The Best Music You Hardly Know

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

On this edition of The Choral Mix, it's the best music you hardly know. We explore great choral works you hardly hear; music overshadowed in performance for one reason or another.

To that end, we share a meditative Nunc Dimittis by Holst. Scored for 8 voices, each part enter separately and then ends with a glorious Amen. This version is performed by the Sixteen under the direction of Harry Christophers. 

The Italian composer, Ildebrando Pizzetti, (a contemporary of Gerald Finzi during the early part of the 20th century) composed a Requiem of exquisite beauty. We hear a movement from this work -- Dies Irae which incorporates striking two-part writing where the traditional chant melody supports a keening counter-melody. Listen for haunting Eastern and early-music influences.

Other works on today's program just itching to be heard are Mendelsohn's Lobgesang and Brahms' Nanie. We think these pieces are all true contenders for their spot on the masterwork list. What about your favorite neglected pieces?  


Holst/ Ikon-Music for The Spirit and Soul/ The Sixteen, Harry Christophers

Nunc Dimittis


Rossini/Choral Adagios/ Choir of New College, Oxford, Edward Higginbottom

O salutaris


Finzi/ Lo, the full, final sacrifice/ Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge, Christopher Robinson

Lo, the full, final sacrifice


Brahms/Alto Rhapsody-Gesang der Parzen- Nanie/ Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Robert Shaw



Pizzetti/ Martin and Pizzetti: Mass and Messa di Requiem/Westminster Cathedral Choir, James O’Donnell

Dies Irae


Mendelsohn/ Symphonies Nos. 1-5/Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Radio Chorus Leipzig, Kurt Masur

Lobgesang Final Chorus: Ihr Volker, bringet her dem Herrn

Comments [5]

Gary Ekman from Manhattan/NYC

The Pizzetti Dies Irae is fascinating with the different voices weaving in and out. And to think I never heard of Pizzetti until this morning.

Sep. 08 2012 07:08 AM

Nanie was programmed fairly often by Morris Beachy in his various University of Texas and Austin community choral organizations. I have participated in at least three performances. I believe, however, that this is the first time I have heard Nanie performed by other than one of those organizations.

Aug. 28 2012 12:53 PM

Hearing the Nanie gave my a warm feeling and good thougets. The Leaman Chorus did the picec along with monvement from the Requiem a few yeras back to honor aur members who has died over the years. I had nener heard it before, but fell in love with the opening sounds. Thank you for playing it.

Aug. 27 2012 01:54 PM
Peter Kors from Los Angeles

It's too early for Christmas, but when the season arrives, try "Laud to the Nativity," by Respighi. There's a Roger Wagner Chorale recording, the only one I know of, that's quite lovely. There's another Xmas piece that I sang in choir, some long time ago, of which I only remember the title: "The Little King." It's lovely as well.

Aug. 26 2012 11:48 PM
ebenasire from NYC

Thanks for the "Nanie".My wife sang it with Canterbury Choral Society..

Aug. 26 2012 12:18 PM

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