Tag Archives: choral

The Singers


Each year, The Longfellow Chorus of Portland, Maine, under the direction of Charles Kaufmann, sponsors an outstanding composition contest.  I was honored to have been awarded first prize in 2007 for my setting of The Singers.  This performance is from the premiere, which took place on February 24, 2008 in Portland.  If you are interested in obtaining the score, please contact the composer:  bobmooremusic@gmail.com.  Here’s a sample:  The Singers

The Singers by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

God sent his Singers upon earth
With songs of sadness and of mirth,
That they might touch the hearts of men,
And bring them back to heaven again.

The first, a youth, with soul of fire,
Held in his hand a golden lyre;
Through groves he wandered, and by streams,
Playing the music of our dreams.

The second, with a bearded face,
Stood singing in the market-place,
And stirred with accents deep and loud
The hearts of all the listening crowd.

A gray old man, the third and last,
Sang in cathedrals dim and vast,
While the majestic organ rolled
Contrition from its mouths of gold.

And those who heard the Singers three
Disputed which the best might be;
For still their music seemed to start
Discordant echoes in each heart,

But the great Master said, “I see
No best in kind, but in degree;
I gave a various gift to each,
To charm, to strengthen, and to teach.

“These are the three great chords of might,
And he whose ear is tuned aright
Will hear no discord in the three,
But the most perfect harmony.”

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How Holy This Feast

During the summer of 1998, I attended a liturgical music composition seminar at St. John’s University (Collegeville, MN) with the late Richard Proulx.  Each of the participating composers had the opportunity to study privately with Richard, and to say that it changed my life would not be an understatement.  One of my self-directed projects was to compose a choral work in what I was then calling a minimalist style.  This motet grew out of that effort, and while it went in a slightly more elaborate direction, you can hear a touch of minimalism in the repetitive rhythm and slowly changing harmonies of the outer sections.  For unaccompanied SATB choir, it is available for purchase at giamusic.com.  One last note:  I once performed this successfully with a string quartet doubling the voice parts.

 ℗ 1999 GIA Publications, Inc.

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