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Programming help: In Windsor Forest

I'm creating an hour-long concert based around Vaughan Williams' "In Windsor Forest" and I'm not sure what else to program with it. I've thought of things like "Serenade to Music" or the Three Shakespeare Songs, but I'm not sure the group I will have would be able to pull these off in the time we'll have available to prep. The rest of the program doesn't necessarily need to use the orchestra and could include acappella pieces, but they should not have too much divisi as if I do any acappella, it would likely be with a subset of the whole group and can't divide too much.
 
The whole group will probably (hopefully) be around 40 voices, probably more women than men, adult amateur group. We'll probably only have about eight weeks to prepare, with rehearsal once a week. Anyone have any suggestions? Anything is welcome!
on April 30, 2014 2:56am
I'd suggest expanding the Shakespeare theme to include other composers - there have been several posts on here about Shakespeare-related music. You might find my setting of "Come Away, Death" from Twelfth Night useful - http://www.hutchingsmusic.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/comeawaydeath-watermarked.pdf - it's for SATB choir, no divisi, and reasonably easy with no tricky leaps or key changes, the first performance was by a very amateur choir indeed and still went very well. You could have the choir parts doubled by instruments (happy to supply transposed versions on request, depending what instruments you have) or a keyboard reduction, which I can supply.
Chris
on April 30, 2014 6:20am
The middle section of my New Lovelife Dances would suit, I'd think.   I always hate to read things like "we need easy new music because all our rehearsal time is taken with difficult old music", however.   The orchestra directors often say the same.
 
Marlowe, #4, Come with me and be my love
Shakespeare, #5, What thou seest when thou dost wake (from midsummer night's dream)
Shakespeare, #6, It was a lover and a lass (from as you like it)
skip #7 Byron Maid of Athens
Shakespeare, #8, Ask me no reason (from merry wives of windsor)
 
www.hartenshield.com/newlovelife.html    It's for 4-hand piano accompaniment, but if you are planning next spring or late fall, I'd be interested in arranging some or all for a no-keyboard instrumental ensemble, have been sketching that already.
 
Here's an example of my writing for ensemble and voice:   https://soundcloud.com/williamcopper/magnificat-10-duet-suscepit-israel  with a score link there.   Five instruments + SA. 
 
 
William
on April 30, 2014 12:25pm
I'd recommend the music of prolific New Zealand composer David Hamilton (david(a)dbhmusic.co.nz) who has written a couple of very singable sets of songs based on Shakespeare, including "A Shakesperian Garland" which would complement "Windsor "Forest" admirably.
on April 30, 2014 3:45pm
Kiersten -- It would be a shame not to use the orchestra when you have it, methinks.  What about something American from roughly the same period?  Howard Hanson's "Lament for Beowulf" would stand up well alongside the Vaughan Williams.  I think you'd need another bassoon and a couple more brass, but it would be fun.  Leo Sowerby's cantata "The Vision of Sir Launfal" could work, although you'd need some soloists and a children's choir.  Sowerby's "Canticle of the Sun" requires fewer forces and is simpler, but still good -- it won the Pulitzer Prize after all.  It's about 30'.  Arthur Shepherd's The City In The Sea is earlier than "Windsor Forest" (1913) but seems similar in harmonic language.  I've never heard it performed, unfortunately.  But the score is public domain and available via GoogleBooks.  
 
Good luck, chris
on May 1, 2014 7:39am
Kiersten:
 
Might I recommend:
Vaughan Williams Shakespeare Songs (you can choose the easier ones)
Berlioz La Mort d'Ophelie (SSA)
John Tavener Song for Athene
Rutter Birthday Madrigals (jazzy and lots of fun- uses Shakespeare texts)
 
Good luck, 
Andrea Goodman
 
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