Nordic Choir
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Can a choir survive and even thrive on a repertoire of only "Ave Maria" settings?

A few thoughts:
1.  Does a choir need a (more) varied repertoire to keep participants occupied /  interested / challenged? 
2. The Ave Maria is probably the one text that has been used most often by composers through history and "comes in all shapes and colors". There's  variety and challenge for you. 
 
Check out my website: www.avemariasongs.org 
  • There are currently more than 3000 different Ave Maria settings listed of over 2800 composers, ranging from c1000AD through contemporary. That listing is of course quite incomplete.
  • More than 1600 Ave Marias have been documented with a musical score, MIDI and/or audio/video recordings.
  • More than 660 Ave Marias are available in MIDI format. 
  • Hundreds of  (non-copyrighted) scores can be downloaded for free.
 
An invitation, a challenge: 
  • Anyone interested to give it a try?
  • Anyone interested to take a more moderate approach and include a variety of Ave Maria settings in their choir's repertoire?  
  • Please make recordings / videos, and if of good enough quality to represent your choir, post them on YouTube. :-)
    Who knows, maybe that can grow into some kind of contest? 

     
 
Replies (3): Threaded | Chronological
on April 20, 2010 8:31am
Geert:  Someone needs to cast a dissenting vote, and it might as well be me!
 
I once planned a program (this for an Early Music Ensemble) that was all different settings of the Magnificat.  There was good musical variety, since we started with chant and went through 16th and 17th century settings and ended with Johann Christian Bach.  But my singers almost revolted, and I didn't feel that I could program ANY Magificat until that particular bunch of singers had graduated.
 
Of course I don't believe in the kind of concert that programs, say, all of the Bach Motets, either, although some people do like that kind of programming.  Variety is the spice of life, and spice is good!
 
So no, I would never program a complete program of Ave Marias.  On the other hand, David Schildkret did a graduate recital of all DIFFERENT Marian texts (subtitled "Mary Was a Grand Old Gal," at least among us singers!) that was VERY successful programming.
 
John
 
 
on April 20, 2010 10:09am
John said (in part): "Of course I don't believe in the kind of concert that programs, say, all of the Bach Motets, either, although some people do like that kind of programming.  Variety is the spice of life, and spice is good!"
 
Yes, variety is great. It's a good thing that the Bach motets present such a variety of form, texture, affect, tonal and vocal color, etc., etc. ...  :-)  Several weeks ago it was my privilege to sing in a performance of all six Bach motets, presented by the all-professional ensemble CONCORA (www.concora.org) and a small consort from the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. The concert, which had been highly anticipated in our community, was a stunningly beautiful performance (OK, I'm biased) . Audience and critics had warm praise. Here's a link to the review in the Hartford Courant :
 
 
CONCORA presents an annual all-Bach concert, generally with one motet and 2 cantatas. We are currently working through the Missa Brevae, which are rarely performed (though much of their music is familiar as Bach re-used much of it in cantatas and vice versa).
 
Of course, any programming is a matter of taste - the taste of the music director who creates the program, and the taste of an audience who comes to hear it. In the case of programs like all-Bach, or all "Ave Maria," or an entire concert of music by a single composer, much depends on the skill of the ensemble to present the material with excellence and conviction.
 
Sarah Hager Johnston
GraceNotes
 
 
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