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Items by James Johnson

Results: 130
Title Author Date
Announcement: KUBLA KHAN by Samuel Taylor Coleridge SATB 6:40
This famous poem is among the most exotic in all of English literature. Coleridge (1772-1834) became addicted to opium, and the fantastic visions he experienced are depicted in Kubla Khan. I have tried to reflect these many moods in their abrupt changes and clashing emotions. Animato, difficul...
Comment: Re: Randall Thompson non-Frostiana?
Mr. Spencer, Certainly I am the grouch in this discussion, because I do not find Thompson's Frostiana worth a second glance, nor, I must confess, most any of his music. Some years ago I began to rewrite Frostiana with the intent of making the vocal lines more genuinely reflective of the phrases of...
Announcement: THE PRAYER OF SAINT FRANCIS, SATB a cappella, 2:50
This famous poem has been set to music many times. It first appeared in a French pubication, La Clochette, in 1912, and was probably written by Fr. Esther Bouquerel. In the United States it first appeared in English in a Quaker publication in 1927.  SATB a cappella, moderately easy, 2:50.   A...
Announcement: THE HAUNTED PALACE (1845) by Edgar Allan Poe, SATB a cappella, 6:10
This poem is typical of Poe's many fantastic writings full of horror and evil. Its six stanzas tell the story of a richly appointed castle presided over by a benign king and sited in a utopian valley, which is invaded and doomed by evil spirits. SATB a cappella, 6:10, moderately difficult.   A...
Comment: Re: Texts to inaugurate a new auditorium
Excellent! Like every word that Joseph Addison ever put to page.
Comment: Re: Two Debussy "Yver" questions
Your second image is from the original Durand edition, 1908-1910. I have copies of all three songs, and my choral groups performed from them some years ago. (A very respectable recording has survived from a concert in Cambridge MA in 1979). I'm sure the D# is correct.
Comment: Re: Best Music Notation software for SATB that's not over the top?
i have used Sibelius for over 13 years. It's simply the best. But they sold themseves to profiteers and no longer provide online advice. BUT you can find almost anything you need by Googling for Sibelius users' free support - help comes in from all over the place. I bought a Mac G4 Powerbook, 17"...
Comment: Re: The Silver Swan - Orlando Gibbons
You might have a discussion about Giibbons' moment in English history, his contemporaries the Metaphysical poets, his contemporary composers, the overall cultural richness of the Elizabethan period, etc., not forgetting to point out that many historians of Western music consider him among the han...
Comment: Re: Beautiful but simple Renaissance Piece
I recently transcribed into modern notation a beautiful short (1:10) piece by Thomas Campion 1567-1620:  Author of Light (text and music). It's available without cost by email: PDF of score plus mp3 of Sibelius audio. Although dated in the early 17th C., this piece would not have been considered...
Announcement: Author of Light (c.1613) SATB, poem and music by Thomas Campion
From Thomas Campion's (1567-1620) Two Bookes of Ayres, I have simply written this lovely brief piece (1:10) into familiar modern notation, including keyboard part for rehearsal. Though intended for solo voices, the piece works wonderfully for a full chorus, and is not especially difficult. I'm ...
Announcement: "When I behold the heav'ns as in their prime" (1650) SATB 4:25
This poem appears in a collection titled Contemplations (1650) by Anne Bradstreet c.1612-1672, who sailed from England to Massachusetts with John Winthrop's  fleet in 1630. Following the catastrophe at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown CT on December 14, 2012, I searched for an appropriate ...
Comment: Re: Question about a boys/men's anthem for church
There are plenty of simpler anthems that these resources could work on and combine successfully just before performance.  Choose mostly homophonic textures. Farrant - "Lord, for Thy tender mercies' sake" comes to mind immediately.   But my bigger suggestion is the learning method: use Sibelius...
Comment: Re: A Cappella SSA Rep Suggestions for freshmen/sophomore girls
Hello, May I suggest my setting of Norma Farber's whimsical poem, "How they brought the good news by sea," SA divisi, about 2:00. First sung by the Radcliffe Choral Society under Beverly Taylor in 1983, then put of one of their CDs; then sung dozens of times by the girls choirs of my important Dan...
Announcement: "In Flanders Fields" SATB, 2:30
A simple setting of Lt. John McRea's famous poem, SATB in C, 2:30, with keyboard part provided for rehearsal.    All my works are written in Sibelius, so fully professional scores are available in PDF or hard copy. Inquire for more information, and please have a look at the list of works on m...
Comment: Re: German cantata, motet, or major work - need suggestion
Have a look at the Historia der Geburt Jesu Christi by Heinrich Schütz - SATB (not very difficult), soloists and a few strings and winds (which can be reduced to keyboard without much loss of effect). Long in the public domain of course - I have the Barenreiter edition # 1709, from l975. Gorgeous...
Comment: Re: Men's Chorus Repertoire
Mr. Parsley: See the many useful replies to my own Forum inquiry for male chorus repertoire a week or so ago. James Johnson
Comment: Re: MUSIC FOR MALE CHOIRS
Mr. Boyd, Thanks very much for the lead. However, the selected window will not open on your site (I get error 404). WOULD like to see this. James Johnson
Forum message: MUSIC FOR MALE CHOIRS
I'll appreciate any suggestions, anthologies etc., for concert repertoire (all levels of difficulty) for male choirs, TTB, TTBB, or five part. Some sacred welcome, but mostly want secular repertoire from all periods. Have already found available scores by the Comedian Harmonists. (A great movie ab...
Comment: Re: Unaccompanied music for inauguration or academic subject
In 2012 I composed an SATB a cappella (5:00 - moderately difficult) setting of Stephen Spender's poem "I think continually on those who were truly great," with the written permission of the Estate of Stephen Spender in England. The style is basically traditional - harmonic and melodic. The work ha...
Comment: Re: What, if anything, can be programmed with "Carmina Burana"
Stravinsky, indeed, had an unwholesome flirtation with facism. In a 1930 letter he wrote: "I don't believe that anyone venerates Mussolini more than I do."  At this time Mussolini had significantly improved the condition of the Italian economy. As has been famously noted: the trains ran on time. ...
Comment: Re: What, if anything, can be programmed with "Carmina Burana"
Thanks to Jerome Hoberman for recalling the history of this work, which, after first being condemned by the Nazis, soon became a pillar of their cultural propaganda (who care what it means if the masses like it ?!?!).  Rather than ask what might accompany it on a concert program, why not simply de...
Comment: Re: Chocolate
Good Morning, I have in progress an amusing "pop" song titled "Hey, Chocoholic" which could easily be arranged in a choral version. It's nearly finished, come to think of it. Let me know if this floats your boat.   And please have a look at my choral works on my ChoralNet page.   Regards, James...
Comment: Re: Your favorite funny/amusing choral pieces for HS and adult voices?
Good Morning,  I have composed a setting of The Walrus and the Carpenter, the darkly humorous poem which appears in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass.  It's a long poem so it's a rather extended piece, about 13:00 SATB and piano, a kind of cantata in one movement. It's only of medium dif...
Comment: Re: Sacred Harp Repertoire
Many of the original publications are still available in reprints, such as "ORIGINAL SACRED HARP' (Denison Revision) 1971 Edition (the one I own), Published by Sacred Harp Publishing Company, Inc. Cullman, Alabama.  This edition is perfectly legible to modern singers. If you want to rewrite the m...
Announcement: "I think continually of those who were truly great" SATB 5:05
This is perhaps the greatest poem by Stephen Spender (1909-1995). Permission to use  the text was kindly granted by the Estate of Stephen Spender. The music is challenging, but firmly tonal and hardly intimidating to any auditioned and well rehearsed chorus. All my works are written in Sibelius,...
Announcement: The Chambered Nautilus (1858) SSAATTBB 7:45
Here is an eight part setting, challenging but hardly insurmountable, of the famously magnificent poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894). This is not the first setting, and the final stanza,  beginning "Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul," has also been set separately. All my works a...
Comment: Re: CJ Replay: Stravinsky's Choral Style
Recently I acquired a Sony album containing 22 (!) CDs, including just about all of Stravinsky's compositions,  many of them conducted by the composer himself, and the rest by his close associates over the years. This album is the ultimate testament to Stravinsky's place among the greatest mu...
Comment: Re: New Music for TTBB
I have three male choir pieces, all of them rather distinctive.   1) "Because I liked you better," TTBB a cappella, 3:00, a setting of A. E. Housman's late biographical poem, sung twice in 2012 by the men of the Loud and Proud Chorus (G&L) of Edinburgh directed ...
Comment: Re: Looking for SATB. SSA. or TTBB German choral literature by current composers
Look into Enjott Schneider's works, those published by Schott, and also many unpubllshed works. He has written profusely, from film music to organ symphonies. Very interesting music. You could probably contact him directly if you researched him thoroughly enough.   James Johnson on Choral...
Comment: Re: Major works for Community Chorus
Fauré Requiem for starters.  
Comment: Re: Secular work for high school that is still spiritual
Hello Ms. Moore,   Several of my SATB works should fit your needs, none of them yet performed:   Trees (3:11) a setting of Joyce Kilmer's famous poem; To a Waterfowl (4:30) to W. C. Bryant's poem (once described by Richard Wilbur as "America's first perfect poem"); The Death of Lincoln ...
Comment: Re: Searching for new unpublished Christmas music
Mr. Sandvik,   I have composed an SATB setting of Richard Wilbur's famous poem A Christmas Hymn, about 3:30, not too difficult. The author is a personal friend and I obtained his permission directly.  (Also a setting of his recent Psalm, SATB about 2:30, medium difficulty ("Give thanks f...
Comment: Re: Barber's "God's Grandeur" - typos?
Is this a setting of the poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins? Thanks, James Johnson
Announcement: Ozymandias, poem by Shelley, for six part male chorus a cappella, 7:00
To my knowledge this is the first musical setting of Shelley's famous poem,  Ozymandias.    All my works are written into Sibelius, so professionally published scores are available.   Please have a look at my other choral works on my ChoralNet page, and also view my broader musical...
Comment: Re: Designing a Concert Program
Browse the early American songbooks, several still in print, such as The Sacred Harp.  "Wondrous Love" an obvious choice.   Referring to your program title, you will want some secular works too, unlimited choices available.   James Johnson   www.jamesjohnsonmusic.net
Comment: Re: Seeking New Music Piece, American Composer w/ small ensemble
You might be interested in my recent setting of Whitman's "I Hear America Singing,"  SATB plus organ or piano; clarinet; and cello or bassoon. The clarinet part is very prominent and rather jaunty, with extended interludes between the choral sections.  The opening and closing lines of the poem...
Comment: Re: Have you performed Noye's Fludde?
We presented five performances of Noye's Fludde at First Church in Cambridge UCC in November 1974 over two weekends, to rave reviews in three major Boston area papers.  All in the cast were children or young people except Noye (Jack Langstaff) and Mrs. Noye (Susan Mansur). Jack Langstaff and ...
Comment: Re: Christmas Cantata for small choir with string quartet/quintet
Ooooops!  The Schütz work is scored for SSATB, maybe too many vocal parts for you.  Or maybe you can hustle up a few more singers for this remarkable piece. JJ
Comment: Re: Christmas Cantata for small choir with string quartet/quintet
I have made my own editions of both the Gibbons works mentioned above and will gladly share them. These are written into Sibelius, solve numerous voice leading problems in the instrumental parts, and are much easier to read than the present published editions.  During my years at First Church...
Comment: Re: Christmas Cantata for small choir with string quartet/quintet
Among the best ever composed is the Historia der Geburt Jesu Christi by Schütz, available in modern editions (Barenreiter's by my side here). The work is extended in length, but requires only string quintet and a few winds, SATB and soloists. It is somewhat challenging, but can be well prepared ...
Comment: Re: CHARPENTIER TE DEUM H146
If you, or someone else, will write the entire piece into Sibelius in its original key, it is then possible to transpose it up or down, or wherever, almost instantly. Make each movement a separate file.    By the way, my transcription for organ of the Prelude to a Te Deum (presumably from ...
Comment: Re: Easter Brass & Organ
Don't overlook the many Renaissance works for double choir, SATB & SATB, sometimes five parts, G. Gabrieli, Gallus, Schütz, and others. Many of them transcribe nicely for organ as one choir, and brass as the other.     www.jamesjohnsonmusic.net
Comment: Re: SSA/ TTB Repertoire
You could have a look at my two-minute crowd-pleaser "How they brought the good news by sea," a setting of Norma Farber's (1909-1984)  humorous poem describing how the ocean-bound creatures managed to crane their necks, etc, and peer from the shore towards Bethlemen to witness the Nativity. ...
Comment: Re: Americans can't sing because . . .
A fundamental reason here in the USA, and one much to be lamented, is the pervasive coarseness of pop culture, which poisons  young people, especially males, with the notion that singing well is sissy-business. In European and Scandinavian cultures this is far less the situation. One has but ...
Announcement: First performance of "Because I Liked You Better," by James Johnson
In their May 12 concert, the men of Loud and Proud, the gay and lesbian chorus of Edinburgh directed by Karen Dietz,  offered the first performance of James Johnson's setting of this late autobiographical poem of A. E. Housman, TTBB - 3:00. The piece will be repeated in their concert for the...
Comment: Re: Looking for a Round
No help here, but it you locate it please forward, as the text begins very interestingly. Thanks, James Johnson
Comment: Re: Need Repertoire Suggestions for HS Chamber Choir
Let me suggest my setting of Joyce Kilmer's Trees, SATB (3:15), not at all difficult and yet to be performed. I can send you a PDF of the Sibelius score.  The author's courageous life and early death on the battlefields of France in WW I is a lesson to be remembered.    Have a look at o...
Comment: Re: Seeking concert choral pieces that tell a story, SATB, TTBB and/or SA
I have several pieces that are narrative:   "How they brought the good news by sea," SA divisi (2:00) on a poem of Norma Farber (1909-1984) tells how the creatures of the sea, unable to travel over dry land, were nevertheless able to get news of the nativity and spread it throughout all the...
Comment: Re: Death and Mortality
In the "Original Sacred Harp," Denison Revision, 1971 edition, on page 181 is a text ascribed to Issac Watts (somewhat derived from part of Psalm 90): "Death like an overflowing stream, Sweeps us away, our life's a dream ......." containing four verses.   The tune is titled Exit.  In one or an...
Comment: Re: humorous choral music
Mr. Vick, you might take a look at my epic cantata in one movement, "The Walrus and the Carpenter," SATB & piano, 13:00, being a setting of the  ironically amusing poem from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass. To my knowledge it is the first musical setting of the poem. Humorous inde...