Thursday, September 24, 2015

Some of My Favorite Youtube Choral Performances

Today is a list of youtube links to some of my favorite youtube choral performances.
I was tempted to just include videos with me singing or conducting, but then I thought better of myself. So here are some other ensembles in amazing performances. I include a little info about each below the link.

We start with Leonard Bernstein conducting his choral classic, Chichester Psalms. This recording is with the Poznan Philharmonic Chorus. The incredible artistry that Bernstein pulls out of the string players, in what is essentially a string overture to the final movement, is beautiful. The boy soloist in the final movement is spectacular!

The Kansas City Chorale, under director Charles Bruffy, truly sings the Russian Liturgical Choral music with amazing passion. This is Rachmaninov's Our Father from the Liturgy of St. John Chrisostom, Op.31.

In the long relationship between composer Morten Lauridsen, The Los Angeles Chorale, and conductor Paul Salamunovich, few ensembles have had as much beautiful success as this collaboration. This movement from Les Chansons de Roses: De Ton Reve Trop Plein is much less popular than the final movement Dirait Ton. But for me this is the movement that shows the width and breadth of this choir, conductor, and composers incredible ability and joy of singing.
From Arvo Pärt: A Tribute - Arvo Pärt by Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Theatre of Voices, Pro Arte Singers and Paul Hillier, conductor

This also another great collaboration between composer and choir. Arvo Part and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir are inseparable in my mind. This performance of Part's incredible "Which was the son of..." is the lineage of Christ according to St. Luke. This list of "begats" could be very boring, but Part and the choir know exactly where the emphasis needs to be and the compositional style which Part calls "tintinnabula" is evocative and visceral. 

I hope you enjoyed these selections. I am a fan of many choirs and many styles of music, but these particular selections are a part of my choral vocabulary and my "go to" songs when I am in the mood for really phenomenal choral performances.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

MusicSpoke: Another blog about choral music, musicians, and ideas...

I have some choral anthems published through a relatively new publishing company with a new model for composers.

MusicSpoke's mission is to support composers in composing. It is artist owned and supports the composer's right to self promote and produce music of high quality. As a part of this initiative, Kurt Knecht,
one of the founding owners of MusicSpoke has a regular blog. Kurt is a Lincoln area composer, church musician, teacher, and supporter of choral music. He will also be one of the Lincoln Choral Artists guest musicians on our spring concert, "Song My Mother Taught Me." We will even be performing at Kurt's church, St. Mark's On the Campus on May 13th.

Below are links to a few particular blog postings I thoroughly enjoyed. I have read almost every blog, short or long, and they all have gems of knowledge and offer a more personal insight into composers' and musicians' minds.

One of my choral arrangements.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Music in the Rockies, or how I can't fight being a choral nerd!

Over the Labor Day holiday I traveled to Colorado on my Harley-Davidson Motorcycle. I went with my best friend from Minnesota. He and I met in youth choir over twenty years ago. We have both developed a love of riding, but we have also both engaged in less "cool" activities. I would consider us both Star Wars geeks, Muppets fans, Beatles lovers (that's pretty cool), and a million other nerd culture supporters. When I was in High School being a nerd was not the "in" thing it is today. There was no Big Bang Theory or massive support of Sci-fi movies, Renaissance Festivals, or Robotics teams. It seems that the tide turned and now it's "Hip To Be Square." Maybe part of riding a motorcycle for me has been about doing something that is completely different from my regular choral "nerdiness." But as I have directed many choirs and I always find the one or two riders in the choir, including in LCA! 
So when I was in the mountains over the weekend I had hoped to really let go of work and daily life. But of course I found myself, humming, even singing, and actually thinking of the score for the music of our first concert. Part of it is I love the music; Benjamin Britten's Old Joe Has Gone Fishing, Willamette Spence's At the Round Earth's Imagined Corners, Alice Parker's Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye, Aaron Copland's I Bought Me A Cat... but also I think this music and the music being performed by Toasted Ponies (Lincoln Folk Ensemble) and Lincoln Christian School speak to the great folk music traditions and storytelling history often found in choral music. I found myself contemplating the deeper meaning of the text as I dropped down from the mountain into clouds in Rocky Mountain National Park. I was again swooned by simple yet beautiful harmonies as I whizzed around deep curves.

I was blessed to have such a great experience. I shared it with a great friend. I enjoyed nature in a way I have never felt before. And I got renewed and excited about the music I love and can't wait to share with you on Oct. 25.