American choral music, 1870–1922, a new open-access online resource, is a collaboration between the Library of Congress and the Choral Directors Association (ACDA).
In 2007 the ACDA and the Library began a collaborative effort to create a website devoted to choral music that would present music in the public domain, available for users to download. The site serves to highlight the collections of sheet music in the Library of Congress and to advance and promote the performance of choral music.
The 76 works presented are limited to a period beginning shortly after the Civil War and ending in 1922. The music selected reflects the diversity of choral music in the collections written during the later 19th- and early 20th centuries and includes accompanied, a cappella, sacred, and secular works for mixed choirs, women’s and men’s ensembles, and children’s choruses.
Below, Amy Beach’s Through the house give glimmering light, one of the works included on the site.
Giovanni Gabrieli’s unique achievement was the unification of two opposing styles that had been developing throughout the Renaissance: the local Venetian technique involving antiphonal masses of sound and the international technique of interwoven melodic strands.
Having assimilated both traditions, he resolved their conflicts in his Symphoniae sacrae of 1597 and especially of 1615; in so doing, he crossed the border between Renaissance and Baroque and penetrated well into the new territory.
To allow full appreciation of these works, the choirs must not be widely separated: The optimum situation is that depicted in the frontispiece of the tenor part of the fifth volume of Praetorius’s Musae Sioniae (1607, inset; click to enlarge), with one choir on the floor and the other two in balconies on their right and left. The impact must come not from the juxtaposition of masses of sound, but from clarity of texture.
This according to “Texture versus mass in the music of Giovanni Gabrieli” by George Wallace Woodworth, a contribution to Essays on music in honor of Archibald Thompson Davison (Cambridge: Harvard University Department of Music, 1957, pp. 129–138.
Today is the 400th anniversary of Gabrieli’s death! (His birth date is not known.) Below, Green Mountain Project performs his Magnificat à 14, which was published posthumously in 1615.
The choral scholar (ISSN 1948-3058), a peer-reviewed journal launched in 2009 by the National Collegiate Choral Organization, is dedicated to “presenting outstanding scholarship related to the study and performance of choral music”—including such topics as conducting and pedagogy, in addition to musicological research; it also welcomes studies that directly involve choral music from fields other than music. The journal’s first issue includes articles on vocal physiology, performance practice, repertoire, and compositional style.