Poulenc Christmas Motets
  • G
    Posts: 1,397
    I am completely losing my ability to judge how easy or difficult a piece of music will be for my choir.
    I have never actually either sung or directed any of the Poulenc Christmas motets, but thought I might try one this year.

    Am leaning toward Videntes Stellam because we could use more Epiphany repertoire, but not married to the idea.

    Can anyone tell me from experience which might be, to put it baldly, the EASIEST?

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,188
    In my humble opinion, O Magnum is the most difficult to tune well, plus sopranos have to sing their entrance quietly. Videntes Stellam has its own difficulties, but I would choose that one to start with if forced to make a choice. All are difficult in their own way, but very effective with the text. Hodie Christus natus est is a workout for the basses. Quem vidistis is sublime but also difficult to tune. Having conducted all four, I humbly suggest you never program all of them in one year. Experience told me it was bad idea. Too much angst.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,181
    Here's a recording of a local group singing the Hodie Christus natus est. The performance has its flaws, so make allowances.
  • G
    Posts: 1,397
    Maybe I'll spring for Videntes Stellam, then.
    I humbly suggest you never program all of them in one year. Experience told me it was bad idea.

    No, even I am not that stupid...

    I think someone on another thread mentioned how dangerous it is to mess with the choir's or congregations expectations on Christmas, so I try to limit myself to one new "Hey, that's not a carol, what're we singing THAT for?!?!" item a year for the de facto pre-Midnight Mass concert.

    Rutter's What Sweeter music proved easier than I would have expected and they "liked" it, the Shepherds' Farewell from Berlioz "L'Enfance du Christ proved more difficult, and the Vittoria O Magnum provoked some very strong reactions.
    I've always liked the Poulenc but never really studied them, and thought this might be the year.

    I'm also thinking about working up some wonderful choral Gloria, (the "song of the angels",) that we would never be permitted to use in Mass.
    Any suggestions there, for something festive and... how to put this... impressive, for the amount of work, (and preferably PD, the cost is a factor for the Poulenc)?
    Or should I start a new thread?

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,188
    Yes, I had really good group that year. We survived all four, but it was heavy.
    The Gloria from the "Masque of Angels" by Dominick Argento. A workout, but lots of fun. Sang it in 1982 with the composer.
  • For a more traditional Gloria, what about the Mozart from 12th Mass. That's very festive.

    And if your choir loved 'What sweeter music' how about his Candlelight Carol- easier than WSM. For my choir it is not Midnight Mass w/o several Rutter carol settings. Also 'In the bleak midwinter' by Holst or Darke. The Lauridssen 'O Magnum mysterium' also. Oh, I just thought of another oldie but goody, if you have enough people for divided parts- the Healy Willan 'Three Kings' I love that. Ok, we should prolly start a new thread of favorites for Christmas season!!) I have never been brave enough to attempt one of the Poulenc, although I love them. This year, I'm dropping the Rutter setting of 'O Holy night' for one by Brian Luckner with brass. It's in a better(ie, Lower) key and has nice men's parts.
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,473
    Dear G:
    I have an Fully orchestrated version of the Holst In The Bleak midminter, for anyone why may want it.
    Each verse is different in harmonization.
  • There are string parts for the Darke arr. of In the Bleak M also.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,707
    If any of you can do any of Poulenc's motets with your choir, I am certainly jealous!
  • Me, too! For one thing, they would hate them, for another, the cong. would hate it and thirdly, the priest would hate it. It took my sopranos years before they grew to love "I sat down under His shadow" LOLOL