- February 15, 2017 at 4:12 pm #534993
So I have an idea for a concert that takes a darker theme than most: I want to focus on music that contains the above mentioned emotions. I get a bit tired of listening to a dozen dozen love songs, and hearing Gesualdo’s Se la mia morte brami, and especially its provenance, inspired this train of thought. So if you can think of music of any era, a cappella hopefully, that sings of bitter revenge, evil deeds, the occult, death, damnation and hellfire or the like, I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading,
JKFebruary 16, 2017 at 9:09 am #535016
I’d invite you to have a look at ANOTHER BLUE DAY – there’s a follow-the-score demo on the page linked below. Definitely melancholic rather than bright and sunny.
I’m happy to provide the score gratis – just let me know and I’ll send the PDF your way.
Sydney, AustraliaFebruary 16, 2017 at 9:10 am #535017
Please check out “Beyond Grief” for SATB (a cappella) with soprano soloist. See https://www.swirlymusic.org/music/choral-music/gordon-thornett-beyond-grief-for-mixed-choir-satb-with-soprano-soloist/
If you’re quick you might be able to give the premiere performance!
Gordon (UK)February 16, 2017 at 9:10 am #535018
Have you searched in Musica database?
Go to http://www.musicanet.org (or if you are an ACDA member to the section Membership Resources of http://www.acda.org), and there, enter one after the other the different keywords that you give here.
You will have a lot of results to analyse and discover…
In the “More criteria” search form you can restrict with additional criteria like type of choir, language…
JeanFebruary 16, 2017 at 9:11 am #535021
This is a fantastic idea! I have some thoughts and suggestions to share on this notion.
If you have a big/good enough choir, I highly recommend Eric Whitacre’s “Nox Aurumque” for something like this. It’s a story (in Latin) about a fallen angel who seethingly yearns to fly again. Preposterously difficult chords, but well worth the effort if you can pull it off. It spans basically every negative emotion, plus some brief, faint, glorious glimmers of hope. SSAATTBB a cappella.
sheets: probably available via Whitacre’s site, if you wanna give it a whack
Though if you want to take that concept to its most literal extreme, maybe something like this:
Ooooor Ave Satani from “The Omen”, by Jerry Goldsmith. Apologies for the “unholy” tangent. 😉
And another incredibly dark Whitacre piece is “When David Heard”, which follows King David through basically every stage of grief when he learns of the death of his son Absalom. Again, fiendishly difficult, requires a huge group, but worth considering if at all possible.
youtube (video with sheets): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQBNDnrS8HY
There’s “The Mermaid’s Lament” I happened upon once by Joseph Martin and John Palmer. The refrain contains the words, “My spirit deeply grieves.” Female voices and piano.
And of course there’s good old “O Vos Omnes” by Pablo Casals, Tomás Luis de Victoria, or other settings of the same text, which beg the question “Is there any sorrow such as mine?” SATB, usually.
Also for songs of grief, you could borrow an excerpt or two from some Requiem masses. I would recommend the SATB a cappella piece “Hymnus” by Mike Sheppard for something like that. One of the most gorgeous settings of that text I’ve ever heard, very contemporary but incredibly fresh sounding.
sheets (top of list): http://www.mikesheppard.co.uk/published_works/published_works_list.php
I said a lot of grief already. For anger…maybe also from a requiem mass, you could use a setting of Vanitas Vanitatum? The one from Dan Forrest’s “Requiem for the Living” is astounding, but is in no way an a cappella piece. If you need to operate under that restriction specifically…It’s hard to pick a singlular example, but what about a setting of Catullus’s Poema 85, “Odi et amo” (“I hate and I love”)? Here are two good ones:
Version by Uģis Prauliņš (male voices): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXSHMA8TjyA
Version by Carl Orff (SATB): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2REmFZL02HE
I don’t know if you can find sheet music to this (it’s from an anime series called Elfen Lied), but this is a choral rendition of a piece called Lilium which is /profoundly/ saddening (IMO):
Text is here (And isn’t really all that sad, so the juxtaposition is interesting): http://www.animelyrics.com/anime/elfenlied/lilium.htm
This would not be a proper list of dark choral repertoire without mentioning “Song of Cherubim” by Krzysztof Penderecki. Again, the lyrics aren’t really dark in nature but the music FEELS like internal chaos. Same deal with pretty much any choral music by György Ligeti.
Finally, I have to throw yet MORE Whitacre at you. The recording “Eric Whitacre Live at iTunes Festival 2014” contains three good candidates.
Cover of Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” for a cappella choir: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMR5QldUE7M
Cover of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence” for a cappella choir: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlzhYa9aG_k
“Come Sweet Death, Come Blessed Rest” by J.S. Bach, but with a really unsettling and amazing extension: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQ8AzOKw7Qs
All of those cover negative emotions, though I can’t settle on just one each.
I’d love to discuss this idea more, it’s really intriguing. If you wanna talk about it in more detail, feel free to email me at email@example.com — and John, if you do manage to put this concert together and bring it to fruition, PLEASE let me know if a recording becomes available. This sort of thing is right up my alley. 😀
-Dave G.February 16, 2017 at 9:11 am #535022
Oh, one last thing for now! If you’re looking for something much, much, MUCH more contemporary than anything I mentioned, why not try:
Pentatonix’s a cappella (well, mostly) cover of A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera’s “Say Something.” Pentatonix or other groups that cover popular music in an a cappella format may have other dark/negative music, so that’s something you could look into if you like.February 16, 2017 at 10:37 am #535023
You might check out First Nations Lament:
Lu Lops (The Wolves):
Not One More Day:
Death Came a-Knockin’:
You can find translations, backstories, and downloads at kaiasing.com/ourmusic.html. If you’re interested in charts for any of these, please just let me know and I’ll see what I can do.
CairrilFebruary 16, 2017 at 1:19 pm #535026
Check out “The Poison Tree” from my William Blake settings, here:
I publish it in inexpensive .pdf with copy fee.
Let me know offline if it is of interest:
Winnner, American Prize 2016 for Composition (2nd Place, Band)
Winner, IOCSF Choral Composition Contest 2016 (First Place)
Winner, American Prize 2015 for Composition (First Place, Band)
Winner, Mountainside Master Chorale Composition Contest 2016 (2nd Place)
Designated “Honored Artist of the American Prize”, 2014
Winner, TheC7Prize (Canada) 2014 (2 choral works)
Winner, “Polifonija” Sacred Choral Music Competition 2013, Siauliai State Chamber Choir, Lithuania
ACDA Silver Platter Award 2012 for Choral Repertoire of Outstanding Quality
Project : Encore, Schola Cantorum/Hudson, Recommended Choral Work of Exceptional Merit 2012February 16, 2017 at 1:55 pm #535029
I have an SATB a cappella piece that uses a young Aldous Huxley’s poem, “Alien”. It has a bit to do with love, but mostly with exorcising the devil and some self-hatred. Feel free to email me at julia[dot]seeholzer[at]gmail[dot]com and I can send you a perusal score/recording.
JuliaFebruary 16, 2017 at 3:21 pm #535032
I have a 3-part love-hate round with two verses that might be of interest. It’s called “You I Adore”. You are welcome to use it without restriction. Drop me a line and I’ll patch it to you.
You I adore!
Oh, you I deplore!
Darling, I love you to the core,
You’re an eyesore.
You I respect!
Oh, you I reject!
Darling, I love your intellect,
But I suspect
You’re an insect.February 16, 2017 at 3:21 pm #535033
Every choir should sing some Sacred Harp or Shape Note hymns now and then–and in the traditional, exuberant singing style , not the European classical vocal style. Most of these hymns deal with good and evil, damnation, hellfire and/or death, and are a major genre of our American literary and musical history.February 22, 2017 at 1:44 am #535091
I have a couple of compositions that may fit the bill one of them is an SATB work set to the poem “DEATH STANDS ABOVE ME” by Walter Savage Landor. The other SATB, set to the poem “TEARS, IDLE TEARS” by Alfred Lord, Tennyson. Both compositions can be found at sfdmusic.com. Or if you care to go even darker, I have two other works not listed on my website. They are both written for men’s choir. They are titled “I ask for death” and “I fear that I will awaken”. If interested, I will provide free scores.March 18, 2017 at 9:46 pm #535427
Poulenc’s Figure Humaine is for a double choir, but if you can handle that, it’s pretty amazing.April 17, 2017 at 2:20 pm #535970
I made a setting of “This Living Hand” by John Keats.
Here’s the poem:
This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou wouldst wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calm’d–see here it is–
I hold it towards you.
Here’s a link to my piece: http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/this-living-hand-digital-sheet-music/20273619
On that page, you can view a few pages of the score and hear an audio mock up of the work.
Thanks for your consideration.
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