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Fun Stuff => BAND => Topic started by: casull on 15 Jun 2007, 23:26

Title: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: casull on 15 Jun 2007, 23:26
So, I've been in a really good college choir this year, and it's given me even more of a taste for choral music than I already had. Basically, I start with what my choir sings and branch out from there- my director picks quite diverse programs, so this actually covers a lot of ground. Here's my favorite piece from this year's seasons- one of Morton Lauridsen's faux-madrigals (20th century) as sung by a select group from my choir.


http://www.sendspace.com/file/y9ee5o

It's an m4a, my apologies.

Anyway, anyone else have some favorite choral music to share?
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Gridgm on 16 Jun 2007, 05:47
i would go out of your way to find a copy of the spooky men's chorale album tooled up

they are a 15 man A cappella group who do covers ranging from folk to gregorian chants as well as some original works

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spooky_Men%27s_Chorale
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: IronOxide on 16 Jun 2007, 08:30
I am also going to put this in the sendspace thread because it is some of the best music I have ever heard, but this is Polyphony doing some (a lot) of Eric Whitacre's choral pieces. Whitacre is a genius and his choral work is some of the most beautiful stuff I have ever heard, and it is only made better by the great sound and recording of the choir. I recommend the entire album, but if you really have to pick and choose, my favorites are "A Boy and A Girl", "Cloudburst", and "Lux Arumque".

I know the capitalization seems weird, some of it is from the source text that Whitacre uses for his pieces, some of it is because I am still seeding the torrent I got it off of and can't change it.

http://www.sendspace.com/file/l37k3l (http://www.sendspace.com/file/l37k3l)

Enjoy
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: casull on 16 Jun 2007, 09:15
YESSSSSSSS

Whitacre is amazing, I've sung A Boy and A Girl and Sleep this year. I highly recommend that everyone passing through download that package.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Thrillho on 16 Jun 2007, 13:54
I realise it's not strictly speaking choral work, but as far as vocal harmonies and parts and countermelodies, you can't go wrong with the Beach Boys. One of my life ambitions is to find a vocal group good enough to perform 'Good Vibrations' live, competently.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: ampersandwitch on 16 Jun 2007, 14:10
This is more a choral setting with background orchestra, so less of a "choir" feel, and more of an orchestral one, but I love Williams' work, "Serenade to Music,"  which basically a dreamy melange of Shakespeare's works set to great, ethereal melodies.  It's a trip.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Stefan Autsa on 16 Jun 2007, 14:13
The Gyütö Monks.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Liz on 16 Jun 2007, 19:47
Most of the choral music I have is from my high school choir, so I'll share a couple of those first. We were not that great. Good for a high school of our size, but whatever.

Full choir: Give Us Hope (http://www.box.net/shared/eqqoi1qcid)
Chamber choir: In This Very Room (http://www.box.net/shared/t4oo8d2ekc)

Otherwise, here is a song by a men's choir from my college. They are good.

Uberkor: Ave Maria (http://www.box.net/shared/t1dk458fb8)
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Will on 16 Jun 2007, 22:13
Oh, man, IO...Cloudburst is SUCH a fun piece to perform! I did it once in high school and then again in college. It's an incredibly powerful piece.

I was always a big fan of the gospel pieces that Moses Hogan arranged. This thread has now made me all nostalgiac for the days when I was in chorus, and I will go remember fondly. Back later, guys!
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: sombrasoubrette on 17 Jun 2007, 20:03
I've been lurking for awhile and I joined for this thread. OH MY GOD ERIC WHITACRE. Our school's Chamber Choir (which I just found out I got into, hehee) does a piece by him every year. This past it was Leonardo Dreams of his Flying Machine, which is really hard. A recording of them at Heritage Festival in Chicago:  http://kit.kitkorp.com/archives/festivalmp3s/choral/chamberchoir.mp3 (there's another song first but it's very quick)

I've been doing choral music for several years now. Last year I did the Messiah, but I'm not so into Handel or baroque because it has the sickening tendency to all sound the same. I also sang the Durufle and Faure requiems, but my favourite big classical work to sing was one of Mozart's missa brevises (don't remember which). My school choir has a more modern tint to it.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Redball on 12 Nov 2012, 19:44
Barmymoo had just made a point in another thread, about performing the Faure Requiem as part of a Sunday evening service. I wanted to know more.  In the process of PM-ing, it occurred to us that a choral music thread might be of interest. I found this one, last used in 2007.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Barmymoo on 14 Nov 2012, 08:44
Choral thread! I suspect it might just be the two of us in here, but never mind.

Tonight is the first rehearsal for our Beethoven's Missa Solemnis concert next term. Apparently the chorus will be made up of our choir, Jesus College Choir, the university Chamber Choir and a few hand-picked members of the chapel choir a tier below ours. And then some professional soloists. I'm reserving judgment so far, but last year's equivalent concert was a nightmare.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 14 Nov 2012, 09:27
Choral thread! I suspect it might just be the two of us in here, but never mind.

Considering the number of recordings of my choral concerts and other things that I've posted in this forum in the past, that's not quite fair!
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Redball on 14 Nov 2012, 12:29
OK, the three of us. Plus Carl.
I wish we could change the name of the thread though. It sounds like the name of an ancient educational radio programme, either CBC or BBC, and the name followed by a bang!
What was last year's concert, and why was it a nightmare? Were there train wrecks in performance? I can't recall more than two or three bad performances. Mediocre, probably, but not bad. I think we did a train wreck in a Messiah performance, although we'd done it annually for years. And a director who was perfectly at home with most 18th and 19th century music and could do Rutter quite well (Magnificat, Gloria, Requiem), led us in an abysmal Carmina Burana.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Barmymoo on 15 Nov 2012, 05:04
Sorry Paul! Temporary brain fart. I thought of you when we first discussed the need for this thread.

Last year's concert we did Debussy's La Damoiselle élue with just the girls, and then the final movement of some Wagner thing that lasted for about an hour and only included two minutes of alto and sopranos right at the end. We didn't even get to go out on stage to sing it - just stood backstage, and the top sops had to face away from the audience end so that they sounded further away. We sat for hours and hours listening to the men rehearse and on one notable evening were kept for an extra 45 minutes after a rehearsal meant to finish at 10.30pm and were not actually used at all. The conductor was just appallingly thoughtless. I'm sure he's a musical genius but it was a nightmare to be part of.

This year's one is much better - it's predominantly choral with solos over the top, not long stretches of just soloists. It was fun romping through the whole Mass in three hours, although I anticipate having to do a lot of individual work on it to get the notes right. Which is nice, it's good to actually be challenged by the music.

Carmina Burana is easy to get horribly wrong.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Redball on 15 Nov 2012, 07:21
I don't know much about Debussy and choral music -- Nuages? Is there women's chorus there? But I downloaded the La Damoiselle élue with Dessay in the starring role. I've seen her in a couple of Met Live in HD productions; she's also a good actress.
It does sound like the women were abused in that rehearsal schedule.
The Wagner sounds like the Schoenberg Gurre Lieder I mentioned: The music, written in the 19-oughts, was very Wagner-like. There were five or six soloists including a "Sprecher", and the men were divided into three four-part choruses. The women sang only in the last SSAATTBB section, for just a few minutes.
I can see how Carmina Burana would be easy to get wrong, but my experience with was a happy one, from 1971 when I first heard/rehearsed it to 2007 when I did it as a baritone. Only the one bad performance.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Akima on 18 Nov 2012, 05:21
Did you sing the entire Carmina Burana cantata (I think that is the correct term?), or just "O Fortuna"?
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Redball on 18 Nov 2012, 06:24
Oh, the whole thing. I don't think I ever sang O Fortuna by itself, and I don't much care for it. I've considered myself a kind of marginal tenor, now a marginal baritone, though I've been on a stage with the Phila Symphony, Antal Dorati, Neeme Järvi and Luciano Pavarotti. But I felt like a Carmina specialist, even to nailing the strange accents in the guy's drinking song, In Taberna.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Barmymoo on 18 Nov 2012, 08:58
I'm singing in a small informal chorus for the choir college's Christmas concert, and we had a rehearsal the other day. My throat was so sore that I discovered I had bottom Cs (as in two octaves below middle C - I was singing the bass part sometimes). I normally only just have bottom Fs, so that was quite amusing.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Redball on 18 Nov 2012, 09:27
I wonder if i can hit that note. I'll try at rehearsal tonight. I don't think I can.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Barmymoo on 20 Nov 2012, 04:10
I suspect you can - since I confused myself and am actually talking about one octave below middle C, not two.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Redball on 20 Nov 2012, 18:35
I suspected that. I tried just now. I can't do two below middle C.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 21 Nov 2012, 00:27
I can't routinely, but with a bit of training I can get there for a while.  And we've done several a cappella pieces recently that required extended singing below the bass clef - I do like it when it works!
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Barmymoo on 21 Nov 2012, 09:03
I sang tenor in the rehearsal last night, so that the tenor who was there could sing bass. We've yet to have everyone turn up to the same rehearsal... I just managed to get the bottom Es this time, because my throat is getting better. Today I suspect a bottom F would be my limit as normal.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Redball on 21 Nov 2012, 13:28
Twelfth Night's annual public concert is Sunday, and in one of the songs, the basses start from a low F in several ascending lines. We don't have much gravitas. Maybe if we were miked.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Barmymoo on 24 Nov 2012, 14:08
Low notes are always harder in concert, I find.

Today we sang at a wedding, of a former chorister from the college. We sang Parry's I was Glad as the bride entered, Willan's Rise Up My Love before the marriage itself, Howells' Behold, Monteverdi's Cantate Domini, and an arrangement of The Beatles' All You Need is Love (complete with surprise trumpet) during the signing of the register, and the Hallelujah Chorus as they left. The hymns were Love Divine and Jerusalem.

If anyone wanted a primer in Anglican choral music, that would be it.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Redball on 24 Nov 2012, 18:29
I may have to find some of those songs, on iTunes or whatever. I did that with some of Paul's, I think, and listened to some or all of the music he posted, then forgot to say so! Just back from New York tonight, and insufficiently memorized for tomorrow's concert in Detroit.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Redball on 27 Nov 2012, 15:36
In northern Michigan, a Congregational church was the venue for a performance of Karl Jenkins' "The Armed Man." It was performed with a video of scenes illustrating the work, including battle and reconciliation. It includes a Muslim call to prayer, two minutes out of the 67 or so. The church leaders excised the audio of the call to prayer, though they apparently left in the video. I'd never heard of the work, but I downloaded it. It's dramatic.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Barmymoo on 09 Dec 2012, 03:58
I've sung the Armed Man, it is incredibly moving. We sang it to the memory of the father of two of the choir, who had died suddenly - the performance was already planned when he died, so we dedicated it to him. I don't remember whether we included the call to prayer; I think we did, but I can't think who would have sung it as I don't remember any Muslim children in the choir.

Choir week has now finished; we had a concert in a local town where we sang some nice Christmas music, three carol services with some adventy music thrown in (we missed Advent itself because term ended before Advent Sunday!) and a big NSPCC benefit concert in London. We also started rehearsing the music for the CD we're recording in January, of music by Philip Cooke. He's a modern composer who writes some slightly odd (to my mind) music and, apparently from what we sang through last week, some very lovely music. We were pleasantly surprised by it - we expected it to be far harder to learn. The fact that it's easier than we thought means we'll be able to polish it more and get it really good for the CD.

Recording CDs is weird; I did it for the first time last year with music for Alan Bullard. By the end we know the music really, really well and everyone's voice is exhausted.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Redball on 09 Dec 2012, 09:10
One advantage to this thread is searching out what others are singing. But Cooke seems to have absolutely no discography yet. I see at least one of his pieces published on his site, and I suppose I might hear it by submitting it to my music OCR app. Can't find him on Youtube either.
Any of you ever hear the Prayer Cycle? Dramatic music, in part because of its theme and how it was produced.
Or the sound track from Le Choriste?
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Barmymoo on 10 Dec 2012, 15:48
No, Cooke wouldn't have a discography yet - we're the first to record his music I think! Let me see if I can find something though, we might have recorded something before?


OK, here is a video (http://www.compositiontoday.com/show_video.asp?video_id=469768) of him awkwardly talking about a piece we're recording, which is almost audible in the background.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Redball on 10 Dec 2012, 18:46
Doesn't yet sound promising. My large choir in the 1970s tackled, then thankfully abandoned a piece by Charles Ives. But 20 years later, we groaned as a new director started in on Honegger's King David. It was awful! Then it was grand!
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 10 Dec 2012, 23:50
My microphone has developed a fault, and is going back to the US for repair.  I nearly couldn't record Sunday's concert, and in the end the recording needs a lot of work to make it usable (I spent all yesterday evening getting 8 minutes done - the easiest eight minutes, but I'm also getting faster at what I need to do).  A pity, as it was particularly good, and also interesting to record because many of the pieces had a spacial element (choir split between the ends of the chapel, soloist in the organ loft).

It was Christmas music, but some little-known settings.  Geoffrey Bush's Christmas Cantata was done with piano, oboe and cello accompaniment; it includes a really sweet a capella setting of a poem by Hilaire Belloc.  Vaughan Williams's Fantasia on Christmas Carols is well known, but how many know the similar, but less over-blown, work that Holst wrote the year before (called Christmas Day)? Adam lay ybounden has been set as often as any Christmas words - but do you know the setting by John Ireland (or any not by Boris Ord)?

Fortunately, the concert was also well attended; publicity is typically the choir's main failing.  I will link bits here as I get them listenable.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Barmymoo on 11 Dec 2012, 04:08
Paul, I haven't heard any of those things but I shall hunt some out, I need some decent Christmas music to listen to. We sang the Fantasia at the college Christmas concert and it was surprisingly good. I was actually in the orchestra in the end, did I tell you about that fiasco? I sang all the parts in the chorus (including bass) at rehearsals and then ended up playing violin instead.


OK I just found a fairly dire video of a choir singing some of the Bush Cantata, and it wasn't great but I think I would like to buy the CD. If I can find it for under £12 that is...
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 11 Dec 2012, 04:38
There is only one recording of the Bush; it was badly reviewed, and you may prefer mine when it's done in spite of the technical problems - though we also didn't do all the movements (a different selection in our case, sanctioned by the composer).

Here are the pieces I've processed so far:
An English Christmas (http://cassland.org/EnglishXmas.html)

I've tried to get some of the effect of the choir being split in the Britten - you can hear the shaky coordination at one point...
The Ireland is artfully simple - you may note that the harmonies are never actually quite the same twice.
The Bush comes over well, I think.
There's an unfortunate mistake near the end of the Holst, but it passes quickly with no lasting impact; the sound is cut off very quickly at the end, because that was the only way I could save the track - of these it had the worst problems, but they are mostly sufficiently covered by the singing.  The baritone soloist is in the organ loft at the other end of the chapel.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Redball on 11 Dec 2012, 08:04
May, if I put Twelfth Night's two Christmas recordings as .mp3 on Dropbox, would you want to download what sounds new to you? I'd add a couple of favorites perhaps, including the Pinkham Christmas Cantata and the Gardner "Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day." I think we acknowledged that you and Paul are familiar with the Holst "This Have I Done...."
Paul, how large is the chapel? When I think of separating a choir, it begins to seem difficult. In a large reverberant chamber, even more so. My large choir's last subscription performance with the Detroit Symphony was about 1978 in a Thanksgiving weekend performance of Ives' Holiday Symphony. Antal Dorati didn't divide us, he strung us out, 4-5 feet apart in the aisles -- a not very accomplished group of singers in a not very acoustic hall singing some not very tuneful music which lasted about a minute. Almost as disastrous as the guys in the second movement (Lamah rag'shu goyim) of Chichester Psalms a year or so earlier.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 11 Dec 2012, 08:20
We did the first movement of the Pinkham a couple of years ago, in our American Christmas (http://cassland.org/USA-Xmas.html) concert.

The chapel is not that large; a typical Oxford college chapel, if there is such a thing.  The second choir was in the ante-chapel, and stood in two rows so that we all had a view of the conductor from behind.  Of course, he had to remember not to keep his arms in from of his body!

Outside:
(http://cassland.org/images/ExOutside.jpg)

Facing East:
(http://cassland.org/images/ExEast.jpg)

Facing West:
(http://cassland.org/images/ExWest.jpg)
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Redball on 11 Dec 2012, 09:22
What a beautiful setting for making music!

OK, try this Dropbox folder for quite a lot of music.
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/8dohmd99a9mil5f/5hxAENm4xL

Almost all is from two recordings, one in 1991, another in 1996. I'm in the '91 recording, rehearsed for the '96, but we recorded on the date of my 25th wedding anniversary; it was not a good day to record and come home to a party.
Of the others: Peace, Peace is us in concert. Others are by others, though I've done some of them.

one horse open sleigh
winter morning
tomorrow shall be my dancing day
this have I done
pinkham cantata
Merry Wedding grainger
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Barmymoo on 13 Dec 2012, 00:57
I will download and listen to some of this when I'm at my mum's (I'm currently "packing") but I wanted to say that Paul's chapel looks fancier than mine but about the same size, maybe a bit smaller - certainly we have more altar space. When we record we have to take ALL the soft furnishings out - all the cushions, carpets and altar cloths. Quite an epic undertaking.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 13 Dec 2012, 01:55
I should mention that we do sing in different places; more often in Exeter College than any other at present; but, for instance, the American Christmas concert that I linked was in the chapel of St Peter's College, which is like a parish church, with nave, chancel, aisles and all, and we've done several concerts in my time in the University Church.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 14 Dec 2012, 01:33
Ten out of fourteen pieces done:
An English Christmas (http://cassland.org/EnglishXmas.html)

Still to come, a solo and a choral movement to finish the Bush, Britten's Corpus Christi Carol, and the VW Fantasia.  These have been left till last as they will be the hardest get usable - but I'm getting slicker at it all the time.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Barmymoo on 14 Dec 2012, 14:34
Unfortunately the first track is almost inaudible at the start on my computer - hopefully it'll get louder.


Edit: it did get louder! I like the first track. The Finzi I hadn't heard before, and it surprised me by not being a lot like the Finzi I've heard before. Lo, The Full Final Sacrifice is one of my favourite choral works ever (it was sung, by coincidence, at my baptism service).

I will update you on the rest of the tracks another time, it's bed time now.


OK I didn't go to bed yet. I love your version of The Seven Joys of Mary - especially the dissonant piano at the sixth joy. I heard that sung for the first time last week by Kate Rusby and thought that her jaunty cheerful quick speed didn't really suit the sixth verse in particular!
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 18 Dec 2012, 04:04
The concert (http://cassland.org/EnglishXmas.html) is now complete, and I've brought the levels up.  I may do a bit more work on the files, but nothing substantial now.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Redball on 20 Dec 2012, 12:48
I've downloaded both American and English concerts into iTunes, and I'm adding the recording sessions you introduced us to earlier. They're a joy to listen to! When I have a little more time I'll see if I can play VoiCE in surround.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Barmymoo on 13 Jan 2013, 11:28
Well, we've finished recording our latest CD (another single-composer disc, this one of music by Philip Cooke, who dedicated a piece to our conductor. The words and the music of the song are so sexual that we're fairly certain people are going to think they've had an affair...).

We've also got our music list through for the term. My birthday falls on the Sunday of Candlemas, so we're singing some really lovely things that day, obviously because of Candlemas not my birthday, but it's nice. I've been assigned two solos in the term and one of them very interestingly is a soprano solo. I'm considering auditioning for the second soprano solo in the Allegri Miserere, which is comfortably within my range but unfortunately I'd be up against all the choir's actual sopranos, so I might not have a hope.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 13 Jan 2013, 12:25
You do realise, I hope, that the much-loved "traditional" version of the Allegri Miserere with that famous high phrase is a stylistically impossible fabrication by a late 19th century editor who completely misunderstood a comment made by Mendelssohn?
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Barmymoo on 14 Jan 2013, 10:28
I did not realise this. Tell me more!
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 14 Jan 2013, 10:53
I did not realise this. Tell me more!

The Miserere sung in the Vatican was composed several times by different composers, following the same framework, so that the pieces are very similar.  The best known version are those of Allegri and Bai, and a combination of these two was also sung; Mendelssohn said he couldn't even hear the difference!  This was partly because the famous "secret" was not the pieces themselves, but the very elaborate ornamentation (called the abbellimenti) which was applied in the same way regardless of which version of the piece was being sung!  A fairly detailed account which includes details of how the modern corrupt version got created is here (http://ancientgroove.co.uk/essays/sources.html).  A very detailed account based on a late but genuine manuscript is here (http://www.york.ac.uk/music/conferences/nema/oreilly/).
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Barmymoo on 20 Jan 2013, 05:22
Interesting! I was thinking a couple of days ago how Allegri couldn't have been the only person to set those words to music, just as Beethoven couldn't be the only person to have written a solemn mass. It's funny how certain works become synonymous with their names or settings, despite being one of many.

The Missa Solemnis concert went well last night - although I felt awful for the poor alto soloist. She'd been struggling with counting for her entries in the rehearsal, as a couple of times she had to come in immediately after a tempo change and Roger Norrington has a tendency to stop conducting, or be very unhelpful (he told us straight out that he wouldn't be giving us our entries). He wasn't even using a score, and although he clearly knew the work by heart, it meant he didn't always know exactly who was coming in next. She got flustered in the performance and was quite badly out of time in the final section. It will only have been noticed by anyone who knows the work well, or those of us following a score... but that was several hundred people. Poor girl, she wasn't very old. Admittedly she's a professional and ought to be able to count, but I did feel bad for her.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Redball on 21 Feb 2013, 22:32
Paul, I told you I've been wanting to hear your surround sound recordings in surround sound. Here in Tucson, I've been working toward it. I don't like to put much money into a condo I occupy two months out of the year, but a friend here gave me a JVC digital media system with 5.1 speakers and digital audio inputs. After way too much time connecting TV, Apple TV controller and DVD player, I just got the women's trio coming out of at least 4 speakers using VLC app, but I don't have enough speaker wire to place the rear speakers properly yet. Still working on it.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 24 Mar 2013, 10:42
Here's another concert:

German Romantic Church Music (http://cassland.org/GermanRomantic.html)

Program:

Brahms - Geistliches Lied
Mendelssohn - Veni Domine
Mendelssohn - Verleih uns Frieden
Mendelssohn - Hear my Prayer
Reger - Toccata and Fugue in D minor
Rheinberger - Abendlied
Bruckner - Te Deum

Keble Chapel, Oxford, is remarkable building, and accordingly is Grade 1 listed.  The interior is tiled throughout in glazed tiles, so the acoustic is rather literally bathroom-like!  This makes it hard to record in, especially when the choir positions itself for the concert several feet further back than it was in the rehearsal...  Actually, if you accept the aim of recording the true sound of a cavernous acoustic, it's worked rather well, I think.

This is the chapel, with the organ very high up to one side:

(http://cassland.org/sounds/GermanRomantic/Choir.jpg)

Here is my microphone (it's a small surround mic), with tile mosaics behind:

(http://cassland.org/sounds/GermanRomantic/Mic.jpg)

And here's the recorder sitting at the foot of the stand:

(http://cassland.org/sounds/GermanRomantic/Recorder.jpg)
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Barmymoo on 25 Mar 2013, 10:21
That chapel is gorgeous (I'd be loyal and say that my chapel is nicer, but it just isn't true)! How audible is the recording? We're recording in Ely Cathedral's Lady Chapel later in the summer, and we were singing there a couple of weeks ago. It is possible to sing an entire chord by yourself due to the ludicrous fifteen-second acoustic so I'm intrigued to see how that will work out.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 25 Mar 2013, 12:12
The recording is better than I expected (I could do a bit better if I was able to arrange the choir for recording rather than a concert, but it's fine).  The reverberation time is only about 6 seconds, but the critical distance (aka reverberation radius) is very short - barely 10 feet, I say, though I haven't measured it (that's the distance at which the reverberation is as loud as the direct source from the source).  That's the aspect that makes recording harder.

Anyway - it's linked there for you to listen to; the Brahms and Rheinberger are especially recommended.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Redball on 25 Mar 2013, 15:46
I've downloaded, but haven't had the opportunity to listen yet. As I said a few weeks ago, a friend here in AZ gave me a theater-in-a-box setup. I listened to your trio demo, but had a hard time picking out the location of each voice. It may be my placement.

I get the operation of a binaural mic, I suppose, with the mics aimed away from a center. But a surround sound mic? Is that set up for right and left of the choir and right and left of the reverb?
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 25 Mar 2013, 16:38
I'll be putting the surround files of this concert somewhere in due course, but not straight away.

I get the operation of a binaural mic, I suppose, with the mics aimed away from a center. But a surround sound mic? Is that set up for right and left of the choir and right and left of the reverb?

The usual way of recording surround is somewhat as you outlined - and is no more defined than what you wrote. 

What I do (ambisonics) is different.  An idealised description (the theory of why this is insufficient as it stands is beyond the scope of this margin) is that the microphone is measuring the pressure changes at at point (that's the same as an omnidirectional mic recording a mono signal) and also the movement of the air as three orthogonal velocity vectors (equivalent to the output of three figure-of-eight microphones).  The decoding into loudspeaker signals attempts to drive them so that the original pressure changes and movement are recreated at the centre of the loudspeaker array. You can easily object that (1) the head is larger than a point, and (2) a point is in any case an impractical area of reproduction for multiple listeners - however, in practice, the simple theory outlined above is not all there is, and it actually works out pretty well.

Some of my older recordings were made with a microphone assembled from an omni and figure-of-eight capsules; but they can't be made coincident, which the theory requires, and so better results are got by using four cardioid or sub-cardioid capsules placed close together on the faces of a tetrahedron and matrixing them to generate the required signals.  In fact, the patterns of the derived mics are typically better than can be obtained from physical capsules which claim to have those patterns!

Since many people (including recording engineers) don't get the idea of coincident mics for stereo, they are even less likely to get it for surround!  However, there is solid theory to justify the methods I use in preference to any alternatives; and one of my aims is to generate plenty of examples of practice to go along with it - which is why some of my recordings have been used in talks and demos at AES conferences and the like.

Note that what I have described is truly three-dimensional - the practical case of surround in a plane is already a compromise compared with the whole deal.  Oh, and this theoretical framework, and the microphone with which to record it has been available since a couple of years before 1980.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 02 Jul 2013, 16:09
Next concert, the very, very last on the theme of Royal Jubilees, Coronations and such for a while, I expect!

Orb and Sceptre - Coronation music from Purcell to Walton (http://cassland.org/orb-and-sceptre.html)
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Redball on 19 Sep 2013, 21:12
Paul, I thought immediately of your recordings when I saw this (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/20/nyregion/moved-to-tears-at-the-cloisters-by-a-ghostly-tapestry-of-music.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0).

I was able to reproduce the four-speaker setup using a cheap theater system at my condo in AZ earlier in the year, but I haven't been able to figure it out in Michigan yet.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 20 Sep 2013, 01:02
Paul, I thought immediately of your recordings when I saw this (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/20/nyregion/moved-to-tears-at-the-cloisters-by-a-ghostly-tapestry-of-music.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0).

Quote from: New York Times
The core [...] is a motet, “Spem in Alium,” [...] Its transformation into the “Forty Part Motet”

The writer of the article seems to be unaware that Tallis himself wrote the motet in forty parts.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Redball on 20 Sep 2013, 07:08
You're right, although I hadn't paid attention. I read a little more to learn that it was apparently written as 5 x SSAATTBB. I suppose if I read a little more, I might get a glimpse of the choral score.

The only time I've sung something approaching that multiple chorus was Schoenberg's Gurre Lieder, where three male TTBB choruses are singing. The women don't join until the very end, in a dramatic eight-part chorus.

I'm expecting to be in the NYC area at Thanksgiving, and I may try to hear the motet.

In my 35-voice a cappella group, we perform facing an audience. But my favorite rehearsals are those where we sing standing in a square or circle, usually mixed. Facing each other must be one of the joys of singing in many chancel choirs.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: 94ssd on 22 Sep 2013, 18:48
People in the audience cried after watching this epicness

Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Pilchard123 on 23 Sep 2013, 13:31
Or...

Link so I don't clog up the thread with videos (http://forums.questionablecontent.net/index.php/topic,29268.new.html)
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 04 Dec 2013, 04:14
Have a concert of Mozart:

http://cassland.org/Mozart.html (http://cassland.org/Mozart.html)

Missa Brevis in F, K192, 'Little Credo Mass'
Epistle Sonata, K145
Round 'Ave Maria', K544
Church Sonata, K336
Solemn Vespers for a Confessor, K339 (includes the famous 'Laudate Dominum')
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 27 Mar 2014, 03:05
And now the concert of settings of the words of George Herbert that was the catalyst for a forum meet-up in Oxford:

http://cassland.org/Herbert.html (http://cassland.org/Herbert.html)
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Akima on 03 Apr 2014, 01:33
George Herbert is not my favourite English-language poet, but I enjoyed this concert, especially the "Let all the world in every corner sing" setting by Kenneth Leighton. Thank you, PWH.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Barmymoo on 03 May 2014, 06:41
I'm a bit late posting but thanks Paul - I loved the concert so it's really nice to be able to hear it again!
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 18 Jun 2014, 14:43
Another concert. 
This time it's settings of folk songs and other poetry by JohnRutter and others, and settings of Shakespeare by George Shearing.

http://cassland.org/Thyme.html (http://cassland.org/Thyme.html)
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 07 Jul 2015, 02:59
I did a concert on Sunday:

Hits from Hollywood (https://cassland.org/HollywoodHits.html)

I'm singing bass (and recording, and I'm librarian, and I wrote the program)
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 07 Dec 2015, 08:45
Lux aeterna (https://cassland.org/audio/LuxAeterna/audioplayer.html) - a concert of religious choral music on the theme of light.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Tova on 14 Dec 2015, 04:05
My current favourite choral thing to listen to is (I'd make it just a link, but don't know how): https://youtu.be/ykuF8h7sFwI
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 28 Jun 2016, 12:18
Feel the Spirit (https://cassland.org/sounds/FeelTheSpirit/) - a mostly choral concert of African-American music.

We wanted a clarinet part in the Rutter to add variety to the piano accompaniment, so I wrote one.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: doombilly on 09 Aug 2016, 07:29
Here's another concert:

German Romantic Church Music (http://cassland.org/GermanRomantic.html)

Program:

Brahms - Geistliches Lied
Mendelssohn - Veni Domine
Mendelssohn - Verleih uns Frieden
Mendelssohn - Hear my Prayer
Reger - Toccata and Fugue in D minor
Rheinberger - Abendlied
Bruckner - Te Deum
Currently drowning out the 'Superhits of the 70's and 80's.'
Thanks PWHODGES!
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 09 Aug 2016, 07:43
Gosh, you're going back a bit!  Glad to know that it's still appreciated, though.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 03 Jul 2018, 06:26
I returned from holiday a couple of hours before my choir sang a concert - so I couldn't sing, but recorded it as usual.  It was called "Parry and his pupils", and consisted of works by Parry and several early twentieth-century English composers.  But as well as that concert, I'm letting you access all my recordings of the choir, in both stereo and 4.0 surround (except just the three earliest).

https://cassland.org/CherwellSingers (https://cassland.org/CherwellSingers)
login: cherwell
password: singers

Someone also videoed part of the concert, so here's the video with my audio (there are three audio tracks - my stereo, my 4.0 surround, the camera's):
https://cassland.org/videos/20180701%20Cherwell%20Singers%201st%20July%202018%20(Parry%20-%20Blest%20pair%20of%20sirens).mp4 (https://cassland.org/videos/20180701%20Cherwell%20Singers%201st%20July%202018%20(Parry%20-%20Blest%20pair%20of%20sirens).mp4)
Most browsers will automatically play this (but only with the default audio track) rather than download; in Chrome and Opera, there is a download button at the right-hand end of the video control bar. Or you can download this zipped version (https://cassland.org/videos/20180701%20Cherwell%20Singers%201st%20July%202018%20(Parry%20-%20Blest%20pair%20of%20sirens).zip).
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Tova on 04 Jul 2018, 19:47
Thank you very much. I look forward to enjoying them.

I would be most interested in some technical details of how the recordings were obtained, if you wouldn't mind sharing them. Particularly the equipment used, microphone placement, and any post-processing steps.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 05 Jul 2018, 03:54
Up-to-date description, but still under development here: https://tetrahedral.audio/ (https://tetrahedral.audio/)
Older (updating slowly), but relevant to earlier concerts here: https://ambisonic.info/practical.html (https://ambisonic.info/practical.html)

Here is a newly made short documentary about the early work of Michael Gerzon, the inventor of the "Ambisonics" technique of recording I use.  I was a friend of his at university, and appear in the video a couple of times (my voice is also the second you hear, and the microphone in the opening shot is mine):

Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Akima on 03 Jan 2019, 15:58
I read this with interest in the Christmas special edition of The Economist.: "Sacred choral music touches on deep religious, moral and political questions. (https://www.economist.com/christmas-specials/2018/12/18/sacred-choral-music-touches-on-deep-religious-moral-and-political-questions)"
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 03 Jan 2019, 16:17
That's a nice informative article.  Thanks for the link.

Another perspective of Byrd's period is to look at the Reformation, and what it required of musicians.  Under protestantism, the words were paramount, and so they had to be both in the vernacular and sung simultaneously in all parts to avoid the confusion of overlapping words.  So we see the English composers of the time - Tallis, Byrd, Sheppard and others - changing not only the language they set, but also the style of setting, as the pendulum swung to and from Catholicism.  For instance, Tallis's Catholic music is markedly more elaborate and contrapuntal than his Protestant music, because by that time the Catholic church had accepted more elaboration "for the glory of God" than the protestants were prepared to allow.

I talk about this in the program of the recent concert "Reformation 500" which you can access through the link in my earlier message above.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 18 Mar 2019, 17:18
I enjoyed last night's concert - the organ we used is delightfully raucous at times!

https://cassland.org/CherwellSingers/2019-03-17_Organ/ (https://cassland.org/CherwellSingers/2019-03-17_Organ/)
or
https://cassland.org/CherwellSingers/2019-03-17_Organ_Surround/ (https://cassland.org/CherwellSingers/2019-03-17_Organ_Surround/)

I was surprised that the choir so easily overpowers the organ in the recording.  It's my first time recording in that chapel; but my microphone was quite near their permanently installed kit, so I expected the balance to be about right.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Gyrre on 14 Oct 2019, 05:46
It's not a concert, but it does use a Russian choir.



Theophany also uses choral performances to great effect in their work.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Eri on 25 Nov 2019, 11:57
I got accepted into MMEA's Southeastern District Senior Festival! And I got an All-State Rec!! Very exciting and I have triumphed over my terrible self-doubt once more.
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: pwhodges on 17 Dec 2019, 15:58
Time for another choral concert.

https://cassland.org/cherwellsingers/2019-12-07_Victoria&Albert/ (https://cassland.org/cherwellsingers/2019-12-07_Victoria&Albert/)

Login User: cherwell
Password: singers
Title: Re: Let's talk choral music.
Post by: Tova on 03 Jul 2020, 16:58