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.

Bourland and Hall: The Parade

Publisher | choral music,composers,gay & lesbian,men's | Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

flashpoint_stonewall_carneg.jpg

Today is Gay Pride Day in West Hollywood. We haven’t gone in years, not that we aren’t proud, it’s just, well, we don’t go any more.

Last night before I heard the premiere of Paul Chihara’s terrific new choral work, MAGNIFICAT, I went to Basix, a mostly gay and lesbian restaurant by myself. I got to watch all of the out-of-towners come in in 2s and 3s and 4s. Two gorgeous thin career lesbians. Two elderly heavy and not particularly pretty dkyes. Two very homely men who [thank god] have found each other, and two pretty boys, maybe 19, who look alike and are all over each other. And over at that table is a man in his 70s looking queenly, and his much younger lover of 58 slowly down their bottle of chardonnay. They don’t smile. Walking by on Santa Monica Boulevard are lots more of all shapes and sizes, coming to WeHo for Gay Pride Day.

John Hall wrote the lyrics to this next song showing the difference between a viewpoint from an old queen and one from a young disinterested queer, both watching the parade go by. Rick Garretson and Santo Regni sing the older and younger gay men in this song. Little did any of us know that a few months later, I would enter into an intergenerational relationship myself. [Coming on 13 years now by the way…]

The Parade was written by John Hall and me and is from the electro-acoustic cantata, FLASHPOINT/STONEWALL (1994), for 4 synthesizers, bass (me), drums, soloists, and men’s chorus, a commission celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The consortium of commissioning choruses were the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, the Seattle Men’s Chorus, the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, and the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington D.C. Each of the choruses performed the work in their own cities. I went to all of them except Seattle as I had to be in Chicago that night for a premiere my LETTERS TO THE FUTURE.

The Parade

[audio:http://yrmusic.com/audio/bourland.roger/the.parade.mp3]

Notes by Roger Bourland

[Picture © James Patrick Kelly; RB at Carnegie Hall premiere of Flashpoint/Stonewall, June 1994.]

Reger/Moore: The Virgin’s Slumber Song

Publisher | choral music,christmas (sacred),men's,virgin mary | Monday, June 11th, 2007

Mary and Jesus

Amid the roses Mary sits and rocks her Jesus child,

While amid the tree tops sighs the breeze so warm and mild…

It almost seems standard to include a Christmas lullaby on most holiday concerts. And rather than turn to the typical tried and true repertoire, why not consider something different this year? Published originally as a vocal solo in 1912, Max Reger’s evocative lullaby The Virgin’s Slumber Song, Op. 76, No. 52, has been arranged for soprano or tenor solo, men’s chorus, harp and strings by Larry Moore. A piano-vocal score is also available. Choruses have the option of singing either the original German text by Martin Boelitz, or the English translation by Edward Teschemacher.

This song is a tender allegretto piece, full of the beautifully voiced harmonies for which Larry Moore is so well-known. He’s taken Reger’s wonderful solo lullaby and reinvented it in a masterful way!

Browse through the first six pages of the full score, and the piano-vocal score (as PDFs).

The Virgin’s Slumber Song (solo, men’s chorus, harp and strings)

[audio:http://yrmusic.com/audio/moore.larry/virgin.slumber.song.mp3]

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.

Diane Benjamin: Snow Might Fly

Publisher | choral music,composers,family,winter season,women's | Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

Snowflake

June through July seems to be the season when most choruses begin planning their winter/holiday concerts. So, to help acquaint you with what YRM offers for your concert programming needs, we’ll frequently be posting over the next couple of months about new pieces and catalog favorites that feature themes of winter time and of the holidays… Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Winter Solstice.

First up is a new piece by Diane Benjamin titled Snow Might Fly, composed for SAA, oboe and piano. This music is a joyous and exuberant setting of Becky Karush’s lyrics about a moment captured on a wintry day. Nostalgia, family, nature… a simpler life.

Snow Might Fly (view the first four pages of the score by clicking on the link)

[audio:http://yrmusic.com/audio/benjamin.diane/snow.might.fly.mp3]

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]

Rachmaninov/Milloy: Bogoroditse Devo

Publisher | choral music,men's,sacred | Monday, May 7th, 2007
rachmaninov3.jpg

Rachmaninov’s devastatingly beautiful VESPERS continues to be one of the most famous and popular early 20th century a cappella choral works. A difficult work to sing in toto, but one of the set, “Bogoroditse Devo” has been one of the ones most commonly sung alone. Now, Yelton Rhodes has a men’s setting by the brilliant composer/arranger Steve Milloy that will move your chorus and audience alike. You’ve got to have a bass that can sing a low D for the final chord.

Bogoroditse Devo (men’s chorus).  View the first two pages of the score by clicking on the link.

[audio:http://yrmusic.com/audio/milloy.steve/bogoroditse_devo.mp3]
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