wishes!
 
on October 17, 2009 8:10am
My non select group did Randall Thompson's "Frostiana" in its entirety. There are seven song which could be purchased seperately or, I believe, in one score. It was a challenge for them, but not impossible.
 
If you'd like something more modern, John Leavitt has a wonderful Requiem as well.
on October 17, 2009 11:04am
The Peaceable Kingdom by Randall Thompson is gorgeous!
 
John R
on October 18, 2009 4:39pm
A Bluegrass Mass - Barnett has been been a popular work.  Your students would love it!
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