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What Are Your Favorite Choral Works

Imagine we discover intelligent life on another planet and you are asked to suggest three choral works that represent the best of humanity.  What three would you suggest? 
Replies (19): Threaded | Chronological
on September 28, 2013 2:38pm
The B minor mass says it all
Applauded by an audience of 2
on September 28, 2013 2:43pm
The Musica International project has a feature called the "Favorite Piece of the Month" that is running now since 1998.
Go to and discover it there.
In the other direction, every choral conductor is invited to suggest his (her) favorite piece. So we are tuned. Please keep in touch with Musica for sharing.
Best regards,
Jean Sturm
on September 28, 2013 2:52pm
Brahms' Requiem
Bach's B minor mass
Bernstein's Chichester Psalms
For fun? Briggs' The Lord's Prayer 
You've never heard it?  Shame on you!  It's soul shaking!
Applauded by an audience of 1
on September 28, 2013 3:12pm
Jack, since humanity is not confined to Europe, here are my three suggestions.
Ketjak  This is an amazing Balinese chant as featured on the VOICES triple CD compiled by Joachim Ernst Berendt (not available in print although earthsongs publishes a Balinese chant that uses elelments of Ketjak).
N'Kosi Sikelel'i Afrika by Enoch Sontonga  This is the powerful anthem of the African National Congress (now a part of the South African anthem).   Available from World Music Press as an octavo.
The Promise Of Living  by Aaron Copland (Boosey & Hawkes)
Nick Page
Applauded by an audience of 1
on September 28, 2013 6:30pm
Hi Nick - Musica INTERNATIONAL is not confined to Europe!!! (if that's what's implied.)
the irreverent
on September 28, 2013 3:40pm
Everyone's going for extravaganza!
I'd like to include at least one smaller, more intimate work:
Poulenc's "Gloria" or
Randall Thompson's "Alleluia"
But if it HAS to be bigger,
Bernstein's "Mass", but then you'd have to explain it.
Of course, you're still going to have a hard time translating anything into Aldebaran without losing a lot. Which is an argument for the Alleluia.
Although, for all we know, they may prefer Stravinsky's "Symphony of Psalms".
Applauded by an audience of 1
on September 29, 2013 1:36pm
Is life on or near Aldebaran a literary reference?  
on September 29, 2013 3:02pm
Apparently I have absorbed it over a lifetime of reading science fiction. (And watching Star Trek.)
But I really grabbed it as the imaginary alien culture whose name rolled off the tongue (fingers) the best.
As an irrelevant aside, FANTASTIC job on your school's performance of "Chemicals Collide"! The rain alone was worth a video.
on September 28, 2013 3:45pm
I mentioned the VOICES triple CD compiled by Joachim Ernst Berendt.  People might not know about it.
It has samples of great "choral" singing from the planet Earth from Balinese chant to the B Minor Mass to Chassidic Chant to Black Gospel to Bulgarian.
We humans have much to be proud of.
Nick Page
Amen from Handel’s Messiah
Easter Hymn, Moscow     
Three Hasidic Songs
Arc Descents, Harmonic Choir
Praise The Lord, Bach      
Ya Allah, Sufi
Lord I Know, I've Been Changed
Said I Wasn't Gonna Tell Nobody        
Sanctus, Whales Paul Winter               
Ave Formo Carmina Burana
Misa Luba movements   
Om Namaha Shivaya     
Otche Nash Russian Our Father
Mantra/Stabat Mater from The Arts at St. Ann's
Lux Aeterna Ligeti           
Bamnqobile Ladysmith Black Mambazo      
Ketjak  Bali  
Dies Irae Mozart
Requiem, Rex Mozart
Lietuva Bragi Lithuanian
Sakura Sakura!                  
Soto Ritual Japanese Zen
La Illaha Illa 'la Hu (Zikr)              
Spis Li Milke Bulgares
Laudate Dominum Palestrina  
Tri Jetrve Slovenia           
Overtone Choir Dusseldorf       
Hosanna  B Minor Mass   
on September 28, 2013 4:54pm
Thanks for mentioning Paul Winter.
Since we've abandoned the top 3 idea, I'd like to add Winter's "Missa Gaia".
And his "Icarus" has already gone into space, on one of the space station trips.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on September 28, 2013 6:39pm
Hi Jack,
Reincarnations – Samuel Barber (Why are these little masterpiecs so rarely performed?)
Requiem – John Rutter
Reflections on Walden Pond – anonymous
Great question! All I need is a desert island and a CD player...
Applauded by an audience of 1
on September 28, 2013 7:28pm
Twenty pieces tied for second place so I’ll have to just give you my first place winner:  Josquin’s Ave Maria.
Does anyone else have Meredith Monk on their short list?
Applauded by an audience of 1
on September 28, 2013 11:05pm
Hands down, Joby Talbot's "Path of Miracles."
Applauded by an audience of 1
on September 29, 2013 4:35am
Agree on the B minor mass.
Biebl Ave Maria
Stanford Beati quorum via
list is endless, of course...
Applauded by an audience of 1
on September 29, 2013 10:44am
!. Bach "Bmi Mass"
2.Durufle "Requiem"
3.Stravinsky "Symphony Of Psalms"
4.Finzi "Lo, The Full And Final Sacrifice" (listen to the final Amen!)
Applauded by an audience of 1
on September 30, 2013 6:16pm
I second the suggestion of Paul Winter's "Missa Gaia" -- wonderful evocative work.
My other two:  like so many have suggested, the Bach Bmin Mass; and Brahms Requiem.
Lana Mountford
Bellingham, WA
on October 1, 2013 2:08pm
Rachmaninoff Vespers
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on October 2, 2013 4:36am
I can't do better than the pieces already suggested, except maybe to take slightly different tack. The question seems to imply pieces of stature, e.g., Bach B Minor Mass. I'll suggest a few that have had a viscereal appeal for me, even if the pieces themselves might be thought of as more pedestrian. Some of these are the "next-door neighbors" in music, as opposed to "popes, kings, and presidents." (Okay, some may have a bit of stature, too, but here goes.)
Respighi: Laud to the Nativity
Fauré: Requiem, Tantum Ergo (op. 65, no. 2), Cantique de Jean Racine
Vaughan Williams: Serenade to Music
Verdi: Requiem
Duruflé: Ubi caritas
Appalachian carol: Judah's Land (I'll justify this one with a performance, though my experience of it is through another group: )
Admittedly, some of these are on the list because of a personal experience with them, a sort of "Tennessee Waltz" effect. But these were strong choral experiences, and the pieces themselves made the individual experiences possible.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on October 2, 2013 6:25am
This is my first post on ChoralNet.  I would echo those who answered Brahms' German Requiem.
Thought I would also mention that tonight I am conducting the premiere of a new original composition entitled 'A Clear Midnight' for SATB a cappella.  It's first on the program and the live streaming will be available here at 8:30 PM Eastern.
Very glad to join the conversation and I look forward to listening to those works named above which are as yet unfamiliar.
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