- January 4, 2019 at 10:19 pm #585262
I have been searching for songs in which the text is a narrative of some kind of event.
I am programming a concert of works that tell stories, and I hope to include a section on “Historical Stories”.
I am thinking about songs based on the Events of 9-11, the end of the War, folks coming across the ocean on boats to settle in Canada, etc.
Many choirs have commissioned songs for events in their local area, and the information is often notated right under the title, but won’t always be found while searching for rep in libraries or on publishers’ websites!
My community choir is ~30 voices, SATB with some divisi is what we typically tackle: Medium-Easier Advanced music.January 6, 2019 at 9:46 am #585297
Michael A. GrayParticipant
I can’t think of too many composers who took the time to acknowledge the touch of history; here are some exceptions:
•Beethoven’s “Bundeslied op.122” was (I believe) commissioned for the opening of a German democracy. I edited a free download pdf for SABpn at CPDL.org
•Bernstein’s “Mass” was commissioned for the opening of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; the “Sanctus” sounds like the gathering of a pluralistic democracy – an amazing work!
•Billing’s “Chester (Let tyrants shake)” was written for the American Revolution.
•Britten’s “Ceremony of carols” was written on submarine-infested waters in WWII. Check out Julius Harrison’s mixed voices arrangement of “Balulalow”!
•Dello Joio’s “Jubilant song” is a tough little work but very rewarding to do. It was, I believe, in celebration of the end of WWII.
•Handel’s “Coronation anthems” were for the crowning of George I (his old boss). “Let thy hand” has a wonderful alleluia in the last movement.
•Haydn’s “Missa in tempore belli” was written at the turn of the Napoleonic Wars – the very war-like “Sanctus – Benedictus” was said to have been written in celebration of Nelson’s famous victory (his mistress was a soprano soloist).
•Ives’ “They are there” is about the US entrance into WWI.
•Purcell’s “Funeral sentences” were for Queen Mary – check out “Thou knowest, Lord.”
Hope that helps!
Michael A. Gray
http://www.graymichael.comJanuary 8, 2019 at 8:54 am #585423
How about something from Vaughan William’s ‘Dona Nobis Pacem?’ Written in 1936, as the world was gathering itself from the wreckage of the Great War and preparing to plunge into the chaos of WWII, the text quotes a speech by John Bright, trying to prevent what became the Crimean War, and poems by Walt Whitman written in response to the horrors he saw as a volunteer nurse during the Civil War.
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