After hearing a really moving piece, I'm looking to get into choral music.
August 18, 2011 3:51 PM   Subscribe

I recently stumbled upon this piece by John Tavener. It really gets going at the 2:20 mark. I love the rich chords and, at times, heavy bass of the piece. I want to get into this choral music, whether it is old Gregorian chant stuff or contemporary, but I don't know where to start! Anyone have any recommendations to start off with?
posted by staticscreen to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
My favorite contemporary choral conductor is Eric Whitacre. Try his piece Sleep and Lux Aurumque.
posted by aliasless at 4:13 PM on August 18, 2011

Excuse me, choral composer.
posted by aliasless at 4:14 PM on August 18, 2011

Go here on the BBC radio website and click on "Choral Evensong" – once a week they have full services with very good choirs (about 2/3 of the service is sung) and most of what they perform is the kind of contemporary but serious choral stuff Tavener does. If you look around, you can find stashes of these recordings going back years.
posted by zadcat at 4:15 PM on August 18, 2011

I recommend Morten Lauridsen - wonderful guy, very unassuming, who has written some of the most satisfying choral music I've ever sung. Seconding Whitacre, but from a listening point of view - I've not sung him yet.

Robert Shaw was a leader in the advancement of choral music performance in the U.S.
posted by DandyRandy at 4:43 PM on August 18, 2011

All these composers have plenty of other great stuff, but here are some of my favourite choral pieces (with proper links this time):

[Traditional Plainchant] - Adore Deum (
St Hildegard von Bingen - Columba Aspexit (
Palestrina - Sicut cervus (
Tallis - Spem in alium (
Tallis - Miserere nostri, Domine (
Tallis - Why fum'th in fight (
Allegri - Miserere mei, Deus (
Mozart - Requiem - Dies Irae (
Mozart - Ave verum corpus (
Brahms - German Requiem - Denn alles Fleisch, es ist wie Gras (
Barber - Agnus Dei (
Biebl - Ave Maria (
Lauridsen - Lux Aeterna (
posted by fhangler at 5:40 PM on August 18, 2011 [4 favorites]

Check out Arvo Pärt and Claudio Monteverdi.
posted by jph at 6:26 PM on August 18, 2011

Seconding Lauridsen. Beautiful close harmonies and soaring melodies, and the more contemporary feel of Tavener. Also the Biebl that fhangler recommended.

I would also add the Veni Creator Spiritus section from Mahler's 8th Symphony.
posted by altopower at 7:28 PM on August 18, 2011

This is a choral group, not a composer, but Chanticleer does lovely versions of choral music, including a haunting piece by Tavener himself. Hearing this at a Christmas concert was a truly transformative experience for me, and I am an atheist Jew.
posted by mlle valentine at 8:04 PM on August 18, 2011

Henry Purcell's Hear my Prayer Oh Lord is exceptional
posted by leibniz at 2:38 AM on August 19, 2011

Rachmaninov's Vespers.
posted by dr. boludo at 8:24 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Just this spring I performed Castelnuovo-Tedesco's "Romancero Gitano" and it is an excellent suite for chamber choir and classical guitar.
posted by jph at 5:50 PM on August 19, 2011

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