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REAL Lenten Church Music, anyone?

I'm a church music director with an amateur, but ambitious, choir of about 20.  I'm looking for accessible sacred music for the season of Lent, but I'm sick of all the corny stuff coming out of OCP, GIA, WLP, etc.  I am looking for Bach, Brahms, Bruckner, Tchaikovsky, Palestrina, etc.  AKA "real" music.  Suggestions, anyone?
Replies (18): Threaded | Chronological
on January 14, 2013 2:21pm
Sir John Stainer's "God So Loved the World" should be accessible for that kind of group and is stunning.
Applauded by an audience of 2
on January 14, 2013 3:48pm
Everything there is public domain and the only cost is for the copy machine.
on January 14, 2013 6:54pm
Peter:  I hear ya, friend, and I wish you luck!!
The problem is that very often music was not performed during Lent, or at least not until Holy Week at the end.  I don't thinkg Bach's churches had music during Lent, but that's what gave him the time to compose his Passion settings for Good Friday.  But part of the problem is that you immediately run into foreign languages--from Latin on--when you start looking at composers of "real" music.
All the best,
on January 15, 2013 4:58am
I have to protest - GIA has been providing some very good music, especially in their "Ars Antiqua Choralis" series.  Yes, there's a lot of "na-na-na" music (as I call it) around, but there's also an awful lot of good, "real" music (please, let's not get into what is meant by that!).
GIA has published a "Domine" by Michel-Richard Delalande, arr. by Proulx (I believe) in that series - it's in both English and Latin; a "Vere languores" in both Latin and English by Antonio Lotti; a "God So Loved the World," a retexted and stepped down (a whole step) English version of a Bruckner church motet, which I understand is part of a larger set of similar music published still by GIA (though the individual octavo is no longer in print) - all of these are things my 15-voice choir work on.
Oxford University Press has a series of "Ash Wednesday to Easter for Choirs" with music from Gregorian Chant, Byrd, Wesley, Walton, Anerio, Händl, Victoria, Ives, Bruckner, Peeters, etc.  There's more than enough material there for several years' worth of Lents!
CPDL has material such as "Drop, Drop Slow Tears" and "If Ye Love Me" by Gibbons and Tallis, respectively - and there's oodles of stuff out there in CPDL suitable to the season.
Have fun - and go look.
Chantez bien!
Applauded by an audience of 2
on January 15, 2013 6:16am
If you're looking for sacred music that has integrity to it (which, by your comment, I assume you are), take a look at Paraclete Press Sacred Music.  Here is a link to Lenten Sacred choral music:
Applauded by an audience of 2
on January 15, 2013 9:40am
I agree... Paraclete Press has a fine collection of music in their catalog. They are also a most pleasant company to deal with. I seriously suggest you give them a good look.
Phil Micheal
on January 15, 2013 9:43am
Another publisher worth taking into consideration is Morningstar Music. Their website is GREAT and loaded with lots of audio samples.
Phil Micheal
on January 15, 2013 9:18pm
A few pieces off the top of my head:
"Lord, for Thy Tender Mercy's Sake" (Farrant?); one of numerous editions available at
"Lord Jesus, Think on Me" (Richard Kenneth Fitzgerald, GIA), an SAB gem:
"In All Our Grief and Fear We Turn to You" (Thomas Keesecker, Augsburg); easy 2-part piece with piano; I've had the congregation join at the "Lord, have mercy's":
For Maundy Thursday, the setting of "Ubi Caritas" by Durufle ...
... or the even more recent setting by Ola Gjeilo:
Consider the music of the French Dominican Andre Gouzes. There are things to be mined in his Mass of the Samaritan Woman (especially the Entrance Antiphon and "Let All Who Thirst Come Unto Me"), An Evening Prayer for Lent, A Sunday Vigil, the Rangueil Mass: 
Paul Buckley
Applauded by an audience of 1
on January 16, 2013 5:58am
If your acoustic is a good one (unlike ours here at Ft. Belvoir Woodlawn Chapel - that's right, naming names!) please do look hard at the Gouzes material.  In a proper acoustical setting, it is stunning.
on January 16, 2013 1:58pm
O Lord, Increase My Faith - Orlando Gibbons (we use the GIA edition, but you might find it on CPDL)
Miserere Mei - Antonio Lotti, pub. by Boosey & Hawkes  (YouTube has recordings)
I Will Arise - Robert Shaw/Alice Parker arrangement (works for "Prodigal Son" reading)
God So Loved the World - John Stainer (also mentioned above - and one of my favorites!)  CPDL
O Vos Omnes [O all ye that pass by] - Victoria  (Palm Sunday/Good Friday)
on January 16, 2013 9:59pm
Late 20th century, "real," A capella settings (with some divisi) of three hymn texts--"Three Lenten Hymn Meditations "by Dwight Gustafson (Flammer/Shawnee) (Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed, Depth of Mercy,  Just As I Am).  MY favorite settings of these texts, and the choir I directed for many years, comprised of people who love good music of substance wanted to do them every year.
on January 16, 2013 10:51pm
Dear Peter, 
You might consider this setting of Ubi Caritas, which is being used by several churches this year for Maundy Thursday:  You can click through the score as you listen.
Best wishes,
Frank La Rocca
on January 17, 2013 3:36pm
Call To Remembrance, O Lord - Richard Farrent (16th c.),  Arista Music 
Christus factus est pro nobis obediens - from "Three Graduals for the Church Year for Mixed Voices - by Bruckner (19th c.).  Chromatic.  I have a Peters Corp. edition, but it may be in CPDL as well.  Translation of the Latin text refers to the scripture, "Christ became obedient for us unto death....".
on January 18, 2013 6:47am
Dear Peter,
If you're willing to consider new works that are in a style that follows on from Bruckner and others, then might I suggest my settings of "Crux Fidelis" and "O Vos Omnes"? Have a listen and let me know what you think. They're in a very similar style to the three Bruckner graduals that Terri mentions above.
Crux Fidelis - SATB, 1 minute, fairly easy (no accidentals) but requires precise tuning for the occasional biting discord.
£10/$15 for a PDF, print as many copies as you need.
O Vos Omnes - six part choir (SMezATBarB), slightly trickier with occasional cluster chords but still tonal
£15/$23 for a PDF, print as many copies as you need
Please email me if interested in ordering either. I'll throw in a discount if you order both!
Yours sincerely,
Chris Hutchings
on January 21, 2013 5:49am
I am using a setting of the Agnus Dei by Antonio Lotti during Lent.
on January 22, 2013 5:11am
We've done Poulenc's four lenten motets a couple times. The first time we sang them it moved me to tears.
on January 22, 2013 6:09am
A couple more GIA editions:  these two by Richard Robert Rossi:  "Ave verum Corpus" and "God So Loved the World."  Can be found by accessing GIA's website.  A modern take on the Palestrina (and company) "stile antico."
on January 22, 2013 2:00pm
Hi Peter,
You can find some wonderful Lenten music from Musica Russica.
As far as real Lenten music goes, you can't get any more "real" than Gretchaninoff's monumental Passion Week.
Hope this helps!
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