David Frank Long: A New December

Publisher | choral music,composers,men's,mixed,winter season,winter solstice,women's | Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

for new december

Los Angeles is experiencing a heat-wave right now, and it seems odd to be writing a blog entry about a piece called A New December right before the Fourth of July! But seeing how the summer months are indeed the time when many choruses are planning ahead for their holiday concerts and making their programming decisions, it felt right to feature this particular work today.

With both original words and music by David Frank Long, this piece expresses many sentiments associated with the Winter Solstice. In particular, it addresses the subtle ironies of the season… that although it is a time when…

days are shorter now,

darker the sky,

colder blows the wind,

as nature sleeps all around us

… it’s the turning point of the year, marking a fresh start as the cycle of life begins again.

It also gives a nod to other holiday celebrations, noting that December is a time when people in general are celebrating light and beauty, providing a tie-in with both Christmas and Hanukkah festivities.

For it’s a new December!

And even though it’s winter,

There’s a brighter hope,

A deeper joy,

And a warmer love, love, love.

It almost seems like springtime!

The chorus sings in colorful, bold harmonies above a gentle, flowing piano accompaniment.

A New December is available for mixed chorus, women’s chorus and men’s chorus. Click on each voicing to view the first four pages of score as a PDF. The recording is of the voicing for TTB, featuring the Tenor & Bass sections of the West Coast Singers.
[audio:http://yrmusic.com/audio/long.david.f/a.new.december.mp3]

Thomas L. Read: New YRM Composer!

Publisher | choral music,composers,famous poets,men's,mixed | Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

T Read photo

Yelton Rhodes Music would like to officially welcome Thomas L. Read to our family of talented composers! Thomas, a violinist as well as a composer, is a Professor of Music at the University of Vermont. He has composed music for a variety of media and almost entirely on commission- music for small ensembles, full orchestra, solo voice, chorus and musical theater.

We’re delighted to publish three of Thomas’ choral works, all of which are a cappella. His music is strongly lyrical and expressive. The texts he selected to set musically are highly passionate writings by two American poets of the romantic period, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Herman Melville.

To learn more about Thomas L. Read, click here.

Changed (for TTB chorus), with words from H. W. Longfellow’s Birds of Passage

[audio:http://yrmusic.com/audio/read.thomas/YR4R11.changed.mp3]

View the first two pages of score as a PDF by clicking here.

_________________________

A Parable (for SATB chorus), with words from Herman Melville’s Misgivings

View the first 6 pages of score as a PDF by clicking here.

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Serenade (for TTB chorus), with words from H. W. Longfellow’s The Spanish Student

[audio:http://yrmusic.com/audio/read.thomas/YR4R13.serenade.mp3]

View the first 2 pages of score as a PDF by clicking here.

Bourland and MacDuff: Crocodile’s Christmas Ball

Publisher | animals,choral music,christmas (secular),composers,men's,mixed | Thursday, June 21st, 2007

Croc Xmas Ball

Looking for something FUN to include on your holiday program?

Crocodile’s Christmas Ball (from a larger 8 movement work titled Crocodile’s Christmas Ball and other odd tales) was originally composed for baritone solo, SATB chorus and wind ensemble. Understandably enough, not many choruses have easy access to a wind ensemble. So, composer Roger Bourland has created a piano-vocal score for this fabulously fun Christmas romp.

There’s a little bit of dark humour in the work (think Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas). Here’s an excerpt from William MacDuff‘s witty, tongue-in-cheek lyrics:

The moral is that when you
Attend a table d’hote,
Be sure to check the menu
Before you check your coat.

Beware of eager strangers
Too full of Christmas cheer,
For Christmas has its dangers
Like any time of year.

In Santa’s suit
A croc is cute
But he’s an ani-mall.
He’ll have your hide
Sautéed or fried

At the Crocodile’s Christmas Ball!

Click here to view the first 5 pages of score as a PDF.

There’s also a voicing available for men’s chorus.

Crocodile’s Christmas Ball (recording from the performance featuring baritone soloist, SATB chorus and wind ensemble)

[audio:http://yrmusic.com/audio/bourland.roger/crocodiles.xmas.ball.mp3]

Scott Henderson: Flame of Faith

Publisher | choral music,composers,hanukkah,men's,mixed | Thursday, June 14th, 2007

Hanukkah at home

How familiar are you with that one famous drop of oil that lasted eight days and nights?

As holiday concerts become increasingly “multi-traditional”, many audiences anticipate hearing a piece that celebrates the miracle of Hanukkah. Scott Henderson‘s original composition Flame of Faith (A Hanukkah Song), with lyrics by Linda Marcus, both inspires and informs regarding the observance of this Jewish holiday. Henderson has a knack for writing elegant and engaging melodies supported by colorful harmonic progressions, and this piece exemplifies his wonderful musicality and keen sensibility regarding the treatment of text.

Flame of Faith is available for both mixed chorus and men’s chorus. Click on the links to view the first 6 pages of each score.

John Shea: New YRM composer!

Publisher | choral music,composers,family,mixed,sacred,uu | Thursday, June 7th, 2007

John Shea

We’d like to officially welcome John Shea into the YRM “home” of composers!

John’s day job is as an associate professor of economics at the University of Maryland at College Park. He has a great passion for music as well, and has an active life as a composer and musician. He sings in his local UU choir and is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network. He has studied composition with Tom Benjamin, whom he considers a mentor in the world of choral music.

John writes appealing, tonal choral music featuring strong melodies and a variety of styles, including Latin jazz, gospel and pop. YRM is proud to publish two of John’s choral compositions:

A Mother’s Carol, for SATB chorus, bass (optional) and piano, is a jazz waltz setting of a text written by his wife, April Lee. The lyrics express a mother’s concerns and hopes for her newborn child. Click here to view the first six pages of the score.

When There is Light in the Soul, for solo voice, SATB chorus and piano, is a gospel-style waltz setting of a well-known Chinese proverb. Click here to view the first six pages of the score.

Randi Driscoll/Kevin Robison: what matters

Publisher | choral music,composers,gay & lesbian,men's,mixed,women's | Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

Matthew Shephard

It’s been nearly 9 years since the murder of Matthew Shepard in October of 1998, and his death still remains a significant reminder of the horrible outcome that hate, ignorance and fear can generate. Singer/songwriter Randi Driscoll composed what matters as a tribute to Matthew. It was featured in the NBC motion picture The Matthew Shepard Story.

She writes:

When I first heard the tragic story of Matthew Shepard’s death, I was saddened and outraged. I wanted to kick in my television set, scream and cry. Instead, I went to my piano to find solace in my music. What transpired was the song what matters. The song honors Matthew’s life, his family and the unconditional love they represent… I have spent years touring to promote the single and raise awareness by performing the song at clubs, benefit concerts, vigils and Pride Festivals. This work and this song are the most important things I have ever done in my life. I am continuously inspired by the angels around us that do so much to see that this type of hatred and ignorance is stopped.

Composer Kevin Robison was contacted by Driscoll to arrange the song for chorus and piano, and Yelton Rhodes Music is honored to publish these choral arrangements. Proceeds from the sale of this piece are donated to The Matthew Shephard Foundation to support their crucial work. what matters is available in three voicings: men’s chorus, mixed chorus and women’s chorus. Click on the links to view the first four pages as a PDF.

what matters (for men’s chorus)

[audio:http://yrmusic.com/audio/driscoll.randi/what.matters.ttbb.mp3]

Kenneth Fuchs: Immigrants Still

Publisher | choral music,composers,mixed,patriotic | Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Statue of Liberty

Richard Wilbur, a Poet Laureate of the United States, evokes an image of the Statue of Liberty at the beginning of his poem “Immigrants Still“. His words were set musically by Kenneth Fuchs in a work for SSAATB that was commissioned by the Oklahoma Choral Director’s Association. It’s a piece full of lush harmonies and interweaving, lyrical lines. There’s a slightly minimalist feel to some of the textures Fuch’s composed, allowing for subtle harmonic nuances to be beautifully expressed as only the human voice can do. The last lines of Wilbur’s poem states…

“We are immigrants still, who travel in time,
Bound where the thought of America beckons;
But we hold our course, and the wind is with us.”

You can browse through the first seven pages of the score here.

Immigrants Still

[audio:http://yrmusic.com/audio/fuchs.kenneth/ImmStill.mp3]

Georgeann Weaver: The Covenant

Publisher | choral music,composers,mixed,sacred,uu | Friday, May 25th, 2007

Georgeann Weaver
Georgeann Weaver took directly to heart the seven principles of the Unitarian Universalists when she composed “The Covenant.” This work for SATB and piano expresses the following sentiments which are applicable to many spiritual belief systems, not only to those of the UU:

• The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
• Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
• Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
• A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
• The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
• The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
• Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Peruse the first four pages of Georgeann Weaver’s “The Covenant.”

Brian Throckmorton: Star Spangled Banner

Publisher | children's,composers,men's,mixed,patriotic,secular,women's | Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

Fireworks

Does your chorus yawn when they sing about “the rockets’ red glare” and the “bombs bursting in air”? If so, then perhaps your ol’ stand-by arrangement of “The Star-Spangled Banner” just isn’t cutting it anymore. Might be time to update your library with Brian Throckmorton’s clever re-imagining of this patriotic song. It has very subtle “twists” that will put more fireworks into your performance and engage your audience’s ears!

Throckmorton’s “Star-Spangled Banner” is available for men’s, women’s/children’s and mixed choruses (all a cappella).  Click on previous links to view a PDF of the first two pages of each score.

Star-Spangled Banner (men’s)
[audio:http://yrmusic.com/audio/throckmorton.brian/YR1T12v1.mp3]

Star-Spangled Banner (children’s)
[audio:http://yrmusic.com/audio/throckmorton.brian/YR1T12v3.mp3]

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