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Good to hear from you again Mark.
If you haven't already done so, check out Martin's Der Cornet. His masterpiece, for my money, a brilliant marriage of text (Rilke, always a sure bet) and music. I have the Orfeo version sung by Lipovsek but I believe there are other good performances around.
Rach is one of my guilty pleasures. I love just about everything he wrote. Shoot! Choral music that's not churchy ................... why didn't I think of The Bells?! Only problem is I think it's still waiting for a recorded performance that does it justice.
Mark, I'm so glad you enjoyed the Rachmaninov Vespers - I was at that Proms performance too, and have a recording of the evening which I can't access at the moment. It's a wonderful piece. I also recall a performance in St Paul's a few years ago by a visiting Russian choir which was possibly the most ethereal sound I've ever heard human voices make. Russian Orthodox music is such a rich, sensuous sound world. If you've not already tried it, have a listen to Tchaikovsky's Liturgy of St John Christostom, another real gem and not something that immediately springs to mind when Tchaikovsky is mentioned, of course.
I will add my recommendation to others regarding the Martin Double Mass and 'Der Cornet', which cannot possibly go wrong with words by Rilke. But my favourite Martin composition for chorus is 'Le Vin Herbe' - a setting of the story of Tristan & Isolde. I only know it through a recording but it is a special work.
There is a lot of secular choral music out there. Sibelius wrote some wonderful stuff for chorus - the setting of Finlandia is one of the most stirring things I know. There is a wild version by Lief Segerstam (a fusing of the orchestral tone poem and chorus) as part of his set of Sibelius Symphonies that I have a huge soft spot for. The tradition for choral music runs very deep in Scandinavia and the Baltic States - worth dipping into.
I guess it helps to know what you are really searching for, as you have mentioned Oratorios, Requiems & Masses and other choral works. I would always recommend Mozart's 'Great Mass' in C minor, K427. It may be unfinished but the work stands on its own as and contains some beguiling vocal music.
A few other works I would mention that are worth investigating:
Schoenberg - Gurrelieder (if you know your Mahler this will fall easy on the ears)
Pergolesi - Stabat Mater (wonderfully pure setting)
Finzi - Dies Natalis
Martinu - Field Mass (a simple work, but a beautiful setting)
Nono - Das atmende Klarstein (for choir, bass flute and electronics). This is one of my favourite late night listening pieces - if you are not allergic to contemporary music.
Stravinsky - Oedipus Rex & Les Noces. Not sure this counts as 'choral' but Oedipus Rex is a work of great power and drama.
Tallis - Spem in Alium.
I hope you find something amongst all our suggestions that captures your interest.
I'm a bit fuzzy on how we're defining chorale. I'm taking this in a fairly broad sense as constituting any large scale, non-dramatic work that involves, well, singing. So I'll exclude purely solo works and opera. I will also try not to mention anything that has been referred to already.
Some good suggestions here. I do like Rachmaninov's opera The miserly knight, it's a bit boysie and a bit stroppy, so I might give the Bells a try. Unless it has bells in it, they can be a bit startling, I try and avoid bells, I can feel one of my heads coming on just thinking about them.
As for Mozart's mass I notice there is a recording with Juliane Banse and the divine Daina Damrau. Is it any good, it seems to suggest that it is a new version.
Go after Fricsay on DG first (The Originals): superb reading and a reference for years. You'll buy other recordings afterwards.....
Yes it was a very inspiring concert that - just found the date et al..2008 Estonian Phil Chamber Choir/Paul Hillier.
Sometimes, to use your phrase, 'Mission Control' comes down with me to the Proms and sometimes not. On this occasion she listened on the radio while I was there and also found it very moving. In fact, she also raved about a televised prom performance of 'The Bells' a few years ago which I missed.
Thanks for the tip on the Tchaikowsky - I'll order that one!
PS Naupilus - yes I think I need to explore some secular choral as well, as most of what I listen to is sacred! I'll take some suggestions from this list.
Fraz Jo - disapntd. Bn ringin this grl al week. No ansr...looks lke she changed her mnd. O well...Ldwg...
Top list, naupilus. I'd add my vote in particular to Mozart's C minor Mass, Les Noces and the Martinu Field Mass. I couldn't get into the last until I heard Belohlavek's version, which is far better performance and recording than the Supraphon Mackerras. Gilgamesh is another great Martinu choral work.
I only have the Mackerras recoring of the Field Mass, which has served me well until now. You may have persuaded me to look for a copy of Belohlavek. I have Gilgamesh but have not listened to it enough to really have a view worth sharing.
I am kicking myself now for not adding Schumann's Das Paradies und die Peri. It seems to be played more and more these days and maybe it will slowly gain a stronger foothold in the concert hall.
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