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Moravian choral music

I am looking for literature suggestions for a program of American choral music for this fall.  I would love to include some Moravian music on the program such as works by J.F. Peter and the like.  My ensemble is a professional level chamber choir and consists of 24 singers, SATB.  Accompaniment doesn't especially matter but I have a preference for strings and/or keyboard.  Thanks ACDA community!
Replies (13): Threaded | Chronological
on June 2, 2014 4:53pm
Some 40 years ago, the great American conductor Gregg Smith put together a very short program of music of the American Moravians.  He wrote that he had help from Dr. Karl Kroeger & the Moravian Music Foundation.  His selections (pre-1800) included:
Antes, Johan:  “How Beautiful Upon the Mountains”
Dencke, Jeremiah:  “O, Be Glad, Ye Daughters of His People” (solo soprano & strings)
Herbst, Johannes:  “God Was In Jesus” (strings)
Peter, Johann F:  “I Freely Sacrifice” (2hns & strings) & “I Will Make an Everlasting Covenant”
Peter, Simon:  “Look Ye” (solo, double chorus, strings) & “O, There’s a Sight” (solo)
Hope that helps.
Michael A. Gray
Applauded by an audience of 1
on June 3, 2014 1:14am
The San Francisco Lyric Chorus just did a wonderful program of American music:  I Hear America Singing:
Chester                                    William Billings
Euroclydon                               William Billings
I Am The Rose of Sharon           William Billings
Harmonious Herbst                    Alice Parker
            I Will Sing
            Thanks Be To Thee
            What Causeth Me to Mourn
            Christ Crucified
            O! At Last
Lorena                                    Joseph Philbrick Webster
Tenting on the Old Camp Ground   Walter Kittredge
The Anacreontick Song             John Stafford Smith
Adams and Liberty                   John Stafford Smith
Four Temperance Songs            Ralph Hunter, arr.
            O, Join the Army          Howard Singleton Taylor
            Clear the Track!            John Bunyan Herbert
            Sparkling Water            William Thomas Giffe
            Sign Tonight                 William Fisk Sherwin                      
Afternoon on a Hill                    Stephen Paulus
The Day is Done                       Stephen Paulus
Night, Sleep, Death and the Stars  Daniel Gawthrop
The Seal Lullaby                        Eric Whitacre                                   
This Marriage                            Eric Whitacre           
little tree                                   Eric Whitacre
There are some excellent compositions by Moravian composers, as listed by a previous respondent.  We performed Alice Parker's Harmonius Herbst, her arrangement for chorus of solo songs by Johann Peter Herbst.  It's a lovely set of pieces.                      
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on June 3, 2014 2:52am
Many years ago a church I served had a little booklet in their Choral Library entitled Twelve Moravian Chorales  by John Antes which I had occasion to use quite a lot.  Several churches, several countries, and 50 years later I'm still looking for some copies.  Perhaps another member can steer us to them.  They were published, if I recall correctly, by The Moravian Music Foundation. 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on June 3, 2014 4:56am
You might consider these John Antes pieces (all available with string parts):
Who with weeping soweth
The Lord has been gracious unto us
Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion
Johannes Herbst:
The Lord our mighty sov'reign
These were edited by Karl Kroeger.  They are all Boosey and Hawkes publications, but may be out of print.  The Moravian Music Foundation has a substantial lending library, however and the choral scores and instrumental parts may be available through them. 
Very well crafted, gracious and satisfying compositions.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on June 3, 2014 5:07am
I have done "No Other Way Is Given To Men" by Johannes Herbst several times with my church choir. One of my favorite anthems. Let me know if you can't find it in print.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on June 3, 2014 5:33am
I suggest that you look to the music department at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA.  Strong Moravian traditions live in that town.
Good luck in your search for music.
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on June 3, 2014 10:59am
Thanks so much Thomas.  I'd love to correspond with them.
on June 3, 2014 5:35am
You may not be aware that our own ED Tim Sharp is a scholar of Moravian music. In fact, he recently published a book on Moravian songs!  I teach at Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA. There is a wealth of material there. Moravian College houses a fairly extensive archive. I don't know where you are located, but a trip to Bethlehem might yeild some really interesting material.  There will also be a Moravian Music Conference held at the college in October, 2014. Email me for details!
Joy Hirokawa
Applauded by an audience of 2
on June 3, 2014 11:03am
We are located in Abilene, Texas so a trip to Bethlehem, PA would be quite a trek! (even for a Texan!)  I would, however, love to correspond with you on some literature and perhaps some resources for program notes.  I'll message you privately.
on June 3, 2014 11:09am
I also did not know that Tim was an authority on Moravian music.  I'll contact him too!
on June 3, 2014 12:10pm
Here is a link for the Moravian Music Foundation:
On the link for the library, scroll all the way to the bottom, and you will see a listing of choral works that may be borrowed:
Here is a link for the Moravian Church Archives with lots of background info on the church:
And finally, here is the link for the Moravian Historical Society with lots of general historical information on the Moravians:
When they left Moravia due to religious persecution, Bethlehem, PA was one of the first places they settled. The college was established in 1742 and is the 6th oldest college in the US. Also the first to offer education for women. 
The Historical Society has a number of publications - you might find some specific to the music there.
And yes, the Moravian bookstore has items you can purchase online:,7.html
They also have recordings that might be useful:,16.html
Good luck!
on June 3, 2014 9:32am
The Moravian Bookstore, across the street from the Hotel Bethlehem in Bethlehem, PA, stocks a lot of Moravian music.  If you are near Bethlehem, it would be worth a visit; of not, you may wish to call the Bookstore to inquire about the titles and composers they carry.
on June 3, 2014 1:32pm
Hi Travis,
Happy to help. Contact me and I will offer some trails to follow.
Tim Sharp
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