During March, we’ve published a couple of articles highlighting a few “hidden gems” of the choral repertory, including selections from the contemporary scene. These have generated plenty of interest on Twitter, proving how choral music really strikes a resonant chord in listening habits around the world. We threw the selection process open to allow you to suggest the choral pieces which you think deserve greater recognition… and you haven’t disappointed us! Below are a series of listening links:

John Sheppard (c.1515 – c.1558) was one of the finest English composers from the Tudor period, although the lack of a reliable edition of his compositions mean that he isn’t as widely known as John Taverner, Thomas Tallis, Christopher Tye or Robert White. Much of his music which has survived is incomplete, often lacking a tenor line. The text to his sublime Media Vita consists of the antiphon to the Nunc dimittis at Compline on the major feast-days in the two weeks before Passion Sunday (nominated by @ClassicFM):

 

Ludwig Senfl (c.1486 – 1542/3) was a Swiss composer, writing a variety of secular and sacred music. His Quis dabit oculis nostris is a Motet on the death of Emperor Maximilian I, adapted from a motet by Costanzo Festa (nominated by @paulkilbey):

Georgy Sviridov’s Pushkin’s Garland is a choral concerto based on verses by Pushkin. “Magpie Chatter” is remarkable and requires virtuoso precision (nominated by @AkselToll):

If you’ve a spare 55 minutes, Alfred Schnittke’s Psalms of Repentance, completed in 1988, draws on Byzantine and Russian Orthodox chant, with the chorus treated almost instrumentally, using a variety of striking techniques (nominated by @itisyouranthem)


Another vote for Schnittke comes in the form of his Choir Concerto no. 1: “O Master of all Living Things” (nominated by @geocham):

Thomas Tallis is considered the greatest of England’s Tudor composers. Following the Reformation, he was one of the first church musicians to write anthems set to English words. Following the accession of Mary Tudor, Roman liturgical rite returned to favour; Tallis’ Gaude Gloriosa Dei Mater is one of his major works from this period (nominated by @Minjas_Zugik):

Here is another of Minjas' suggestions, just because it's so unusual. Iannis XenakisKnephas (“Darkness”) is scored for 32 voices. The vocal writing only uses phonemes and doesn’t convey any written meaning. (Great annotations about the music here too.):

 

Joseph Rheinberger’s most famous choral composition is his Mass for double choir, written in 1878. The antiphonal writing is reminiscent of late Renaissance Venice (suggested by Katherine Dixson via Facebook):

And finally, David Lang's I lie, a haunting piece commissioned by the California vocal ensemble Kitka, taking the text of an old Yiddish song, describing a girl waiting for her lover (nominated by @sandy_burnett):

 

Thank you to all those who made suggestions and we hope you enjoyed discovering some new byways of the choral repertoire this month.