Joshua Fishbein: No union is more profound

Publisher | a cappella,choral music,composers,family,gay & lesbian,love,men's,women's,YRM | Saturday, October 17th, 2015

__White_House_rainbow_colors_to_celebrate_June_2015_SCOTUS_same-sex_marriage_ruling
Do you remember when you first heard about the Supreme Court’s landmark, history-making ruling this past June in the case Obergefell v. Hodges which granted same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide?

New YRM writer Joshua Fishbein had just moved back to the Washington, D.C. area from Nevada. He was driving in his car, listening to NPR, and was ecstatic when he heard the news! In particular Joshua was struck by Justice Anthony Kennedy‘s majority opinion, the penultimate paragraph of which was shared in the NPR report.

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.” ~Justice Anthony Kennedy

__Anthony_Kennedy_official_SCOTUS_portrait

Joshua found this paragraph to be “poetically written, moving and naturally well-suited to music. Kennedy knew he was making history when he wrote those lines.” He felt so inspired by these words that he did set them to music, and YRM is fortunate and proud to be able to present this new publication to our customers!

No union is more profound for solo and TBB or SSA a cappella (click on each voicing to view a partial score PDF).

After the chorus sings the opening two lines (which express an universal message about marriage), the soloist enters in recitative style, representing the voice of Justice Kennedy, while the rest of the ensemble acts more as a backup choir. Joshua explains,

“In this way the setting was influenced by my background in Jewish liturgical music, where the choral parts, subservient to the melody sung by the cantor, often exist for harmonic support and to echo the cantor.”

This piece is written in a contrapuntal style with certain words and phrases repeated in order to emphasize them. He chose to leave out the final short paragraph “The judgment… is reversed. It is so ordered.” And rather than end the piece with “The Constitution grants them that right,” the first line is repeated as a musical bookend.

Joshua hopes that the audience who hears this work will be impacted by the monumental change embodied by Justice Kennedy’s words.

“I want them to hear the universal love represented by marriage, as well as the gravitas of these cases, in which both men and women were deprived of the fulfillment of marriage and equal dignity in the eyes of the law. At the same time, I also want the audience to hear optimism in the circumstances surrounding these words.”

Kent Carlson: Women Singing in Winter

Publisher | a cappella,choral music,gay & lesbian,love,winter season,women's | Friday, July 18th, 2014

snowflake-background
Continuing in the vein of “winter in July,” YRM is pleased to announce another addition to our catalog: a new original composition (words as well as music) by Kent Carlson titled Women Singing in Winter for SSA a cappella. The piece evokes a sense of intimacy, sensuality and romance. It offers a very unique option for women’s choruses who are planning a seasonal concert this coming winter.

Carlson shares the following insights:

“When I wrote Women Singing in Winter, I had just finished reading Rita Mae Brown’s Rubyfruit Jungle and June Arnold’s Sister Gin one right after the other, and then I was listening for the millionth time to k.d. lang’s album All You Can Eat. I was so inspired that I thought it would be fun to write a new song for SSA a cappella that incorporated the powerful works of these women. I envisioned two of my female friends in a wintery setting, singing together, enjoying literature, music and erotic fun. Then I wrote the text. The setting came a day later, and followed the natural rhythm of the words. I hope this a cappella work provides a welcome challenge vocally to the extraordinary women’s choirs of today, and perhaps also an unconventional yet satisfying text for December concerts.”

View a partial score PDF of Women Singing in Winter here, and the full lyrics are below:

First the setting: cold and quiet.
Next the players: you and I,
Resilient goddess and resilient goddess.

Women singing in Winter.
Warm by a fire, just singing with k.d.
Sipping Sister Gin in a Rubyfruit Jungle.

Reconteuse, skin like vellum,
Earthy, bold
Just like Women singing,
Singing in Winter.

Now the reason why: we just celebrate
The simple fact of being together in the Winter.
This is our song: the song of Women singing,
Singing in Winter.

Randi Driscoll: Love Is Love

Publisher | choral music,gay & lesbian,love,men's,mixed,uu,women's | Friday, June 27th, 2014

Randi2CroppedFinalWebOnly
The year was 2008, a decade after Randi Driscoll had composed what matters, a beautiful and moving tribute to Matthew Shepard. The songwriter was troubled to see her home state of California embroiled in the controversial battle over Proposition 8 and was inspired to pen Love Is Love as a response.

“[The song was] written as I contemplated where we stood as a country ten years after Matthew Shepard’s death, but more importantly, where I envisioned we, as a society could grow and evolve to. It is my hope for a better tomorrow.”

She collaborated with Kevin Robison (with whom she also worked on what matters) to have the piece arranged for a performance by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. Tim McKnight then adapted Robison’s arrangement for mixed and women’s chorus.

As LGBT Pride Month draws to a close, and in celebration of the momentous progress that has been achieved regarding LGBT rights since the fateful passage of Prop 8 nearly six years ago, Yelton Rhodes Music is excited to announce this new addition to our catalog! Please note that the writers have graciously agreed to donate all royalties from sales of this choral arrangement to the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

[excerpt from lyrics]
There’s a million voices singing by the river,
There’s a hundred lovers dancing in the sand.
There’s a bridge that brings the two sides together,
And a peace that paints the skyline of the land.

Oh, the candles on the water,
The colors of the rainbow light the sky.
Oh, bless all your sons and daughters
So they may never have to know
How hard we had to fight for Love.
Love is love is love is love.

loveislovephoto copy

Download partial score PDFs of Love Is Love for men’s chorus, mixed chorus, and women’s chorus.

Here’s a recording of the solo version of Randi’s song (we hope to have a recording of the choral arrangement soon!):

Hamish MacCunn: Four Songs of Love and Longing

Publisher | choral music,love,women's | Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

MacCunn
Yelton Rhodes Music was recently approached by musicologist Jennifer Oates with an opportunity to publish some partsongs by Scottish romantic composer Hamish MacCunn (1868-1916). MacCunn rose to fame at the age of nineteen with seven orchestral and choral-orchestral works based on Scottish topics (landscape and literature). At the same time, he cultivated a Scottish artistic persona that defined him throughout his career, but he struggled to mediate his Scottishness with his more cosmopolitan music, which was almost exclusively in smaller genres such as partsongs and songs.

Jennifer Oates’ primary area of expertise is in nineteenth- and twentieth-century British music, particularly Scottish art music. So the work of Hamish MacCunn has played a significant role in her research.

A few years ago she was asked to assist with a recording of some of MacCunn’s partsongs by the Queens College Vocal Ensemble (Selected Partsongs of Hamish MacCunn (1868-1916) which can be purchased on iTunes).

In her own words…

Up to this point, I had spent most of my time studying MacCunn’s larger compositions. While I knew that his songs and partsongs are among his most expressive works with some of his most effective use of chromaticism and rapid tonal shifts, it was not until I was editing performance scores of the partsongs that I appreciated that these smaller, intimate pieces are in many ways the gems of his output.

Jennifer decided to seek publication of the partsongs for which she has prepared beautifully and carefully edited scores. She explains her motivation in doing so…

Much of my career has been dedicated to writing about MacCunn and his music. With so few scores of his music available, it has been challenging to get his music out there. While I have published scholarly editions of his overtures, the publication of seven of his partsongs, a genre in which MacCunn excelled, will bring his music to a wider broader range of musicians and to new audiences.

Our first collection is Four Songs of Love and Longing for women’s chorus and piano. These are extremely lovely, reflective works whose lyricism shines. They also happen to be the last partsongs MacCunn wrote, and as Oates claims…

… are his most sophisticated efforts in the genre reflecting contemporary musical trends and showing what he could do when unfettered by patriotism.

Four Songs of Love and Longing contains the following movements (each one is also available separately in our catalog):

I. Whither? (PDF score sample)

II. On a Faded Violet (PDF score sample)

III. O my love, leave me not! (PDF score sample)

IV. Night (PDF score sample)

*All recordings by Queens College Vocal Ensemble, conducted by James John. They are from the 2008 CD: Selected Partsongs of Hamish MacCunn (1868-1916).

Jennifer Oates has an article titled “The Choral Music of Hamish MacCunn (1868-1916)” in the current edition of the American Choral Review, 55/1 (Winter-Spring 2013). Please check it out!

Randi Grundahl Rexroth: My True Love Hath My Heart

Publisher | a cappella,choral music,composers,famous poets,love,men's,secular,women's | Thursday, June 4th, 2009

randi-rexroth
When YRM’s submission review committee first looked at Randi Grundahl Rexroth‘s My True Love Hath My Heart… we knew we had to publish it! The piece is a lovely and playful madrigal (a cappella) with a charming text written by Sir Philip Sydney, one of the Elizabethan Age’s most prominent figures.

What makes the way that Rexroth adapted the text particularly special is its ability to accommodate a variety of gender references. My True Love Hath My Heart is composed for either women’s or men’s chorus (download the first three pages of each score as a PDF by clicking on the links), with each voicing able to use either “his” or “her” pronouns. This flexibility allows a chorus to express themselves precisely as they’d like!

Randi shares the following story about the inspiration for the piece:

“I needed to give my boyfriend a Christmas gift, but I was not able to buy him much. After speaking with my mother, who is a composer herself, she sent me the Philip Sydney text. She had tried to set herself, but had come up short. I remember her saying “I wanted to compose a contemporary madrigal, but I just couldn’t hear it”. As soon as I received the words I heard this piece.

I wrote the song as a solo and recorded it as my gift. A month later, I arranged the piece to be an SSAA arrangement that would be used in our wedding. The choir that sang My True Love Hath My Heart was made up of students from the schools where we teach and was touted as a highlight of the ceremony.”

Randi Grundahl Rexroth’s My True Love Hath My Heart:

Jerry Ulrich: New YRM Composer

Publisher | choral music,composers,famous poets,golden years,love,memories,mixed,women's | Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Jerry Ulrich photo
For our first post of 2008, we’d like to welcome Jerry Ulrich to our roster of incredible choral composers!

Jerry is an ASCAP award-winning arranger/composer, originally from Illinois. He’s currently Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he directs two mixed choirs and the all-male Georgia Tech Glee Club. His numerous compositions and arrangements in the catalogs of several publishers in the US and abroad have sold over 80,000 copies. His music has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, throughout New York City and on national radio and television, as well as throughout Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Yelton Rhodes is pleased to offer three of Jerry’s choral compositions: I Know a Garden (text by Robert William Service), Music, when Soft Voices die (text by Percy Bysshe Shelley) and When You Are Old and Gray (text by William Butler Yeats). All three pieces are deeply romantic, with a twinge of melancholy. Ulrich’s choral writing is robust and colorful, featuring elegant melodic exchange between the parts, and a lush tonal harmonic language. His music has a very madrigal-esque quality.

The composer himself offers the following insights to his compositions (click on the titles to download and view partial score PDFs):

I Know a Garden (SATB and piano)

Robert William Service was born on January 16, 1874 to a Scottish bank clerk and the daughter of an English factory owner. At the age of 15 he followed his father into the banking business, but in 1896 he immigrated to Canada. He spent several years in the Yukon, and the austere landscape is infused into many of his poems. During his life, he traveled extensively in North America and Europe and died in 1958. This setting was composed in October 2002 for the Southeast Alaska Music Festival Honors Chorus.

Music, when Soft Voices die (SSAA and violoncello)

[This] is a setting of the familiar Percy Bysshe Shelley poem. Its somewhat haunting and incomplete melodic character is intended to reflect the melancholy nature of the text. It was composed in April 2004, and is dedicated to the composer’s Hofstra University Music Department colleagues with appreciation.

When You Are Old And Gray (SAB and piano)

[This] is a setting of a pensive poem written from the perspective of an older person reflecting on a missed opportunity for love at an earlier age. The Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature. Yeats’ years of unrequited love to Maud Gonne (including four unsuccessful marriage proposals) is reflected in the poem. The composition is dedicated to the composer’s mother and in honor of his father, who were married for 57 years.

Powered by WordPress | Theme by Roy Tanck