Author Topic: What composers for non-operatic vocal music?  (Read 2642 times)

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Offline Rootbeer

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What composers for non-operatic vocal music?
« on: February 11, 2015, 03:20:19 PM »
I like listening to vocal music best and my favourite songs are Monteverdi's Beatus Vir; Bach's Wir Eilen, Wen dez Kreuzes bitterkeiten,  and other duets; some Vivaldi's arias like In furore iustissimae irae; Handel's messiah and italian duets; and a couple Benjamin Britten songs from his 'Serenade for tenor, horn, and strings'. I'm fairly new to classical music though and want to discover more composers. Can you suggest the best composers for vocal music. Also - 1) I'm not looking for arias with operatic voices. 2) I'm not looking for leider, or solo piano vocal music. 3) I prefer music that does not have contrary lyrics to the Christian faith.
Thanks for any suggestions.

Offline Dax

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Re: What composers for non-operatic vocal music?
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2015, 04:53:36 PM »
It's a leap into the 1920s, which may be outside your comfort zone, but Szymanowski's Stabat Mater may be worth a try. Choral as well as solo vocal.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: What composers for non-operatic vocal music?
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2015, 07:12:09 PM »
It's a leap into the 1920s, which may be outside your comfort zone, but Szymanowski's Stabat Mater may be worth a try. Choral as well as solo vocal.

Poulenc's Stabat Mater and Durufle's Requiem are highly recommendable as well. 8)
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Offline North Star

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Re: What composers for non-operatic vocal music?
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2015, 10:58:33 PM »
Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem
Rakhmaninov: All-night Vigil
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Offline Jo498

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Re: What composers for non-operatic vocal music?
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2015, 12:20:38 AM »
Of course there is a huge amount of Monteverdi, Bach, Händel, Vivaldi you didn't mention. You will probably like a lot of that. You could also try Schuetz, a protestant composer from 17th century Germany who is historically and stylistically somewhere in the middle of Monteverdi and Bach.
In the high/late baroque italian style of Vivaldi and Handel, try Alessandro Scarlatti, Agostino Steffani; maybe closer to Bach Jan Zelenka (his "Missa Votiva" is great).

Mozart: Requiem, Mass in c minor (and maybe some of the other masses, but they are all rather early works, the most famous one is the so-called "coronation mass")
Haydn: The two great oratorios (Creation and Seasons), the late masses (6 of them)
Beethoven: Missa solemnis, Mass in C major

For secular music, try a mixed recital of Schubert Lieder, then the cycles "Winterreise" and "Die schoene Muellerin". There are also a few masses by him (not really favorites of mine so far) and shorter choral pieces (among the greatest are "Gesang der Geister über den Wassern" and "Nachtgesang im Walde")

My favorite Schumann lieder cycle are the Eichendorff settings op.39, even more famous is "Dichterliebe" op.48 (and there are a lot more lieder by him). His choral music is lesser known and maybe an acquired taste.

Mendelssohn has some nice lieder, but is more famous for his two oratorios, Elijah/Elias and Paulus/St. Paul. In addition, there are a few dozen of motets, psalm settings and also some secular choral pieces.

Brahms' "German Requiem" has been mentioned; there are a few other works with choir and orchestra, especially recommendable "Naenie", "Alto Rhapsody", "Schicksalslied" (they are all secular). And again, a not always well known wealth of vocal music: many lieder, folksong setting, secular and sacred shorter choral pieces (mostly a cappella).

I just realized, you didn't want lieder with piano... tough luck, anyway, there is a lot of choral music by Schubert, Schumann, Brahms as well.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
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Offline jochanaan

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Re: What composers for non-operatic vocal music?
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2015, 09:14:40 AM »
Mendelssohn and Brahms each wrote a lot of very good choral music, not all of which gets heard regularly.  But one of my all-time favorite composers for choir is Anton Bruckner.  He's best known for his eleven symphonies (including #0 and #00 :) ), but his choral music is magnificent.  Possibly my favorite mass setting is Bruckner's Mass in E minor, a setting of great and timeless beauty.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: What composers for non-operatic vocal music?
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2015, 02:22:50 AM »
Try this one

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Re: What composers for non-operatic vocal music?
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2015, 02:10:56 PM »
I like listening to vocal music best and my favourite songs are Monteverdi's Beatus Vir; Bach's Wir Eilen, Wen dez Kreuzes bitterkeiten,  and other duets; some Vivaldi's arias like In furore iustissimae irae; Handel's messiah and italian duets; and a couple Benjamin Britten songs from his 'Serenade for tenor, horn, and strings'. I'm fairly new to classical music though and want to discover more composers. Can you suggest the best composers for vocal music. Also - 1) I'm not looking for arias with operatic voices. 2) I'm not looking for leider, or solo piano vocal music. 3) I prefer music that does not have contrary lyrics to the Christian faith.
Thanks for any suggestions.

Some of my favorites:
1. Faure's Requiem
2. Beethoven's Missa Solemnis
3. Ligeti's Requiem
4. Ockeghem's Missa Prolationum
5. Messiaen's Trois Petites Liturgies de la Presence Divine (Messiaen was a highly devout Catholic, and this is a great piece)
6. Haydn's The Seasons (though this borders on operatic, it is still worth checking out)
Beethoven's Op. 133 -- A fugue so bad that even Beethoven himself called it "Grosse".

Offline Jo498

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Re: What composers for non-operatic vocal music?
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2015, 02:15:07 PM »
Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline DaveF

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Re: What composers for non-operatic vocal music?
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2015, 02:47:02 PM »
Most of the music written before about 1650 was vocal, and probably most of that was sacred, so it's difficult to offer more than the briefest of guides.  Medieval music (c.1100 - 1450) can come as a bit of a shock to ears that are used to classical harmony, although you may love (as I do) the sheer alien-ness of it.  Composers to look out for include Léonin, Pérotin, Guillaume de Machaut (his Messe de Nostre Dame is often reckoned as one of the great all-time masterpieces), Dunstaple (or Dunstable) and Du Fay - these last two moving towards early Renaissance styles and so not sounding quite so weird to our ears.

Into the early Renaissance (c.1450-1550) and "must-hear" composers include Ockeghem, Josquin, Obrecht, Fayrfax, John Browne and, bordering on the high Renaissance, Cristóbal de Morales - a very interesting and underrated Spaniard who seems to have anticipated a lot of the techniques that would keep music going for the next hundred years.

High Renaissance masters (c.1550-1620) include Englishmen like Taverner, Tallis and Byrd (the greatest composer of all before Bach, in my humble opinion), Palestrina, Victoria and Lassus.

All of the above wrote mainly music for the Mass or daily Office, but by the time you get past 1550 composers start turning increasingly to secular song - either madrigals and part-songs, or lute-songs (solo songs with lute and bass accompaniment - I'm not sure if they are part of your listening project - John Dowland is your man, if they are).

Into the 17th century and the names perhaps become increasingly familiar - Monteverdi you already know, but other great composers of sacred music include Lully (French), Purcell (English) and Schütz who has already been mentioned.

Having written the above, I feel quite envious of you with all that music to discover.  Happy listening, and let us know how you get on.
"Just because I like something, it doesn't mean it's any good."

Offline Brewski

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Re: What composers for non-operatic vocal music?
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2015, 03:16:15 PM »
Mendelssohn and Brahms each wrote a lot of very good choral music, not all of which gets heard regularly.  But one of my all-time favorite composers for choir is Anton Bruckner.  He's best known for his eleven symphonies (including #0 and #00 :) ), but his choral music is magnificent.  Possibly my favorite mass setting is Bruckner's Mass in E minor, a setting of great and timeless beauty.

Lots of good suggestions already, and jochanaan's Bruckner suggestion is a good one. In addition to the Mass in E minor, I'd add Bruckner's Te Deum, and his motets (there are many). A quick check on Amazon shows lots of potentially good recordings, many of which I have not heard. I can give a "thumbs-up" to this one, with the Dresdner Kreuzchor and Martin Flamig.



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