While past columns have largely focused on tried-and-true selections, this is the second of five articles featuring releases from 2009 and 2010. Each column will highlight a variety of voicings and difficulties, but will have a unified theme. The last issue featured new releases for holiday concerts, while this one focuses on general concert works useful throughout the year. Drew Collins
Solfege Suites (Ken Berg) pub. Pavane
Ken Berg’s music is always fun to sing with appropriate ranges for young singers. His three “Solfege Suites” are perfect for augmenting sight-singing instruction in your choral classroom. The lyrics are entirely solfege syllables (moveable #149;do’). Each of the three suites features three selections; all nine are published separately. Suite #1 features Bolero, Galop and March; Suite #2 is comprised of a Mazurka, Chaconne, and a Gavotte; the most recent installment, Suite #3, was published this year and contains a Waltz, Tango and Boogie Woogie. Visit www.PavanePublishing.com for a free score sample and beginning-to-end recording of all nine octavos. Visit YouTube and search for “solfege suite” to view Dr. Berg leading the premiere performances of Suite #3, complete with solfege choreography (based largely on Curwen handsigns).
Night Winds (Laura Farnell) pub. BriLee
Laura Farnell knows how to write for the developing voice, and I always make sure to give her music a close look. Farnell is herself a music educator in the middle grades, and has “field tested” enough of her own music to know what students will enjoy, what will help them sound their best, and how to challenge them gently. The compositional style of this setting is at once accessible and fresh. There are many teaching tools in this piece, including line, vocal production around the break, diphthongs, and subtle tempo changes. However, the first teaching tool you will encounter is that the melody begins on #149;ti’ over a tonic chord. This voicing is two-part treble, which helps illustrate the text beautifully. Visit www.BriLeeMusic.com to view the entire score, hear a beginning-to-end recording, and download part-predominant MP3s.