Repertoire

Research Memorandum Series No. 204

This article is a companion to Research Memorandum Series No. 202 and 203, also providing insight into the work of David Hamilton, a prolific composer and music educator from New Zealand.

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As a young girl, Abbie Betinis noticed that singing “Caroling, Caroling” during the holidays always brought tears to her grandpa’s eyes. Later she would learn that the famous carol was one of many composed by her great uncle Alfred Burt, who was carrying on a family tradition of carol writing begun by his father, the Rev. Bates Burt. In 2001, Betinis, by then a composer herself, decided to pick up the family carol writing tradition.

In celebration of the Britten centennial in 2013, this issue of American Choral Review features two articles on the music of Benjamin Britten: distinguished scholar Alfred Whittall offers reflections on the composer’s choral writing, and co-authors Thomas Folan and Nancy S. Niemi explore issues of identity in Britten’s Cantata Academica.

A girl. A story. A song.

For the composing team of Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory, inspiration usually comes in the form of a story that grabs them and won’t let go. Such was the case with “Beneath the African Sky”—a lullaby for a lost refugee girl that has become a cry for justice and a song of hope for children’s choruses around the world.

Using text from beloved author Lewis Carroll, composer Maurice Saylor adapted a well known "nonsense" poem into a full-length choral work for Cantate Chamber Singers (Washington DC). Gisele Becker, music director of the Singers and director of choral activities at George Washington University, explains the process of collaborating on a new composition derived from this unlikely source. 

Chorus America’s Noteworthy web series highlights choral repertoire that may not be familiar to you—yet. Each month, a different conductor, music director, or other artistic professional recommends a piece of music that hasn't been widely noticed, but in his or her opinion, deserves to be heard.

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