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TTBB rep in French or by French composers

I am a choral conductor of a university Men's choir in NY. Our choral head decided to stick with the theme of All things France for our fall semester concert next year and I am having a hard time of coming up with appropriate repertoire.
 
My choir:
16-20 Men
Anyone can join so they can't tackle serious college rep - more like really good high school rep.
 
Anything related to France (ie the name), in French or composed by a french composer!!!
 
Thank you
-Rebecca
Replies (9): Threaded | Chronological
on March 29, 2013 8:15am
Hi Rebecca - I've done all of the following over the years with the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus.  Some might be a bit too challenging, but I'm listing them all so you're aware of them. If you'd like to peruse any of them, just let me know off-list.
 
Gary Holt, Artistic Director
San Diego Gay Men's Chorus
artisticdirector@sdgmc.org
 
Psaume 121 - Darius Milhaud (a cappella)
Saltarelle - Saint-Saens
I Love Paris - Cole Porter
Little Boy Lost - Michel Legrand (I revoiced Teena Chinn's SATB arr.)
Madeleine - Jacques Brel (This one would be GREAT for your guys as a fun, novelty number)
Cantique de Jean Racine - Faure
Sanctus - from Requiem by Maurice Durufle (I have a TBB version)
Dirait-On - Lauridsen
What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life? - Michel Legrand
 
And if you're up for a real challenge, Charles Baker set a Verlaine poem text to the music of Debussy's Clair de Lune, for TTBB and piano.
 
 
on March 29, 2013 8:57am
Hi Rebecca,
 
In addition to Gary's great list, I'd add:
 
Les Fleurs et les arbres - Saint-Saens
Calme des Nuit - Saint-Saens
Danse Macabre - Saint-Saens (an old TTBB arrangement of the orchestral piece-kind of funny)
Invocation - Debussy
Messe cum jubilo - Duruflé (you could do a movement of this unison mass accompanied by keyboard)
Tru, Tru, Trut Avant - Richafort (a 3-part a cappella drinking song, very rousing and not too hard)
 
You should be able to find YouTube performances of most of the music on our lists. If you need more info on anything, feel free to contact me by clicking on my name (in this message) and then clicking on "Contact this user." Bonne chance!
on March 29, 2013 8:59am
Not sure if French-Canadian is close enough, but I've done the Missa Brevis and Ave Maria of Denis Bedard. Both are lovely and definitely doable with your numbers. He also has a setting of the Lord's Prayer in French - I haven't done that one, but it might be worth checking out.
 
If you're willing, please share your program once you've got it done.
 
     -Daniel
 
----------
Daniel J. Singer
Director of Music, University School
Assistant Director, Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus
on March 29, 2013 1:24pm
Hi Rebecca! IMHO, many of these suggestions are a bit beyond the skill level you describe in your initial post. Here are some suggestions, pulled from pieces I used with my men's group a few years ago, as well as a plan for an all-French concert for my men which never materialized:
 
Alice Parker's arrangement of "Vive l'Amour".
 
Poulenc's "La Belle si Nous Etions" from Chansons Francaises is much more accessible than nearly all of the rest of his TTBB output.
 
I would echo Frank's suggection of the Richafort and Durufle. The choral parts are actually unison and features a baritone soloist. The music, of course, is gorgeous.
 
Gary's recommendation of "Dirait-on" would fit a group like this as well...
 
Saint-Saens wrote many pieces for men, most of which I am unfamiliar with (so tread carefully with these), but the ones I am familiar with are fairly accessible but would provide a bit of a challenge. Among his TTBB output, we have:
Aux aviateurs (op. 134)
Aux mineurs (op. 137)
Chanson d´ancêtre (op. 53:2)
Chants d´automne (op. 113)
Hymne au printemps (op. 138)
Hymne au travail (op. 142)
La gloire (op. 131)
Le matin (op. 129)
 
Einojuhai Rautavaara did a cycle for men's voices called "Elämän kirja", consisting of 11 movements. Movements 2,3 and 8 are in French. These may be a bit difficult, although I did a couple of the english movements fairly easily.
 
I have a TTBB arrangement of Ravel's "Chanson epique" from his Don Quichotte cycle for baritone that worked pretty well, too.
 
Also take a look on Musicanet.org as well as Orphei Drangar's formidible and well-organized database (http://subito.od.se/).
 
Cheers!
on March 29, 2013 2:21pm
I had no idea there were so many more TTBB Saint-Saëns pieces. Thanks for the additional list, Adam! 
 
As someone who's conducted the entire Rautavaara "Book of Life," I can tell you that nothing there would be easy or accessible for a small college group (except possibly the one movement in which he set an Emily Dickinson poem). The piece is incredible, but fiendishly difficult, though there's an amazing recording by YL, the Finnish choir for whom it was written. It might be the longest a cappella work for TTBB that I know of...
 
In addition to the fantastic OD library for which Adam has provided a link (make sure to click on the UK flag to get to the English part of the site!), one of my choruses, the Washington Men's Camerata, maintains the National Library of Men's Choral Music here in Washington, DC. You can access the online database through our website at www.camerata.com. We've taken in the libraries from schools that no longer have men's choruses, like Princeton, Colgate, Temple, Dartmouth, Yale, plus several from defunct men's singing societies, as well as our own substantial collection. The cataloging work isn't done yet, but it's a great resource, and easily the largest TTBB library in the US.
 
 
on April 5, 2013 6:25pm
Thank you all so much. I have to program by the middle of the month for budget purposes so I will let you know what it turns out being. I only need 4-5 songs for my set in the concert (3 choirs and combined pieces). I was also thinking of arranging Michelle by the Beatles as sort of a fun easy song for them... there is French in it - it works!!!
 
Thanks again and keep the suggestions coming!
on January 20, 2014 9:36pm
Rebecca,
 
What did you ever end up choosing to program for this concert?
 
Harv Wileman
on January 20, 2014 9:41pm
Oh, I'm sorry, I just saw your later posting in this forum in which you were looking for a "Michelle, ma belle" arrangement in which you told your rep. Good progrtamming.
 
Harv
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