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University level SSAA Contemporary accapella pieces

Hello!
I am looking for a contemporary piece for an advanced University women's choir that is accapella, uses sophisticated English text and is lyrical.  I would especially love to work on dissonances, suspensions and rubato or tempo changes to emphasis text.  
 
Many thanks!
 
 
Replies (24): Threaded | Chronological
on November 29, 2012 7:14am
Many pieces by Joan Szymko fit what you are describing. Definitely worth a look...
on November 30, 2012 12:06pm
I highly recommend "Solitude" by Canadian composer Stephen Smith (smithstephen(a)shaw.ca).  You can see my notes about it here: http://www.elektra.ca/index.php?lookup=repertoire&by=pc&pcpg=S&pc=490#pc490
 
Written in 2011, it's scored for SSAA and piano.  Elektra has a recording of it on our "Pure Elektra" CD.  The single track is available on iTunes.
 
My singers and I love this piece because it is dark and evocative, beautifully mirroring the poem by well-known Canadian poet, Lorna Crozier.  Definitely university level in terms of harmonic language and expressive possibilities.
 
Other good choices from Elektra's repertoire would be:
 
a cappella: "Da Pacem" by Jeffrey Enns, "Hear My Prayer" by Tobin Stokes
with piano: "Harp of Wild" by Allan Bevan, "How the Blossoms are Falling" by Ramona Luengen
 
Best of luck!
Morna Edmundson, Artistic Director
Elektra Women's Choir
 
on November 30, 2012 4:13pm
Hi, Ruth,
 
Your request did ask for an "English" piece, but the replies have been all over the globe, so I will throw Russian into the mix. 
 
When I first heard Yuri Yukechev's cantata "My Heart is ready" (Gotovo serdtse moyo), as premiered by the Russian Chamber Chorus of New York, I had never heard of this composer, but I immediately said to myself, We *must* publish this work! Fortunately, the composer and the conductor were mutual friends from Novosibirsk, and so publication occurred in 1999. 
 
The appeal of this work lies in its variety of sonorities, textures, colors, and moods: there are 8 movements, each of which adds a voice, so it begins with unison writing and ends with 8 parts. The psalm verses chosen by the composer are mostly "one-liners" and very easy for non-Russians to negotiate, especially with our audio diction aids. The music, while contemporary, is quite evocative and appealing, having many of those qualities that you are seeking. The overall length is approximately 25 minutes.
 
You can also link to the CD here: 
 
Choral folks love the BIG names -- Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Chesnokov. But there are other Russian composers out there worthy of note!
 
Vlad Morosan
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