It is always interesting to see what new compositions will be released each year. In our eagerness to see the new releases, it can often easy to forget the old stand-bys. This is the fifth and final installment in a series of columns highlighting standard repertoire for the choral classroom. In this issue, I discuss some compositions written in the twentieth century. As always, space restricts me from publishing a complete list, but the works mentioned will hopefully serve as an introduction for the new teacher and reminder to the veteran. For purposes of this column, original voicings are featured; however, many titles are now available in alternate scorings. Several titles (marked with an asterisk) were reviewed for previous columns, but I have written new reviews for this issue. It has been my pleasure to revisit these scores for this series of columns; I hope you have found some value in this series as well.
– Drew Collins, forum editor
FOR ANY SIZE GROUP
Whenever possible, I try to highlight pieces that will work equally well regardless of ensemble size. After all, a piece taught to your full choir may also be performed by an octet for contest, or can augment a program for your Chamber Singers. Whether you have an ensemble numbering 8 or 80, you may find listed here a piece that could serve several purposes.
The Blue Bird* (Charles V. Stanford)
This is a favorite of high school and collegiate mixed choirs, madrigal groups, chamber singers, and is also a common choice for small group contest. The top treble part is often sung by a soprano soloist, but could also be sung by the section or a small group. If you opt to feature a soloist, it can be quite effective to either separate the singer from the choir (off stage, behind the risers, behind the audience, etc.) or bury the singer within the choir to mute the sound, giving it a “hazy” quality. This is a perfect choice for a spring concert. The score is available for free download from CPDL, but published editions are also available from Collegium (ed. John Rutter) and E. C. Schirmer.
Dieu! Qu’il la fait bon regarder! (Claude Debussy)
Even though the cycle from which this work comes was first published in the twentieth century, I hesitated to include it in this column since this movement was actually written in 1898. But its style and compositional devices suggest that it fits the twentieth century best. Of the three Trois Chansons de Charles d Orl