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Nature: Women's life stages

Many thanks to all who responded to my request for a piece for our spring concert.

original posting:

> Colleagues,

> For the first half of our May concert, we are exploring the world
> of women. We are beginning with a plainsong Ave Maria, followed by
> David MacIntyre's Ave Maria, which he calls "a celebration of
> women." Then we will move through girlhood, love, marriage, and
> motherhood, ending with death and the death of love in "She's like
> the swallow." Now I'm stumped how to end the half on a more
> positive note, as "She's like the swallow" ends beautifully but
> quietly and sadly. Any suggestions?
-----

a piece of mine that you might like, God says yes to me- it is not a downer- actually very pro-women and upbeat and witty.

Let me know if this piece appeals to you and if so we can make arrangements for you to use it. I also have TONS of women's music on my website at www.paulcarey.net

I directed a pro women's ensemble in Chicago fro 5 years- that's why I have written (and will continue to write) so much for women's choirs. I love the genre.

Paul Carey
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How about Holst's Ave Maria? It's a stunner


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I have a work for SSAA Choir that was commissioned by SHE in NYC entitled Blossoms. The work is about life, hope and beginnings.
Amy Scurria
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Check out "Music in my mother's house" by J. David Moore

(jdavidmoore(a)comcast.net OR j.davidmoore(a)comcast.net). It' a beautiful piece about remembering the "music in my mother's house" after she died.

Additionally, you can do an up piece embracing all of "womanhood" after the themes themselves, finish. We commissioned Rosephanye Powell to write a fabulous gospel piece "Still I rise" and it's a great closer.

Both of these pieces are on our latest CD entitled "Still I Rise" available on our website: www.voxfeminala.org

Iris Levine
Artistic Director, Vox Femina Los Angeles
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This would be a striking ending, not what may be expected in terms of mood, but nevertheless, striking, as your final piece, the one about death.

MOCKING BIRD, THE: (SSAA voices and “selected voices” or violin) Richard Milburn, 1855, composed this piece, but most people believe it is a folksong. A country fiddler may be used instead of selected voices. “The Mocking Bird” has had many performances–including the OMEA state convention–and has been enjoyed by listeners all over America. The text is:

I am dreaming now of Hally, and the thought of her is one that never dies.
Listen to the mocking bird! Listen to the mocking bird!
Oh, the mocking bird is singing o'er her grave.
Listen to the mocking bird! Listen to the mocking bird!
He is singing where the weeping willows wave.

‘Twas in the mild September, when the mocking bird was singing o'er the lea.
Listen to the mocking bird! Listen to the mocking bird!
Oh, the mocking bird is singing o'er the lea.
Listen to the mocking bird! Listen to the mocking bird!
Oh, the mocking bird is singing just for me.

When the mocking bird is singing o'er her grave, she'll behave!

Vocal ranges are: Solo, D1-a2; Divided soprano 1, C#1­-F#2; Divided soprano 2, C#1-e2; Alto 1, a-d2; Alto 2, a–b1 (4:20) MEDIUM to DIFFICULT
Among my other pieces on http://mustec.bgsu.edu/~wallace , you should look at "Alexander's Lullaby" (motherhood) and "The Spinning Wheel" (love.)
Free CDs and hard copies are available upon request.
Wallace De Pue
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MARRIAGE: "Dance On My Heart" by Allan Koepke. GREAT text about how these different guys ask this girl to marry them - one is really strong, one is really rich, and one who will just love and care for the girl. She chooses him because he was the one to "dance on her heart." It's really a great tune published by Santa Barbara and they can give you a recording as well.

OLD AGE: DEFINITELY you have to look at "Fair Warning" by Shirley McCray. One of my top groups did it and it is rather challenging. It is hysterical and really fun. It is a very contemporary setting of the poem about how when I get old I'll wear purple with a red hat. You need a good accompanist because the piano part is very whimsical but challenging. I think you'll love it! Great tune!

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there is a wonderful, happy, peppy "Sisters" by Gwyneth Walker, which is the third movement of a work called "My Girls." I think it would be a neat ending after "She's like the swallow."
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Eleanor Daley wrote 3 lovely pieces on love with the theme "rose". They're published by Treble Clef, and the texts sound to me as if they'd fit with your themes.

Also, there's a GREAT piece by Elena Kats-Chernin called "Memorial Rag" --- she wrote it in memory of her mother, but it's not sad at all. Rather quirky and fun, in fact. I think it's boosey & Hawkes. It's scored for string quartet, but piano could do it.

And finally, Timothy Luby's "When I am Dead, My Dearest", also Treble Clef -- has a kind of eerie feel--- great poem by Christina Rosetti.

Also:
Yehezkial Braun 6 songs (hebrew)
Holst – Six Partsongs for female voices and strings
Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel 2 part songs- Winterseufzer, Abschied
Donald Patriquin Hajnal Csillag - Morning Song (Hungarian)
Veljo Tormis Lauliku lapsepoli – The Songster’s Childhood (Estonian)
Jeffrey Van – Echo (poetry by Christina Rossetti)
Timothy Luby - When I am Dead, My Dearest (Christina Rossetti)
------

I have a wonderful a cappella setting, SSAA (brief S2 solo at the end), of the story of Ruth and Naomi, titled "Where you go, I will Go". About 12 minutes, tonal modern, neo-romantic, very singable, fresh. Also a soft ending, but not sad, sweet and devoted.

You can find a sound clip from it on my website below, on the NY/LA page.

David Avshalomov
www.davshalomov.com

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1. "Hello, Girls" SSA by Lloyd Pfaustch. Also "
2. No, Di Voi Non Vo’ Fidarmi" 2-part Arr. B.R. Henson Greystone GRP-2000
3. Women on the Plains: Three Canadian Folk Songs arr. by Alice Parker, pub. Treble Cleff Music

Old Grandma
Away, Far Down the River
Punching the Dough

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"Go gentle babe" - might this be suitable?

Paul Ayres

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While still slower and perhaps more somber, Gustav Holst's "The Swallow Leaves Her Nest" (SSA)might be a companion piece.

The swallow leaves her nest,
The soul my weary breast,
But therefore let the rain on my grave fall pure,
For why complain,
Since both will come again
O'er the wave.
The wind, dead leaves and snow
Doth hurry to and fro and once again
shall break o'er the wave ...
(I'm doing this from memory)
then back to the A section ...

-----
Please take a few minutes and look at "Somewhere I Have Never Traveled" which was commissioned by the Association for Music in International Schools for their Women's Honor Choir performance in Berlin, Germany in March of 2005. It is a moving and uplifting piece by composer Alan Higbee. You can hear their performance, under the baton of Therees Hibbard, on the website www.composerhigbee.com Also on his website are snatches of a set of 3 songs for women's voices: "The Spider and the Fly", "The Silver Swan," and "The Camel's Lament."

Printed scores for all of these are available through Jameston Mill Press and perusal scores can be available upon request. (aj.higbee(a)sbcglobal.net)

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My Kore Chant might make an upbeat ending for your concert. It's a round/chant for Persephone celebrating her return from the underworld and to her mother Demeter.
Anna Dembska

----
Have you considered "My Girls" (a set of three pieces) by Gwyneth Walker? The final selection, "Sisters", is a terrific piece that would work well.

----

try 'Weep No More' by Childs.....Santa Barbara publishing. Beautiful piece.
Did I mention it was beautiful? IT IS!

--------

You might get some ideas from MUSE Cincinnati's Women's Choir Repertoire page

www.musechoir.org

------
I think I might have just the piece for you! If your group can handle the difficulty, this piece is simply stunning, and would make a GREAT closer. I have heard the San Francisco Girls Chorus perform it several times (it was commissioned by them), and it is my favorite piece that they do ... and one of my favorite pieces of all time!

It's called "The Womanly Song of God," written by Libby Larsen with text by Catherince de Vinck. (SSSSAAAA unaccompanied).

Here's the text:

I am the woman dancing the world alive:
Birds on my wrists
sun-feathers in my hair
I leap through hoops of atoms:
under my steps plants burst into bloom
birches tremble in silver.
Can you not see the roundness of me:
curves of the earth
Maternal arms of the sea
(encircling you wetly as you swim?)
I am the birthing woman
kneeling by the river
Heaving, pushing forth a sacred body
(not mud, not stone: flesh and blood.)

Round, round the wind
spinning itself wild
Drawing great circles of music
across the sky.
Round the gourd full of seeds
round the moon in its ripeness
Round the door through which I come
stooping into your house.
I am the God of a thousand names:
why cannot one of them be
Woman singing?

The publisher for "The Womanly Song of God" is the Oxford University Press.

---------

Check out "Music in my mother's house" by J. David Moore
(jdavidmoore(a)comcast.net OR j.davidmoore(a)comcast.net). It' a beautiful piece about remembering the "music in my mother's house" after she died.

Additionally, you can do an up piece embracing all of "womanhood" after the themes themselves, finish. We commissioned Rosephanye Powell to write a fabulous gospel piece "Still I rise" and it's a great closer.

Both of these pieces are on our latest CD entitled "Still I Rise" available on our website: www.voxfeminala.org

------
You should look at Gwyneth Walker's "Six Songs for Women's Voices" (SSAA with piano), particularly the last one of the set, "I Will Be Earth." It's a rather abstract text but obviously one of love and attachment, and the setting is simple and very lovely - a perfect "closer", ending with repose but of the pleasant sort.

The set is published by ECS and information can be found here: http://gwynethwalker.com/sfwvord.html (you can also hear recordings, I think).

-----
I just wondered if you my separate submission to you was received. If not my version of what a woman's life can include, perhaps you will consider someone else in the same camp as me. It has been an uphill battle in my gentle advocacy to open up choral literature to an more inclusive view of life, both spiritual and secular.
Naomi Stephan, Ph.D., ASCAP
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You can see my website and the score

http://www.giuseppemignemi.it/Audi%20Maria%20pari.pdf
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I'd suggest Gwyneth Walker's 'So many angels', the first in a set of three pieces called The Spirit of Women. Published by ECS. Very positive and fun (an arrangement of 'Angels keep watching over me').
-------
Susan Marrier
susanmarrier(a)yahoo.ca


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on June 24, 2008 10:00pm
I'm Melissa from Erie, PA. I really enjoy singing in choirs and choral music is amazing!!!

s_mlstrombel@clarion.edu

814-823-7712
on June 24, 2008 10:00pm
"A Girl's Garden" - from "Frostiana"

"All The Pretty Little Horses"