Music for Men: Reviews of recently published music for male choruses

by Tom Berryman, Male Choirs Chair

Winter Morning—Stephen Paulus
Two voices, piano
Paulus Publications SP548
What a gift of magnificent choral music Stephen Paulus has left us! Even his most simple works offer high craft, well-chosen texts, and truly musical vocal lines for our singers to enjoy learning and performing. In Winter Morning, the two voice parts are independent though sometimes imitative, and may be performed by any combination of singers. The piano provides a third independent voice, sometimes commenting, sometimes imitating, and sometimes supporting. Be sure to have a look at Paulus’ other two-voice works as well as his more famous “The Road Home” (now set for TTBB) or “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day,” commissioned by the Harvard Glee Club and scored for TTBB.

That Which Remains—Andrea Ramsey
TTBB, a cappella
Boosey and Hawkes 48022956
Composer Andrea Ramsey has adapted her SATB original for the Turtle Creek Chorale, a men’s chorus in Dallas, Texas. The text for That Which Remains comes from Helen Keller’s The Open Door. The largely chordal textures shows off to full effect the rich sonority men’s choruses can produce. The work ends triumphantly: “life is stronger than death, and love can never lose its own.” You can watch and listen to the Turtle Creek Chorale perform That Which Remains on YouTube.

The Holy Ground—Mark Sirett
TTBB, a cappella
Boosey and Hawkes 48023063
Dedicated to Diane Loomer, the late conductor of Chor Leoni, The Holy Ground is a beautiful, thoughtful setting of a popular Irish pub song with Welsh origins. Sirett requires a mature male choral sound and includes a variety of textures: single unison line, hymn-style, counterpoint and solo with accompaniment.

The Dying Rebel—Mark Sirett
TTB, with piano
Boosey and Hawkes 48022533
The text of this piece recalls a rebel’s death in the 1916 Easter Rising. Sirett begins this sad tale with unison singing, moving on to two voice imitation, then three independent voices. The piano provides interesting, independent accompaniment. Some sections are sung a cappella.

Dear Old Ireland—Mark Sirett
TBB, with piano
Boosey and Hawkes 48022977
This is a Canadian lumberjack song arranged for the Cantabile Young Men’s Chorus. The writing is accessible, rhythmic and engaging. All the voices get to sing the lively jig tune, and everything builds to a big finish.

The Wild Rover—Mark Sirett
TBB, with piano
Boosey and Hawkes 48022979
Here’s a famous raucous stadium and pub song. Sirett begins a cappella, offers solo-like sections, adds enthusiastic piano writing and closes big. A great closer for the set of these four Sirett works.

I’m Gonna Sing ’Til the Spirit Moves in My Heart—arr. Moses Hogan/Peter Eklund
TTBB, a cappella
Hal Leonard 00121745

The Battle of Jericho—arr. Moses Hogan/Peter Eklund
TTBB, a cappella
Hal Leonard 00121747

My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord—arr. Moses Hogan/Peter Eklund
TTBB, a cappella
Hal Leonard 08753675

Ride on, King Jesus—arr. Moses Hogan/Peter Eklund
TTBB, a cappella
Hal Leonard 08753673

Abide With Me—arr. Moses Hogan/Peter Eklund
TTBB, a cappella
Hal Leonard 08753674
Peter Eklund, Choral Director at University of Nebraska, has very effectively adapted a set of Moses Hogan spirituals for men’s voices. These new arrangements are powerful, sonorous and appealing to sing and hear performed. They work best with mature voices.