A Few Recommendations
by J. Michele Edwards
Music Director, Calliope Women's Chorus
professor emerita, Macalester College

prepared for: American Choral Directors Association
National Convention, Chicago, February 25, 1999

Alter, Martha. Two Plato Settings (1942). Galaxy Music GM1427-11, 1943. SSAA (but often only 2- or 3-pt), fl, pn. 5:15; text: English translation that seems dated; 2 mov'ts; harmony influenced by Impressionism (whole tone, extended triads); easy-medium

Armer, Elinor. Anithaca, the Island of the Daughters of Penelope (1990). J. B. Elkus & Son. Girls' chorus. 14:00; no. 2 in Uses of Music in Uttermost Parts, a series of 8 independent collaborative works with author Ursula K. Le Guin; effective; challenging; CD = Koch 3-7331-2

Bauer, Marion. Fair Daffodils (1914). Orig. pub. Arthur P. Schmidt, 1914. Women's chorus, kbd. Text: Robert Herrick; among her most important choral works; this is in the public domain so could be legally copied

Beach, Amy. The Chambered Nautilus, op. 66 (1907). Hildegard Publishing #09435. SSAA, sa, pn (orig. pn [here with org ad lib.] or orch of str, ww, hns, pn). Text: Oliver Wendell Holmes; edition by Adrienne Fried Block whose notes call this Beach's most successful work for women's chorus; orch materials available from New England Conservatory

Beach, Amy. The Sea-Fairies, op. 59 (1904). Recital Publications (reprint ed.), no. 344 (orig. pub. A.P. Schmidt, 1904). SSAA, ssa, pn or orch. Text: Alfred Lord Tennyson; dedicated to the Thursday Morning Musical Club of Boston

Beach, Amy. Three Shakespeare Songs, op. 39/1-3. Treble Clef TC-104-106 (orig. pub. A.P. Schmidt, 1897). SSAA. 6:00; text: Shakespeare; 3 separate pieces; rich, Brahmsian harmonic vocabulary; avoids extreme ranges; medium difficulty

Boulanger, Lili. Les sirènes [The Sirens or Mermaids] (1911). Treble Clef TC- 115. SSA [as in orig], SSA/T semi-chorus, soprano, pn. 5:30; text: Charles Grandmougin in French; impressionistic setting with strong expressive potential; CD = Bayer BR 100 041 or Hyperion CDA66726

Caccini, Francesca. Aure volanti. Broude Bros., MW1. SSA, 3fl, continuo. 3:00; Italian & English text in ed.; from her 1625 opera, La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall' isola d'Alcina; madrigal style

Clarke, Rebecca. Ave Maria (1937). Oxford #94.415. SSA. 2:00; text: Roman Catholic liturgy in Latin; triadic harmonic with unexpected relationships; medium difficulty

Clarke, Rebecca. Chorus from Shelley's "Hellas" (1943). Oxford #95.424. SSSAA. 6:00; extended triadic harmony with chromaticism and enharmonic shifts; among her boldest compositions; range for A2 down to E & S1 to high Bb; wide dynamic range; largely homorhythmic; medium-difficult

Chin, Unsuk. Troerinnen. Boosey & Hawkes, rental. 3 female singers, women's chorus, large orch. 22:00; composer born in Korea in 1961 & currently living in Berlin; publisher describes her work as follows: "modern in language, but lyrical and non-doctrinaire in communicative power; acute ear for instrumentation, orchestral colour, and rhythmic imagery"

Daniels, Mabel. Dum Dianae vitrea [When Diana's Silver Light Rises], op. 38/2 (1942). Treble Clef TC-112 (orig. pub. J. Fischer, 1942). SSA. Text: from Carmina Burana, medieval Latin anthology; Latin & English text; opening with imitative counterpoint; medium difficulty

Diemer, Emma Lou. Two Madrigals (1974). Hinshaw, HMC115. Any 2-part chorus, pn. This composer has many published works for various levels of skill/experience; medium difficulty; <75123.1015@compuserve.com>

Dinescu, Violeta. Choreinlage. SSA, pn. ms at Archiv Frau und Musik, Kassel; from the operetta, Der 35. Mai; libretto: Florian Zwipf & Ulrike Wendt;

Dinescu, Violeta. Rondo. SA. 4:00; German text; ms from the composer;

Dryburgh, Margaret, arr. "Largo" from Dvorak's New World Symphony. SSAA. Created & performed by the arranger while in a prison camp in Sumatra during the early 1940s; ms at Stanford Library; an LP recording & video by survivors is called Song of Survival and includes performances by Peninsula Women's Chorus in Palo Alto, CA, under the direction of Patricia Hennings (Brighton Video, 250 W. 57th St., Suite 916, NY NY 10019); consult Hennings about this work (e.g., advice on the syllables used and on errata in the score) and about 15 other pieces she has edited from the original manuscripts of 30 pieces for vocal orchestra, phone: 415/327?3095; 2360 Emerson, Palo Alto, CA 94301; scores from BMG Music Publishing, 1 Music Circle N., Suite 380, Nashville, TN 37203, phone 615?780?5420, fax 615?780?5430

Ebel-Sabo, Victoria. Blustery Day (The Challenge). Boosey & Hawkes OCTB6856. Unison treble voices, pn. 2:00; text: composer; fun shifts between 6/8 and 3/4 as well as simultaneous use of the duple & triple subdivisions; progression of triads shows some pop influence; lighthearted and easy

Fine, Vivian. Paean (1969). Catamount Facsimile Edition (ms) [Shaftsbury, VT]. Narrator-Singer (baritone or tenor), women's chorus (some 2- & 3-pt. divisi), brass ensemble (6 tpt, 6 trb). 12:00; text: John Keats, some spoken in rhythm, chance chords, timbral effects, improvised segments; brass more difficult than chorus; could be effective with a variety of chorus types/levels; medium difficulty

Gardner, Kay. Song of the Dying Amazon (1997). Contact composer. Text: Shirley Tannenbaum; commissioned for & premiered by Central Pennsylvania Womyn's Chorus; described by their conductor (Susan Swope) as "simple, elegant, and beautiful, although it has some tricky leaps";

Gardner, Kay. When We Made the Music. Gnome Music [PO Box 33, Stonington, ME 04681]. SSAA, pn (or Eng hn & str qt; composer identifies as her most important choral work;

Gideon, Miriam. How Goodly Are Thy Tents (Ps. 84). Merrymount Music/Mercury Music (from Theodore Presser, but out of print) #MC162. SSA, 1 solo phrase each for S & A, pn or org. Modal & non-functional triadic harmony; medium difficulty

Gomez, Alice. Las Soldaderas. Southern Music (San Antonio TX), rental. Women's chorus, orch; her compositions draw on her Latina and Mexican Indian heritage

Hensel, Fanny Mendelssohn. Faust, Second Part of The Tragedy, First Act. ArtsVenture from Hildegard Publishing #09429a. Soprano, pn with treble soli & women's chorus. Text: Goethe (German with nonsinging English translation); medium-difficult

Larsen, Libby. Canticle of Mary. Oxford #94.610. SSA (rare divisi), small orchestra (fl, ob, cl, bn, hn, tpt, hp, strings) or piano duet. 9:00; text: Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) from Liturgical Psalter; instrumental lines include soloistic flourishes; prominent oboe; energetic, joyous setting of Mary's acclamation; written for & premiered by a college choir in 1994; medium difficulty;

Larsen, Libby. I Just Lightning. Oxford #95.418. SSAA (1 8-pt chord), perc (timp, tom toms, chimes, susp cym). 4:00; text: English translation and adaptation of a Mazatec Indian chant recited at a mushroom ceremony in Mexico that asks the Divine Spirit for healing and strength; wonderful woman-centered text; some close, dense harmonies; chimes aid singers' pitch; some short phrases repeated independently & ad lib; rhythmic interest; dramatic & powerful conclusion; written for & premiered by MUSE; medium difficulty

Larsen, Libby. Stepping Westward (1988). ECS Pub #4400. S(S)AA, oboe, marimba, handbells [works with 5 players]. 7:00; text: Denise Levertov; celebrates the resourcefulness & strength of women; very dramatic & effective setting of text and poetic ideas; 6 notes of solo; medium difficulty

Larsen, Libby. Today, This Spring. Oxford #95.417. SA (with cadential divisi), pn. 6:00; text: Janice Kimes, from sermon by Charles A. Wilson, & Emily Dickinson; 3 mov'ts celebrating the joyous spirit & courage of 2 women who died of breast cancer; premiered by a select children's chorus in 1995; independent piano that still supports the voices; cohesive musical ideas; medium difficulty

LeBaron, Anne. Story of My Angel (1993). Golden Croak Music. Soprano or mezzo (sung & spoken), SA (div), processed pn [digital signal processor & MIDI remote controller]. 7:30; text: Howard Finster; some gospel/jazz elements; difficult-medium; tape available from composer

Libana. A Circle Is Cast: Rounds, Chants and Songs for Celebration and Ritual. Libana, Inc. PO Box 530, Cambridge, MA, 02140; SRB-002. Cassette = SRC-002; CD = SPN-002; diverse sources; music marks seasonal changes & ritual gathering; 22 short items; can be sung/performed in various ways; feasible for church choir use;

Moore, Undine Smith. A Christmas Alleluia (Mary, What You Going to Name That Pretty Little Baby?) (1970). Treble Clef TC-139. SSAA/SSAA, 2 ssa trios (or small groups), unison Gregorian chant group (a few light voices), soprano. 2:00; African-American spiritual; 2 chorus frequently double or sing antiphonally; medium-easy

Munn, Zae. Come with Me. Jaymar Music #02.436. SA, maracas, pn. 4:45; text: Peg Carlson Lauber; commissioned for select children's choir; alternates normal & whiny voice; includes clapping and rhythm sticks plus stomping; medium-easy

Munn, Zae. Grandma's Alleluia (1989). earthsongs #ES-17. SSA. 10:00; text: Ann Kilkelly; fun, effective piece with some changing meter which fits text well; performance tape available from publisher

Munn, Zae. Memorial (1992). Arsis Press. SSA, sa or small group. 3:30; text: Ann Kilkelly; effective serious, non-religious text; performance tape available from publisher

Munn, Zae. The Muse, the Stove, and the Willow Plate (1988). earthsongs. SSA. 6:00; text: Ann Kilkelly; performance tape available from publisher; middle mov't available on tape or CD from The Muse, Cincinnati Women's Choir [PO Box 23292, Cincinnati, OH 45223]; changing & irregular meter but works well; effective mix of counterpoint & homophonic textures

Munn, Zae. Spirits Taking Flight (1994). ms from composer. SSA. 3:30; text: Ted Billy & Terese Johnson; performance tape available from composer

Musgrave, Thea. Black Tambourine (1985). Novello NOV 160257. SA(A), soprano, pn (incl. inside), percussion (originally for chorus members). 17:30; text: Hart Crane; written for amateur performers; mostly tonal & lyrical; much homophonic; medium-difficult

Reichardt, Louise. Sechs geistliche Lieder. Broude Bros., MW5, MW6, MW7, MW8, MW9, MW10 (orig. pub. Hamburg: Cranz, 1823). SSAA, piano. 1:45/2:20/1:45/2:25/2:00/2:50; German & English text; strophic but only verse 1 is underlaid; basically homophonic; performance as a complete set may be rather monochromatic; could easily be solo voices

Rubin, Anna. Hildegard's Prologue (1997). ms available from composer. SSSAAA. Text: Hildegard ("Ecce quadragisimo"), alternating Latin & English; performance tape available from composer; medium-difficult

Sandler, Felicia A. B. In the Valley of the Moon. ECS #5099. SSAA. 2:45; text: C.A. Codol; premiered at Western Division ACDA, 1991; largely homorhythmic; significant use of quartal harmony and fifths; medium difficulty; tape available from composer

Sandler, Felicia A. B. Sansa Kroma (1993). ECS #5097. SSA, percussion. Based on a West African playground song, including some call-response; lots of vitality; easy but also rewarding for more mature groups; also available for SAB; 1 of 3 African folksongs

Shatin, Judith. Beetles, Monsters and Roses (1993). Plymouth Music, HL-245 (The Wendigo) & others forthcoming. SSA (some divisi), tape accompaniment (computer processed acoustic sounds, available on cassette or DAT). 14:00; text: poems of Mary Ann Hoberman, Walter de la Mare, Gertrude Stein & Ogden Nash; 4 separately pub. & performable mov'ts: Clickbeetle, Someone, I am Rose, The Wendigo; composed for & premiered by San Francisco Girls Chorus in 1994, but also appropriate for adult voices; witty use of electronic sounds; lots of rhythmic animation & energy; chorus must coordinate with tape precisely, requiring a very steady tempo; medium-difficult;

Shatin, Judith. Nun, Gimel, Hei, Shin (Chanukah Round) (1995). Plymouth Music HL-259. 3-part treble voices, pn, optional improvising solo instrument(s). 2:00; text: composer & Michael Kubovy in Hebrew; title refers to the 4 Hebrew letters on the dreidl or 4-sided top used in Chanukah games; uses harmonic minor scale; short text with pronunciation guide in preface; easy written accompaniment, but opportunity for added improvisations; easy

Smyth, Ethel. Laggard Dawn (1911). Treble Clef TC-102. SSA. Text: composer & Cecily Hamilton; 1st of 3 Songs of Sunrise; suffrage song; strophic with 4 verses & coda; easy-medium

Smyth, Ethel. The March of the Women (1911). Various printings, incl. Treble Clef TC-101. Unison, pn; SSA, orch or pn. 3:30; text: Cecily Hamilton; dedicated to the Women's Social and Political Union; British suffragettes' battle hymn; 3rd of Songs of Sunrise; easy

Stephen, Naomi. Charge of the Stargoddess. Contact composer. SSA, harp, drums. Text: poem by Doreen Valiente;

Stephen, Naomi. Hodie (1990s). Treble Clef TC-127. SSSAA, 2 (soprano) soloists. 5:00; text: Hildegard von Bingen from her chant cycle Symphonia armonie celestium revelationum (Symphony of the Harmony of Celestial Revelations); combines medieval style and modern idiom; effective word painting in depiction of the (musical) battle between woman and the serpent--between good and evil; lively rhythmic conclusion; very low tessitura for A2 & high S1; medium-difficult;

Stephen, Naomi. Spring Song. Contact composer. SSA. Available on CD, A Choir of Angels, from 800?39?ANGEL;

Tann, Hilary. The Moor (1998). Oxford #96.316. Written for soprano and mezzo unaccompanied soloists, but publisher says it could be effectively performed by women's chorus. 5:30; text: English text from The Moor by R.S. Thomas plus Latin words from the Vulgate (Pss 103, 138 and 150) & Welsh words from the hymn "Rheidol" (music by Ieuan Gwyllt & text by Elfed); celebrates both beauty and bleakness of her homeland in Wales;

Telfer, Nancy. The Blue Eye of God. earthsongs. SSAA. 4:00; text: Barbara Powis; Canadian composer & poet; opening & closing include whispered effects; in central section melody in S1 (then A2, S2/A2) with other voices singing a repeating accompaniment; medium difficulty

Van de Vate, Nancy. Voices of Women (1972-79; orch. 1993). Vienna Masterworks [contact Clyde Smith ]. SSA, soprano, mezzo, chamber orch (pic, fl, cl, 2 perc, hp, cel, strings); orig. chamber ens of 7 with no strings. 20:00; text: James Joyce, 12th-c. Provençal, Walt Whitman, Charles Baudelaire; texts all in English; 5 mov'ts, 2nd & 4th for soloists; texts deal with women's lives; contemporary harmonic language ranges from slightly extended tonality to spoken text; CD = Vienna Modern Masters VMM 3022 [available from JEM Music Corp, phone: 212/684-6768, fax: 212/684-3391]; difficult-medium