A basic choir repertoire • 10 Anthems in English and/or 10 Motets in Latin - Your Opinion
  • Please read carefully before posting:

    What ten Anthems and/or ten Motets do you believe that every choir should master, in order of learning, 1 through 10.

    You may post only Anthems in English, or Motets in Latin - or independent lists of both.

    Do not mix them in the same list.

    Your comments will be of value to many so please, follow the instructions. No more than 10, separate lists for English and Latin.

    Addition to this post: Ignoring the requirement to list in order of learning reduces the value of your post for new directors who are looking to build a choir using the music. New directors need guidance, not 10 titles thrown out to them with no plan for use. It is a choir building plan, not a "meet the liturgical needs of the season" plan. I apologize for not being clearer about this. I suggest editing posts to meet this requirement. New directors are hungry and want you to share your knowledge.

    And yes, you are limited to 10 titles. The only people exempt from this requirement must be pre-approved through the submission of a pre-school coloring project marked with an F- by the teacher for coloring outside the lines. Notarized copies not required, we trust you.

    [the rumor that this was a psychological test is unfounded]
    Thanked by 2Choirparts JulieColl
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,624
    The order they should master them would depend on what time of the year they were beginning (it wouldn't make sense to start mastering O Magnum Mysterium if the choir were forming in Lent, but if they were forming in Advent it would). So I did the list without an order in mind.

    1 - Ave Verum Corpus, Byrd
    2 - Sicut Cervus, Palestrina
    3 - Ubi Caritas, Durufle
    4 - O Magnum Mysterium, Victoria
    5 - Ave Maria, Victoria/Handl
    6 - Regina Caeli, Aichinger
    7 - Ave Verum, Mozart
    8 - Maria Magdalene, Gabrieli
    9 - Dixit Maria, Hassler
    10 - Adoramus Te Christe, Palestrina (attr)
    Thanked by 1Choirparts
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    Here are ten Latin choral numbers all of which have served us very well on many occasions. I'd really need to make another list of ten more which I would consider absolutely indispensable, but these are the easiest.

    Desidero mi Jesu (Kevin Allen)
    O Sanctissima (Kevin Allen)
    Panis Angelicus (Kevin Allen)
    Jesu Rex Admirabilis (Palestrina)
    Ecce Panis Angelorum (Isaac)
    Ave Verum Corpus (St. Saens)
    Haec Dies a 3 (Byrd)
    Ave Vera Virginitas (Josquin des Prez)
    Cantate Domino (Pitoni)
    Ave Maria (Victoria)

    Thanked by 1Choirparts
  • 1. Veni Creator Spiritus - Josquin (attached)
    2. Laudate Nomen Domini - Tye
    3. Cantate Domino - Pitoni
    4. Iesu Rex Admirabilis -Palestrina
    5. Oculi Omnium - Wood
    6. Ave Maria - Handl (attr. Victoria)
    7. Jesu Dulcis Memoria - Victoria
    8. Ave Verum - Byrd
    9. Cantate Domino - Hassler
    10. Exsultate Justi - Viadana

    Two limitations on this list: these pieces
    (1) are shorter pieces (no more than 3 or 4 pages long), and
    (2) can be sung generally through the year - i.e. no motets that are appropriate only for a particular season.
    Also, all can be found free online with the exception of #1, which I have attached.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,892
    I can't rank one by one in order of difficulty, because that really depends on the particular weaknesses of a given choir/space. So they are listed alphabetically:

    Ave Verum Corpus: Byrd (above all other settings, even Mozart), Mozart, Saint Saens, Elgar
    Beati Quorum Via: Stanford
    Cantate Domino: Hassler
    Exultate Justi: Viadana
    Exsultate Deo: Palestrina (the same text as Byrd's Sing Joyfully; it's instructive to compare the two great masters' settings of this text to see the genius of both Roman and English polyphonic schools at their most mature)
    Jubilate Deo: Lassus
    Locus Iste: Bruckner
    O Nata Lux: Tallis (tuning the false relations is key - have baritones with good pitch)
    Sicut Cervus: Palestrina
    Tantum Ergo: Durufle
    Ubi Caritas: Durufle

    Almighty and Everlasting God: Gibbons
    Call To Remembrance: Farrant
    I Have Longed For Thy Saving Health: Byrd
    If Ye Love Me: Tallis
    Lord For Thy Tender Mercy’s Sake: Hilton
    O Lord Increase My Faith: Gibbons
    O Taste and See: Vaughan Williams
    Rejoice in The Lord Alway: Anonymous 16th century
    Sing Joyfully Unto God: Byrd (somewhat more challenging)
    Sing My Soul: Rorem (a lovely mid 20th century chestnut)

    Additional seasonal, English and Latin:
    Crux Fidelis: attr. to King Joao IV of Portugal, but probably 19th century (Passiontide)
    E’en So, Lord, Quickly Come: Manz (Advent; end of OT)
    I Will Not Leave You Comfortless: Titcomb (for late Eastertide)
    Non Vos Relinquam: Byrd (for late Eastertide)
    O Magnum Mysterium: Victoria (Christmastide)
    The Glory of the Father: Hovland (Advent & Christmastide) - simplicity itself to grace the greatest text of the Gospels

    Note: I didn't include Byrd's Haec Dies because, supernal as it is, it's fairly challenging, shall we say. Basically, I (heart) Byrd; while I respect Palestrina, Byrd slays me. Gibbons is underappreciated, for that matter.

    Marian antiphons:

    Ave Maria: Handl (attr. Victoria); Arcadelt; Stravinsky (should be better known)
    Regina Caeli: Aichinger
    Alma Redemptoris Mater: Palestrina

  • Mark P.
    Posts: 248
    Ave verum - Saint-Saens (Arista)
    Ave Maria - Arcadelt
    Cantate Domino - Hassler
    Dixit Maria - Hassler
    Dixit Dominus - Mozart (Solemn Vespers of a Confessor)
    Panis angelicus - Saint-Saens (Oxford)
    Tantum ergo - Faure (Opus 55 with Soprano or Tenor solo)
    Vere languores - Victoria
    Tenebrae factae sunt - Ingegneri
    Regina coeli - Aichinger
    Thanked by 2Choirparts kenstb
  • Great thread.... excellent thought starters for new pieces to work on.
  • kenstb
    Posts: 358
    Thanks to all of you. Good leads on new pieces to try.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,892
    Another somewhat challenging English-language anthem, which can be appropriate for a Communion meditation or Eastertide, is the oldest English-language American-anthem in the continuous repertoire (yes, that's a mouthful): William Billing's "I Am The Rose of Sharon". Taken from the second chapter of the Song of Songs (a *very* unusual text for Congregationalist New Englanders to sing - for medieval monks and nuns, it would have been mother's' milk, as it were, as the Song of Songs was, along with the Psalms, the most commented on Scripture in the height of the medieval era).

    It's also wonderful to sing. Billings was an autodidact as a musician (he was a tanner), and this anthem in particular shows the influence of the vernacular singing of folks working on the waterfront of Boston, baptizing it for sacred use.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Mark P.
    Posts: 248
    Anthems in English:
    Behold, the Tabernacle of God--William Harris
    Thee We Adore--T. Frederick H. Candlyn
    O Thou the Central Orb--Charles Wood
    Of the Father's Love Begotten--arr. Wilbur Chenoweth
    Ye Choirs of New Jerusalem--Charles Stanford
    This Joyful Eastertide--arr. Charles Wood
    Praise--Alec Rowley
    There Shall a Star--Mendelssohn (RSCM/GIA)
    Blessed Are the Men Who Fear Him--Mendelssohn (from "Elijah")
    Christ Whose Glory Fills the Skies--T. Frederick H. Candlyn
  • I don't wish to repeat some of the aforementioned motets and anthems, as they are excellent suggestions, so I'm going to list some that may not be sung as frequently or perhaps unknown to others.

    English Anthems:

    Like As the Hart (Ps. 42) -- H. Howells (Lent / Gen. Use)
    O Clap Your Hands -- R. Vaughan Williams
    We Have Seen His Star -- E. Titcomb (Epiphany)
    The Eyes of All -- J. Berger
    All Hail Adored Trinity -- L. Sowerby
    Sing a New Song To the Lord (Ps. 96) -- P. Manz
    Sleepers Wake, A Voice is Calling -- F. Mendelssohn (from "St. Paul") (Advent)
    A Spotless Rose -- H. Howells (Xmas)
    The Blessed Son of God (from "Hodie") -- R. Vaughan Williams (Xmas)
    O For A Closer Walk With God -- C.V. Stanford (Lent / Gen. use)
    In the Bleak Midwinter -- H. Darke (Xmas)

    Latin Motets:

    Adoramus Te -- Francesco Rosselli (Lent)
    Nos Autem Gloriari -- F. Anerio (Introit - Holy Thurs.)
    Rorate Caeli -- C. Tye (Advent IV)
    O Jesu Christe -- Jaquet of Mantua
    Crucifixus ("Mass in B Minor") -- J.S. Bach
    Ave Verum -- Josquin des Prez (SAB voices)
    Ave Verum -- F. Peeters
    O Rex Gloriae -- L. Marenzio
    Ad Te Levavi -- J. Rheinberger (Advent I)
    O Vos Omnes -- T.L. Vittoria / J. Obrecht (Good Fri.)
    Puer Natus Est -- C. Morales (Xmas)
  • mrcoppermrcopper
    Posts: 647
    nice list, unda, thanks
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,210
    Getting confused now ... every choir should master these?
  • Blaise
    Posts: 438
    (color purple) I am not a choir director here, but I request an exemption to the requirement that the list be in order. I also request an exemption to the requirement of no more than 10. Finally, I absolutely demand an exemption to the requirement that the list be composed exclusively of English Anthems and/or Latin Motets as compared to more recent works.

    Any denials of the above demands and especially the last will be appealed to the Supreme Tribunal of the CMAA. (end color purple)
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I dunno about the rest of the contributed lists, but I presume that they, like mine, have been performed by the choir(s) the submitting directors conduct now. For myself, there are even more challenging works that didn't make the cut. So ??? We were invited, we responded.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,210
    Are we really talking BASIC repertoire which every choir should master? Let's see:

    *The Lotti Crucifixus is a 10-part work.
    *The Victoria Ave Maria is for double choir (unless you mean the 4-part one that is now known to be by Handl, not by Victoria).
    *Not sure which of several Hassler Cantate Domino settings you mean ... they go from 4-part to 12-part.
    *The Allegri Miserere Mei is for 5-part choir plus 4-part soli.
    *Byrd's Sing Joyfully is a 6-part work.
    *Palestrina's Exultate Deo is a 5-part work.
    *Tallis's O nata lux is a 5-part work.

    I guess we should have master choirs to master these.

    Maybe some of these masterful choirs would like to undertake my very traditional 6-part Ave Verum Corpus ... or my 8-part O Magnum Mysterium (okay, kidding with that, since this latter work is tres moderne).

    Okay ... maybe people will get back to BASIC repertoire.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,210
    MeloCharlie ... I just don't see some of these lists as coming anywhere near what Noel asked for ... hence my skepticism.
    Thanked by 1noel jones, aago
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,892

    The ones I listed with extra parts (also Stanford's Beati Quorum Via) in practical terms basically involve divisi in SATB sections, and none of them require huge forces to divisi (I am assuming a choral force of at least 20, though, then again I tend to think of smaller groups as scholas that are not going to do as much polyphonic anthems anyway, because the vulnerability to absences makes that much harder). The Hassler I was referring to was a 4, the staple of high school choral competitions.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Chuck, what you didn't account for is that there are arrangements extant for the Lotti, the Victoria AV* and others that aren't voiced as you listed. Add to that omission the practicality of composer/arrangers with whom you truck at CPDL who ingeniusly or otherwise modify more complex works into more accessible works. Add to that the reality that the Allegri, eg., doesn't require a four individual soli, as traditionally done, the choir can manage that handily, so that all you need is a soprano that can beautifully come up with a high C. But it is a staple worth knowing.
    The stringency of your retort took me by surprise. Would it have been better to say "Just do what most newbies do, try to recreate all the tunes you loved while in college choir?" Could we just say, "Sing anything by Richard Rice week after week, starting with the Simple Choral Gradual and work your way up to the Choral Communio." Should we say go out and get Richard Shepherd's collections of very suitable two part anthems?
    Should we list the sublime compositions by Heath Morber and Royce Nickel even tho' they don't make the "old chestnut" criterium?
    It seems that when specificity is called for, you're damned if you do, and damned if you don't.
    The whole atmosphere in CMAA Land is getting more insular and denser, IMO, YMMV.
    *Sorry, my Oxford SATB edition doesn't show the assignation to Jacob, sorry not to keep up on, ahem, current events.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,210
    Melo and others, of course I'm pressing this for a couple of reasons. First, the original request reads
    What ten Anthems and/or ten Motets do you believe that every choir should master, in order of learning, 1 through 10.
    I just don't see that some of the works being listed fit the "every choir should master" description, no matter how beautiful they are.

    I picked on the numbers of parts, because I know full well that not every choir has more than a dozen members, and many choirs have fewer than 10, often many fewer. This severely limits ones choices if one is leading the average or smaller choir. Hence, my assumption from the outset is that works should be limited to at most 4 parts.

    There had to be a reason for Noel to phrase the question as he did, along with his accompanying commentary. It seems to me that the preparation of such lists, as well as the use of such lists, might well have been intended as a pedagogical device ... aimed at helping (a) new choir directors, or (b) choir directors of newly formed choirs, or (c) of directors wishing to transition choirs from non-polyphony to polyphony. Why else did Noel ask for the lists to be ranked in order of learning?

    Additionally, for those who have been preparing such lists, who are very knowledgeable and who come from already well developed choir programs, this is seems intended as an exercise in going back to basics and making a sincere effort to help choir directors and musicians that are in situations much less attractive and less robust than where many of us are, in our ivory towers (or vaulted cathedrals or mega-parishes).

    You may ask where my list is, and my response is that, after much thought, I have been unable to come up with such a list. Reasons? For one thing, I don't feel competent enough to, and secondly some of the lists and reactions to Noel's request have only confused and discouraged me from trying. It's gratifying that "more challenging works" didn't make the cut, but it just looked to me as if there are still a number of works that don't fit the original criterion for these lists.

    This isn't a "these would be nice for a choir to learn and you might be able to do at some point a few years down the road) list making exercise. It's a "what every choir should master, in order of learning" exercise. I haven't been able to do it, and it may be that such list making is well nigh impossible to do.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,892
    And, as I explained in my rationale for responding as I did, much depends on the given weaknesses of a choir and the space in which it sings. There's no reliable control factor to make a top-down list of that type univalent.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,210
    There's no reliable control factor to make a top-down list of that type univalent.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Con-chord achieved.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,520
    My list of English anthems, necessarily skewed to include some of my favorites.

    1) On Jordan's Bank (SAB: Claudio Monteverdi, pub. GIA)
    2) O how amiable are thy dwellings (SATB: Vaughan Williams, OUP)
    3) Lead me, Lord (SATB, S solo: SS Wesley, CPDL)
    4) Honour and Majestie are before him (SATB: Maurice Greene, CPDL)
    5) Creation: "When I with pleasing wonder stand" (SATB: Wm. Billings, CPDL)
    6) If ye love me (SATB: Thos. Tallis, CPDL)
    7) Almighty and Everlasting God (SATB: Orlando Gibbons, CPDL)
    8) Lord for thy tender Mercies' sake (SATB: Farrant/Hilton, CPDL)
    9) O taste and see (SATB, S solo: Vaughan WIlliams, OUP)
    10) O taste and see (SATB: Arthur Sullivan, CPDL)

    Latin list coming soon.
    Thanked by 1irishtenor
  • Blaise
    Posts: 438
    May I ask something? Before we get to heavy into making lists, how do we define a "choir"? This is not to get sarcastic, really, but what I have in mind (SATB/chant) may not be what someone else has in mind (a group whose purpose it to sing with the congregation, even with good hymns with harmonies). So, from the latter's point of view, the starting position may be entirely different.
  • nun_34nun_34
    Posts: 63
    Given the different lists of suggestions from all those who so generously responded, I find it helpful that certain of the pieces are named by multiple people. I think anyone (such as myself) who is following this thread looking for pieces, would key in on those first. "Ave Maria (Victoria) ... Iesu Rex Admirabilis (Palestrina), OK, a couple people have suggested those, so that's probably a good place to start. Now let me look them up and see whether the parts will 'work' with the manpower (voice-power?) I have available." If yes, good; if no, then pass.

    There's no reliable control factor to make a top-down list of that type univalent.

    Even if there was one, I'm sure individual directors would adapt it. In any case,

    New directors are hungry and want you to share your knowledge.

    So, to anyone else who cares to offer their list: don't feel that you oughtn't to name one or another piece because it's here already. On the contrary.

    God bless you!
    Thanked by 1donr
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,325
    Lists like what Noel is suggesting are very useful.
    I don't know if the lists being offered ARE, though.

    To people who have been doing this a long time, especially those with living connections to the tradition, this may seem silly or perfunctory or something.

    To some of us, who grew up and were trained in modernists wastelands, it's very helpful to have somebody point out: "Everybody really ought to know these 10 or 12 pieces."

  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    This is indeed a great thread. I've picked up some excellent ideas. Since there are so many useful and beautiful Latin motets out there, it might be helpful to compile several lists according to level of difficulty (although that may be relative) and also to indicate if the pieces are SAB, SATB, or whatever and give links to online sources if possible.

    Then you'd really be cookin'.
  • I apologize that the list I provided weren't listed in easy - difficult order. However, I listed some accesible works, and some that are more challenging. Also included are works that may not be known to some conductors, or perhaps have been forgotten by others, who may want to "revive" them once again. Also, I selected works strictly for SATB only, except for the des Prez - Ave Verum, and All Hail, Adored Trinity - Sowerby--both scored for SAB voices.

    I think it's difficult to list pieces in order of difficulty for the following reasons:

    1. Every choir has varying numbers
    2. Every choir has varying musical abilities: (sight reading skills, intonation, diction,
    musical expression, trained ears for "balance" and attention to detail). All these
    abilities/skills vary from choir to choir.
    3. balance of numbers in all sections vary from choir to choir.
    4. Without hearing a choir in rehearsal or during worship, it's difficult to suggest new
    music for them that may be within their current grasp, to suit their taste, or may
    be within their reach at some point down the road. It leaves one "grasping at straws".

    As I had stated originally, I avoided works that had already been suggested by others that perhaps could or should be "staples" in their repertoire. Rather, I attempted to list other less familiar works of similar quality repertoire as others had listed.
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    Unda, your list was amazing---I'd actually love to see another ten suggestions from you. Actually, I'd just like to be in your choir! : )

    I really like this interpretation of Mantua/Berchem's O Jesu Christe

  • Univalent? I have trouble remaining unpaired during meiosis, but I don't talk about it in public.
  • Julie,

    Thanks for your comments and compliments on my suggested choral literature, and for the video of the "O Jesu Christe"---a stunning performance!! If you have access to the old "Pius X Hymnal" (or you can probably buy a used one on Amazon) there are a number of A Cappella Renaissance works in that hymnal that might work for your choir. Some of them were in my earlier listing:

    Laudate Dominum (chant & SATB) - Diego Ortiz
    Adoramus Te (SATB) -- Francesco Rosselli
    Crux Fidelis (SATB) -- King John of Portugual
    O Bone Jesu (SATB) -- Palestrina
    O Jesu Christe (SATB) --Jaquet of Mantua
    Alma Redemptoris Mater (SATB) -- Palestrina
    In Monte Oliveti -- G. Croce
    Voce Mea ad Dominum Clamavi (SATB) -- N. Gomolka
    O Esca Viatorum (SATB) -- H. Isaak
    Ave Verum (SAB) -- J. Des Pres
    Ave Maris Stella (SATB) -- Vittoria
    Ave Maria (SATB) -- Vittoria
    Laetentur Caeli (Xmas) (SATB) -- C. Carturan (20th C.)
    Tui Sunt Caeli (Xmas) (SATB) -- C. Carturan (20th C.)
    Gloria Patri (Doxology) (SATB) -- Palestrina
    Jesu, Redemptor Omnium (Xmas) (SATB) -- J. Stadlmayr

    These are some of the selections in the Pius X Hymnal that might be useful for you. Also, there are 2 part and 3 part motets as well. Many of these are probably available on cpdl as well.

    Also, I sing in an Episcopal church now (though raised Catholic). I was fortunate during my long Boston residency to sing 10 years with the Boston Archidocesan Choir School of boys and Men at St. Paul, Cambridge, under legendary organist/conductor/composer, Theodore Marier. It was here that I gleaned so much from Dr. Marier about quality choral and organ music, and beautiful liturgies. I'm now living in the "heartlands", and the state of Catholic church music here is somewhere between "tepid" and an "embarrassment"--even at our Catholic Cathedral where I sang for about 6 mos., and had to leave. Very much at home over the past 4 yrs. at this Episcopal church. Eighteen members in the choir, many of whom have had some voice study and some who have studied organ as well. The choir reads very well, and I'm in my musical element there, as the music program emphasis is on Renaissance literature, though we sing Mendelssohn, Brahms, Stanford, Durufle, Vaughan-Williams, Howells, Titcomb and Rheinberger. I also studied organ during my Boston years, and played in 2 Catholic churches at different times. Have given up the organ, and have turned back to the piano to re-learn some old literature and some new works as well.

    Hope this info has been of help to you. Happy to share any knowledge I have re: choral and organ music, so don't hesitate to ask. Happy to help out if I can.

    Unda Maris
    Thanked by 1JulieColl
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    Unda Maris, (what a great handle, by the way) many thanks for these suggestions and the recommendations. I'm going to be happy as a clam looking these up!

    I have Dr. Marier's Master Class of Gregorian Chant and have learned so much from the CD's and book. It is the best explanation of chant I've ever found. What an experience that must have been singing in his choir.

    I often wish I could join an Episcopal/Anglican choir in my spare time just for the joy of singing since they often take their music much more seriously than their RC counterparts.

    Someday if you ever have time, I'd love to hear your thoughts/recommendations on the best way for a mixed schola to sing the propers. I'm very interested in learning how to achieve a beautiful pure unified sound with mixed voices. We have a tenor, baritone, alto and soprano and the four of us must sing the unaccompanied G.R. propers every Sunday. It works well, but I hope we can someday, God willing, take it to the next level.
  • The following pieces have been successful with my new Schola and I think are a good starting place.

    Latin Chants
    Adoro Te Devote (Aquinas)
    Jesu Dulcis Memoria (Clairvaux)
    Salve Regina
    Ave Maria
    Veni Creator Spiritus

    Latin Motets
    Panis Angelicus (Baini)
    Jesu Rex Admirabilis (Palestrina)
    Anima Christie (Frisina)
    Ave Verum (Mozart--but just beginning to learn)
  • donr
    Posts: 942
    I agree with most of the critiques of this thread. We have a very green choir, no music degrees among us or at least vocally. Some can read, some can not.
    So far we have worked on (in order, none mastered yet in 2 years but working):
    1. Ave Verum Corpus (SATB) - Mozart
    2. O Bone Jesu (SAB) - Grancini (The Catholic Choir Book)
    3. Adoramus te Christe (SATB) - Dubois (The Catholic Choir Book)
    4. Crux Fidelis (SA) - Rose (CPDL)
    5. For Unto Us a Child is Born (SATB) - Hinz (CPDL)
    6. "This is the Body" (SATB) - Frank La Rocca (Illuminare Publications) - Adding this year very beautiful.

    I don't have 10 yet

    Its is extremely helpful to me to see pieces that are easy to moderate that we can learn in a helpful order. Also it would be very helpful to know where they fit in the Liturgy.
    I really like what Adam has done with Mr. La Rocca's pieces on his web site - http://illuminarepublications.com/choral-propers-from-frank-la-rocca/

    This is the Body >>
    (Communion Antiphon: Holy Thursday, Corpus Christi)
  • Helpful lists
  • It doesn't meet Noel's criteria for this thread, but here's a related link.

    NPM's Pastoral Music (Jan. 2011) has "A Beginner's Polyphonic Repertoire," pp. 30-31. The rest of the issue is interesting also.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,325
    Earlier, I said:
    To some of us, who grew up and were trained in modernists wastelands, it's very helpful to have somebody point out: "Everybody really ought to know these 10 or 12 pieces."

    I discovered one of those pieces recently, and no one else has mentioned it on this thread (though I discovered it in some other forum thread).

    John Stainer's God So Loved The World


    (There are better recordings on YouTube, but this apparently amateur choir is the closest to what we sounded like singing it. Except I used a ridiculous amount of rubato. Because reasons.)

    Used it this past weekend.

    Two things about it:
    1. My choir was able to pull it together in one rehearsal.
    2. Several older folks who have been involved in choirs throughout their lives commented on how this is a piece that "everybody knows."

    I have one (very) older gentlemen in the parish whose voice does not permit him to sing with us any longer (a real loss, too), who had been a music director and teacher. He told me a story about something he did once (probably 40 or 50 years ago). During announcements, he asked the congregation how many of them had ever sung in a church choir- 30 or so hands went up. He invited them all up and said, "You probably know this already, and if you don't - you'll pick it up." He had gone out and bought every copy of the piece he could find. Handed it out - they sang it (beautifully, he said), and several of them joined the choir after that.

    All that to say:
    Apparently, at least in Anglican circles, this is a piece that everyone ought to know.

  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,115
    It's a very effective anthem, I think. Plus (purple) you can get one of the tenors to face paint and wave a John 3:16 placard up and down in the sanctuary at the fun parts.
  • ChoirpartsChoirparts
    Posts: 144
    Another vote for "God So Loved The World" by Stainer.

    SATB parts available...

  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,210
    Two of the best CPDL editions of Stainer's "God so loved the world" are:

    this one edited by CPDL founder Raf Ornes (published March 29, 1999)


    this one edited by Wilbert Berendsen (published March 2 2006).

    Oh, and of course they are free.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    English Music
    1.) Richard de Castre's Prayer to Jesus
    2.) If Ye Love Me (Tallis)
    3.) Verily, Verily I Say Unto You
    4.) Lead Me Lord (Wesley)
    5.) From the Rising of the Sun (Ousely)

    Latin Music
    1.) Ave Verum Corpus (Byrd)
    2.) Sicut Cervus (Palestrina)
    3.) Ad Te Levavi (FX Witt)
    4.) Laudate Nomen Domini (Tye)
    5.) Ave Maria (Arcadelt)
    Thanked by 1Choirparts
  • Richard de Castre's Prayer to Jesus

    I was really disappointed when this did not make it into the New Oxford Easy Anthem Book. GREAT piece! Nice list, Hartley.
    Thanked by 1Felipe Gasper
  • Um, are you passing out boxes of kleenex when you sing the Stainer.
    They would, undoubtedly, be needed.
    Especially if you sing it with correct performance practice with lots of gulping, gasping, moaning and gushy diction and exagerrated dynamics and tremulations. Too, you must pronounce 'wuhrrrrrllld' just so. YMWDT. (IFYPW)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,197
    Stainer isn't bad when sung well - at least no worse than some of the predictable formula music from an earlier age. What may very well be heard in average parishes is:

    Lord, Let Me Walk
    Tree of Life
    Near the Cross
    One Bread, One Body

    I will take Stainer any day over some of those.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,325
    Especially if you sing it with correct performance practice with lots of gulping, gasping, moaning and gushy diction and exagerrated dynamics and tremulations.

    This is how I direct all music.

    you must pronounce 'wuhrrrrrllld' just so

    My choir had a hard time with the vowel here, so I gave them a demo video to practice with at home:


  • mrcoppermrcopper
    Posts: 647
    It is allowed to ask that a piece be removed from these lists? Tallis, "If ye love me", crops up from time to time, and it is just not a good piece of music. Pedestrian in rhythm and invention, speciously easy but impossible to tune. Yes, opinion, but ...
  • I'm surprised not to see more mention of the Mozart Ave Verum on these lists - and I'm not sure the Elgar or Gounod settings came up yet. Both Elgar and Gounod are wonderful, lyrical pieces and good for beginner choirs. Other (beginner) ideas:

    Healy Willan - O Sacred Feast
    SS Wesley - Lead Me, Lord
    John Goss - O Savior of the World
    SS Wesley - Thou Wilt Keep Him in perfect Peace
    Mozart Laudate Dominum and Franck Panis Angelicus are both excellent ways to pair a beginner choir with a good soloist. Ditto for Pietro Yon Gesu Bambino at Christmas
    Byrd - Lord, Teach Me Thy Ways
    Arthur Sullivan - Turn Thy Face From My Sins
    Franck - Psalm 150 (a good "big festive piece" that is quite simple)

    I've done all of the above with a 15-voice amateur parish choir, without too much pain and suffering...

    And in mrcopper's spirit, I would request that the "Victoria" Ave Maria be removed. Just personal preference, of course - I don't think it's a great piece and I've just heard a hundred too many bad high school performances of it to hear it anymore. Why is this always the token high school Renaissance piece?
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,325
    Dear Every Choir In The English Speaking World:

    It is with sadness and heaviness of heart that I write to you.

    We, the members of the online forum loosely connected to the Church Music Association of America, in our role as guardians of truth and beauty in music, must insist that you immediately cease performing the much-loved and generally well-respected piece "If Ye Love Me," by the late Thomas Tallis, of blessed memory.

    I understand that this transition will be a time of great difficulty for you, as this piece has had a near-constant place in the standard repertoire of English-speaking choirs for over four centuries.

    Nevertheless, we must insist that this piece be deleted from all future concert and liturgical programmes, and - whenever possible - physically removed from your libraries and music collections.

    This decision, which is universally applicable and not subject to appeal, has been made for the good of your souls, in light of the new evidence which has recently been discovered in regards to this beloved piece. Namely, some guy on the internet said it wasn't any good.

    If you have any questions regarding this decision, or wish to file any petitions relating to this matter, please contact Ben Yanke, our Intern and interim Director of Musical Anathema.

    Sincerely yours,
    Adam Wood
    Vice President of Early American Religious Comedy, CMAA
    Director Emeritus of Musical Anathema, Musica Sacra Forum
    Pope of Time Travel
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Some folks ought to consider moving to Colorado. ASAP.