Advertise on ChoralNet 
ChoralNet logo
The mission of the ACDA is to inspire excellence in choral music through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.

So British!

Greetings to the ChoralNet Community!
I think there is no better place in the world to ask my question than this forum. 
We, my french choir and I, plan on putting together a "So British!" program with repertoire spanning from Purcell to Rutter. 
We are only engaging à brass ensemble + percussion + orgue. 
We have already chosen:
Purcell: Beati omnes qui timent dominum
Purcell: Jehova, qual multi sunt hostres mei
Rutter: Te Deum (brass bresion)
Rutter: Gloria (brass version)
... and that's it for the moment! 
I would like to add some Mathiew Locke (His Majesty's Sackbutts & Cornetts music maybe) or some of his vocal works. 
What other beautiful (and not so complicated) works would you advise to include in this program to add up to 1 hour 15 minutes of music? 
I thank you heartfully for your time and excellent advises. 
With my best regards
Replies (28): Threaded | Chronological
on May 6, 2014 5:27pm
Please consider looking at music before Purcell as there is a lot to see:
Dunstable:  Gaude Virgo
Power:  Credo (tough but rewarding!)
Tallis:  O Nata Lux
Sheppard:  Christ Our Paschal Lamb
Tye:  Give Alms Of Thy Poor
Byrd:  Ave Verum Corpus (or Sing Joyfully with brass?)
Gibbons, O.:  Almighty And Everlasting God (or Hosanna To The Son of David also with brass?)
Morley:  Now Is The Month Of Maying (secular)
Bennet:  All Creatures Now (secular)
Wilbye:  Adieu Sweet Amarillis (secular)
Otherwise, between Purcell and Rutter:
Handel:  Zadok The Priest
Wesley:  O Lord My God
Stainer:  God So Loved The World
Stanford:  Blue Bird (secular)
Elgar:  As Torrents In Summer (secular)
Holst:  This Have I Done For My True Love
Finzi:  God Has Gone Up Op. 27, No 2
Vaughn Williams:  O Clap Your Hands (with brass)
Britten:  Rejoice In The Lamb
Hope that helps!
Applauded by an audience of 2
on May 7, 2014 6:05am
Strictly speaking C.V. Standford is Irish, born in Dublin although Dublin was part of the British Empire and he probably identified himself as British but still - just sayin'
Applauded by an audience of 1
on May 7, 2014 8:13pm
Ciara, you bring up something that I really wonder about myself.  When you get right down to it, what makes you a particular nationality or culture?  Is it your birthplace?  Handel was born in Germany!  Is it your training?  He probably sat in Vivaldi’s orchestra in sunny Italy.  Is it your grasp on the language?  His Chandos Anthems will make you cringe when it comes to the setting of the text.  And yet, who would DARE tell the British that Handel was anything other than British?
After you’re dead and gone, we all might debate who you really were but that just enlivens the conversation about the labels; not where people put them.  Take Stanford:  Yes, he was born in Dublin but, before he was 19, he was an organ scholar in Cambridge.  More importantly, music critics point out that his first works are on British models and, while they admit that he DOES seem to draw more from his Irish roots very late in life, he called London his home.  Seems silly after awhile; I mean, I’m not quite sure I know what a “British model” is for that era.  But what I really want to know is, who put the label on him?  Who keeps it on him?  Why?
I may be wrong but I think all our opinions pale to what the British themselves think of Stanford.  They loved him.  They dedicated works to his “Blue Bird!”  They still sing his church music as examples of fine British music.  They buried him next to Purcell.
So, maybe it’s not what we are that’s most important and maybe it’s not what we were.  Maybe it’s what musicians and music-lovers see in our creations that they themselves love.  What’s more important now?  What a person was or what they left behind that WE re-create and others see as part of themselves?
Applauded by an audience of 1
on May 8, 2014 5:37am
I have never heard Handel referred to as British! I wonder how the Germans feel about that? The Duke of Wellington, also born in Ireland, famously remarked of his birthplace, "just because you are born in a stable, does not make you are horse"!
As an island nation used to our best and brightest being claimed by our nearest neighbour, allow us a little jealous guarding of Stanford as our own. We too love him and sing his works with pride. 
on May 10, 2014 3:30am
"British" is taken from the longer appellation, "Great Britain" - which includes N. Ireland, Wales, and Scotland, as well as England.  So as for Stanford being Irish by birth, he was nonetheless (remember that Ireland was at the time of his birth part of "Great Britain") British - pace to our Irish friends.  Furthermore, his cultural and musical direction and instruction was that of Great Britain, not Ireland per se.
Yes, Händel was indeed a German by birth, but became a British citizen.  And I don't think there's a single Brit of my experience who would look at him and his musical expressions after his arrival in England as being other than an expression of British-ness - mind you, with the Baroque, there's a good deal of blurring of national lines, so that some of his music is Italianate, others borrows from the French, and yet others are Germanic - because during the Baroque music was, if anything, truly international (at least on the European scene), and composers were borrowing liberally from each other, irrespective of national origin.
In a somewhat similar fashion, what is "American" when it comes to musical expression?  Gershwin?  The son of Russian immigrants.  Copland?  Ditto.  Point is:  what makes one and one's music of a particular nationality is not necessarily birth, education (though that has a larger impact), or even residence - it's a choice of expressing what seems to one is both deeply personal and broadly universal.  I wonder, for example, what would Sibelius have done had he been forced to emigrate to the U. K., or the U. S.?  Would his music be less "Finnish" in appeal?  Would it have become "British" or "American?"
So, beyond the speculative, I would say, mon cher Carlos, don't worry about the labels or where the individual came from.  If they wrote music that seems to fit the bill - be they German, Irish, whatever - and it's something that the people of Great Britain have taken to be their own, go with it.  You can worry yourself (or be made to worry) about stuff that, as we said in the U. S. Army, "was in the weeds" - meaning, it's not terribly important nor terribly interesting.
Chantez bien!
on May 8, 2014 2:21am
Thank you very very much Michael!
I will look up everything you mention.
I hope the French like it! ;-)
on May 7, 2014 2:43am
Have look at Philip Stopford's work. Quintessentially in the British cathedral/choral tradition. Some lovely stuff to choose from ;)
Applauded by an audience of 1
on May 8, 2014 2:20am
I will Derek, thank you!
on May 7, 2014 2:52am
Some very good suggestions there!
Maybe you have enough Purcell already, but I immediately thought of his funeral music for Queen Mary, which includes some beautiful motets interspersed between short movements for brass and timps.
(I've done a setting of the Gloria for voices using similar forces to Rutter's setting, but not quite as difficult - but I guess that will have to wait for anoither time!)
Applauded by an audience of 1
on May 8, 2014 2:54am
Yes Gordon, I had thougt of that too... I will give it a second thought!
Thank you!
on May 7, 2014 4:19am
I would add
C. Hubert H. Parry:  I was Glad (w/brass, organ)
Very British!
Applauded by an audience of 1
on May 7, 2014 9:35am
Speaking of Parry, an arrangement of Jerusalem would fit nicely.
Applauded by an audience of 2
on May 8, 2014 2:23am
Thank you David, that sounds perfect!
I will look it up but are you sure it exists a brass arrangement?
Matthiew, as for "Jerusalem" I just love it so much!! Thank you! Same question for brass arrangement?
Best regards
on May 7, 2014 5:10am
And why are you stopping at Rutter? There are a lot of good British composers in need of the extra exposure.
I don't have anything with brass and percussion sadly, but if you're looking for something Scottish (which is part of Britain, it's not just England) then you might enjoy my Scots Christmas carol, "Balulalow". (Text is mostly in English and not hard to pronounce). Scores and a recording at:
In The Bleak Midwinter might also be worth a look. I could add brass parts to that if you want.
Rorate Coeli De Super (last piece on that page) could also be expanded to include brass and percussion if you wish. It's mainly Christmassy, but suitable for any time of year.
on May 8, 2014 2:25am
Greeting Chris!
I absolutely agree on the need of exposure for the new voices and talents of British artists!
I love your enthousiasm and I assure you taht I will carefully look up everything you mention and keep you updated, maybe?  ;-) 
In any case, thanks a lot!
on May 9, 2014 3:13am
Thanks! I hope you find something that interests you.
You might also enjoy some movements from my "Requiem" - I have arrangements with brass quintet of some of the movements, I'll need to check which ones when I get home. I certainly have the Sanctus, Benedictus and Hosanna arranged with brass quintet and organ, and could add percussion to that if you like.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on May 13, 2014 2:22am
I've been lestening to you work and I tell you honestly that I like it very much! You have a great talent.
This is a proffessionally complicated week for me and I need some more time and relaxation to sit down and listen (and re-listen) to your works and try to imagine them sung by my choir. They I'll wait for the "click". I will certainly keep in contact with you.
Again, congratulations for your excellent work!
on May 7, 2014 6:39am

Two favourites (with video links):

• John Sheppard – Libera Nos

• Charles Villiers Stanford – Beati Quorum Via

Applauded by an audience of 1
on May 8, 2014 2:27am
O my God! this is absolutely gorgeous!
It brought tears to my eyes
Thank you!
Applauded by an audience of 1
on May 9, 2014 3:09am
See if you can add Stanford "Beati quorum via" (as pointed out by another) and there are a couple of others in that set - they have to be some of the most beautiful British pieces ever written for unaccompanied choir - and quite readable.....  For something major consider some Vaughan Williams - "Five Mystical Songs" (final movement if there is no Baritone soloist available) for example.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on May 13, 2014 2:36am
Thank you Rod ! 
on May 10, 2014 5:44am
I'm not sure if you only mean to include sacred works but the music of Ivor Novello, one of the most successful English composers of the 20th century, is quitelovely and there are some SSA arrangments of some of his most popular songs available.  "We'll Gather Lilacs", "Waltz of My Heart", "Rose of England" are three that come to mind.  One of his most famous songs, "Keep the Home Fires Burning" could be easily arranged into SSA or SATB harmony.  He was much loved by the British public.
on May 11, 2014 9:33am
You just can't forget Parry, Stanford, Elgar, Vaughan WIlliams and Britten.  This is a huge project.  How about a series rather than a concert?  A majestic pairing is always music of Purcell and Britten ... and that you could do well in a 90 minute program.
on May 13, 2014 2:56am
Thank you for your comment. I couldn't agree more with what you say! I know it's a huge project, but I envision to present a "sample" and not a comprehensive collection (though I wish I would!). A series would mean two years of work on the same subject and the choir might want to do other things. I will carefully listen to the composers you suggest and try to include the most of them in ths program. Thank you very much!
on May 11, 2014 1:11pm
Hi Carlos,
What a difficult task choosing out of so many wonderful options.
Here are some more excellent pieces:
Stanford: Quick we have but a second
Elgar: Ave Verum Corpus
Britten: Te Deum
Bob Chilcott: Jesus Springing
I'm surprised no one has suggested anything by Herbert Howells such as "Like as the Hart" or something from "Requiem".
You may also consider including an English plainchant in the program (such as the famous "Of the Father's Love Begotten")
God Bless,
Michael Sandvik
on May 11, 2014 5:39pm
Can't get any more British than Sir Arthur Sullivan. "O Gladsome Light" from the Golden Legend is absolutely lovely. For something a little lighter, there's "The Long Day Closes." Those are both a cappella. Or, if you want to go into the G&S realm, there's the satirical "Hail Poetry" from the Pirates of Penzance.
Jeff DeMarco
on May 11, 2014 8:19pm
Some of the most beautiful works I've ever heard, for chorus and organ:
Finzi: Magnificat  (Boosey)
FinziLo, the full, final sacrifice  (Boosey)
Howells: Like as the hart  (Oxford)
Vaughan Williams: Lord, Thou hast been our refuge  (Curwen/G.Schirmer)
All approachable, and all gorgeously written for the voices.
Kevin Lash
Princeton, NJ
on May 13, 2014 2:51pm
Here's a concert we did once for St George's Day (patron saint of England):
  • You must log in or register to be able to reply to this message.