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  • Welcome to the Boosey & Hawkes Choral Explorer page. Here you can find out about our latest choral releases and listen to audio clips.

    Please contact [email protected] to request more information about any of our choral music or to sign up to our choral e-newletter.

  • **Celebrate Karl Jenkins Choral Works in the Composer's 80th Birthday Year**

    As we near the 80th birthday of Karl Jenkins in 2024, the choral community is poised for a year of celebration with worldwide performances of his music.

    Karl Jenkins's illustrious career has left an indelible mark on the choral world. His music, recognised for its universal appeal, has earned him a place among the most performed living composers globally. Notably, his music graced the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla in 2023. Jenkins's recording of The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace recently achieved a unique milestone, spending an astounding 1000 Weeks in the UK Classical charts. The work secured the fifth spot in the Classic FM Hall of Fame, the highest position for a living composer, and was ranked fifth in the list of Great British Classics. Moreover, The Armed Man was chosen to represent the decade 2000-2009 in BBC Radio 3's "Soundscape of a Century”.

    2023 marks a particularly significant prelude to the birthday year with the world premiere of his latest choral work One World, featuring the World Orchestra and World Choir for Peace, and soloists Roderick Williams and Ruby Hughes, at the prestigious Brucknerhaus in Linz. This premiere, scheduled as UNESCO's concert for peace, promises to be a very special event, bringing together singers from across the globe and live stream input from the Stay At Home Choir. One World was released as an album on Decca Classics earlier this year.

    > Listen here

    In 2024, as part of his 80th birthday celebrations, Karl Jenkins embarks on a UK tour, commencing on 10 March at the Royal Albert Hall, London. The composer takes the baton to conduct prominent UK ensembles in his iconic The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace. Audiences can also look forward to the first UK performances of music from One World, as well as orchestral selections.

    In January 2024, on Martin Luther King Day, Karl Jenkins will return to Carnegie Hall for his annual collaboration with Distinguished Concerts International New York, to pay tribute to the legacy of the late American activist. The concert will showcase a selection of the composer’s most popular choral works.

    > Explore Karl Jenkins Choral Scores

  • **Discover Christopher Tin's _The Lost Birds_**

    Boosey & Hawkes is proud to present the complete vocal score of Christopher Tin's The Lost Birds, as well as separate octavos of individual movements available in print or as digital downloads. The 45-minute work, composed for and recorded by VOCES8, is a soaring elegy for the loss of bird species due to human activity. According to Tin, the music serves as "a warning: that unless we reverse our course, the fate that befell these once soaring flocks will be a foreshadowing of our own extinction".

    > Listen to Voces 8 recording

    This release offers versatile options for mixed choirs: the original instrumentation with chorus, harp, timpani, percussion, and string orchestra, as well as intimate chamber versions for piano quintet and chorus or string quartet, harp, and chorus. The new vocal score is compatible with all versions. Alternatively, choirs can now perform selected individual movements from The Lost Birds with our new choral octavos, making the music available for a cappella performance.

    Christopher Tin answered our questions about the music:

    What were your main considerations with the vocal writing? And how is the piece accessible to groups of all abilities?

    When composing The Lost Birds I was keenly attuned to the text setting, and set the words in the most natural-sounding way possible so that the audience would be able to understand the lyrics as they were listening to the music. They're among the easiest pieces to learn in my catalogue--all the movements are tuneful and harmonically accessible, and it's sung entirely in English. And while there are certainly sections where I took advantage of VOCES8's extensive vocal range, in most cases I also supplied alternate parts for singers who might not have the same range.

    What moments should choirs look out for in The Lost Birds? Are there any motifs or themes that are particularly close to your heart?

    The Lost Birds was conceived very motivically, so many melodies return throughout the piece. The overture Flocks a Mile Wide contains many of those themes, including a very soaring, lyrical melody that gets reprised in the final movement Hope Is the Thing with Feathers. That movement has some personal meaning for me, as it was the piece that my wife processed down the aisle to at our wedding.

    Why should choirs programme The Lost Birds ?

    I think The Lost Birds can make for great spring programming. It's filled with meaning, both in the Romantic-era depictions of birds and their symbolism, but also through the writings of four 19th-century female poets (Emily Dickinson, Sara Teasdale, Christina Rossetti and Edna St. Vincent Millay) who experienced firsthand the loss of biodiversity at the height of the industrial revolution. There are plenty of visuals that can be used, including a forthcoming set of projections that feature the lyrics, that can be synchronized to a live performance. And on top of that, there are ample opportunities to build community engagement and educational programming around the topic of the piece, which day by day, becomes more and more topical.

    > Explore The Lost Birds versions

  • **Maestro-fever! Discover Leonard Bernstein’s Choral Works**

    As the highly anticipated Leonard Bernstein biopic "Maestro" starring Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan nears its release, it is the perfect moment to programme the iconic choral works of this eminent American composer.

    Bernstein’s choral compositions, characterised by their evocative melodies and profound themes, are loved by audiences across the globe. Pieces like Chichester Psalms, a fusion of Hebrew and Christian texts showcasing the composer’s signature jazzy style, and the poignant epic theatre piece Mass, give a small flavour of the variety of Bernstein’s choral output. Boosey & Hawkes is proud to represent these, as well as arrangements from his acclaimed stage work West Side Story and the Voltaire classic Candide.

    Doreen Rao's adapted concert version of Bernstein's Mass brings us this monumental music in a shortened and manageable edition for chorus, soloists and chamber ensemble. Rao has maintained the integrity of the Mass form and the dramatic tension between faith and doubt through a 40-minute adaptation of a work that celebrates diversity, inclusion and Bernstein's passion for peace. The chamber ensemble parts are available on rental.

    > Explore Doreen Rao's Mass arrangement

  • **Lent, Holy Week and Passiontide Programming 2024**

    Boosey & Hawkes is pleased to offer fresh ideas for Passiontide programming in 2024, along with enduring classics from our extensive catalogue.

    Kim André Arnesen's Stabat Mater, commissioned and premiered by Haderslev Cathedral Girls' Choir in Denmark, is now available in multiple versions, catering to a wide range of ensembles. Available for pre-order is a brand-new vocal score for the original upper voices (SSAA) version with organ accompaniment. An SATB vocal score is available from our hire library, as well as a chamber orchestra accompaniment to serve both SSAA and SATB versions. Arnesen’s emotional interpretation of the Stabat Mater text makes it a deeply moving addition to any Passiontide concert.

    > Listen to the original SSAA version
    > Pre-order new SSAA vocal score
    > Explore orchestral hire parts

    Coming soon is Kerensa Briggs's Hear my Prayer, which received its world premiere performance by the Adelaide Chamber Singers, conducted by Christie Anderson in the Art Gallery of South Australia, Elder Wing in June 2021. Lasting five minutes, the piece for a cappella SATB choir pays homage to the popular Purcell Hear my prayer setting. With soaring soprano lines and haunting dissonances, Briggs's reflective and powerful arrangement is suitable for intermediate groups seeking an exciting challenge.

    > Watch the world premiere live-stream

    Alternatively, Karl Jenkins's 80th birthday celebrations present a unique programming opportunity, blending penitential themes with diverse global influences. His Stabat Mater, scored for contralto solo, SATB chorus, and orchestra draws on the rich musical tradition of reflecting on Mary's suffering at the Crucifixion. He sets the 13th-century Roman Catholic Stabat Mater poem attributed to Jacopone da Todi as a starting point and branches out into other texts, including a Lament with words by Carol Barrott, and an Incantation with a semi-improvised nature. Ancient modes and instruments from the Middle East such as the darabuca are also featured alongside ‘Western’ harmony, scales and modes.

    > Listen to Stabat Mater
    > Discover the vocal score

    On similar themes, Jenkins’s Requiem for SATB choir and piano seamlessly fuses conventional Latin Requiem movements with Japanese-inspired haiku 'death' poems. This music, offering a welcome challenge for both amateur and professional groups, combines memorable lyrical melodies with intricate rhythmic passages.

    > Listen to Requiem
    > Discover the score

    Additionally, Jenkins's motets, And the Mother did weep (extracted from the Stabat Mater) and Healing Light, serve as ideal fillers for a Passiontide programme. These intimate and spiritually uplifting a cappella choral works are highly accessible for amateur groups, each lasting five minutes or less.

    > And the Mother did weep score
    > Healing Light score

  • **Spread Christmas Cheer with Paul Fincham's _Ring the bells_**

    Boosey & Hawkes is delighted to present composer Paul Fincham's enchanting Christmas carol, Ring the bells in two versions: the original SATB carol, and a version for SSA choirs.

    Ring the bells was commissioned by the London Philharmonic Choir and made its debut at the Royal Albert Hall in December 2017, under the baton of conductor Toby Purser. The piece, characterised by lively outer sections and a contemplative middle segment based around a chorale theme, captures the essence of the holiday season, with nods to the classic carol The Holly and the Ivy. Ring the bells is thoughtfully accessible to amateur choirs of all levels.

    In 2019, Paul Fincham, in collaboration with the London Philharmonic Choir, embarked on a noble mission. Together, they pledged that all composer royalties generated by Ring the bells would be donated to the UK homeless charity Crisis. The London Philharmonic Choir extended an invitation to choirs across the UK, encouraging them to embrace Ring the bells in their repertoire.

    This year, Concord has pledged to match the composer's donation to the charity for the upcoming season and next. This commitment amplifies the importance of acquiring your scores and including Ring the bells in your Christmas repertoire.

    Join this powerful movement behind Crisis's plan to end homelessness. Make a difference this holiday season — add Ring the bells to your Christmas repertoire list and be part of this impactful initiative.

    > Score Video
    > Explore the SATB version
    > Explore the SSA version

Choral LINKS

Discover the premiere recording of James MacMillan's I saw Eternity the other night
In a new recording on Signum Classics, Tenebrae brings its trademark passion and precision to a live performance of music by James MacMillan and J. S. Bach, recorded at Snape Maltings in May 2023. In addition to MacMillan’s beautiful and varied Miserere setting, the album features the premiere recording of I saw Eternity the other night, which MacMillan composed for Tenebrae in 2021 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the London Bach Society. Setting the first stanza of a poem by Henry Vaughan, the piece depicts the separation of two worlds, one representing the vastness of eternity, relating to our souls, the other, alluding to our everyday mortal lives.

Listen to B&H choral music in our Spotify playlist

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