50 pieces for mixed choirs
from Sweden, Norway, Finland
Iceland and the Baltic States
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On Christmas Day 19 years ago, 25 December 1989, a moving concert event took place in the Berlin Konzerthaus on Gendarmenmarkt: just a few weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Leonard Bernstein conducted Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with musicians and singers from East and West Germany, as well as from the countries of the four Allied victorious powers France, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the USA. A minimal intervention in Schiller’s text made the “Ode to Joy” to the “Ode to Freedom” – and provides a goose-skin effect every time you hear it again.By commemorating this legendary concert, we pay tribute to Leonard Bernstein. Like no other, he embodied the humanitarian and unifying power of music. In a time of increasing specialization, he was one of the last universal musicians: pianist, composer, conductor and, last but not least, gifted teacher and music mediator. Fortunately, many of his inspiring concert introductions and instructive orchestra rehearsals have been preserved as videos. The fact that many classical stars today specifically want to inspire young people with music is referred to in his honour as the Bernstein Effect.
Also in his compositional work Bernstein crossed with great ease the boundaries between popular and classical music. His musicals are best known: the melodies from West Side Story are among the most popular of the 20th century and are available in countless arrangements. The lively Overture to Candide or the symphonic suite from the film music to On the Waterfront are now also part of the standard repertoire for concert bands.
His most beautiful songs are available in three extensive Anthologies. Less known are his works for the concert hall, such as the extraordinarily casted Serenade after Plato’s “Symposium”, the Chichester Psalms or his three original contributions to the genre of symphony neglected in the 20th century.
The idea of the untouchable musical work of art is a child of the late 19th century. For centuries, the reworking of works and their adaptation to the circumstances of the respective performance was the norm.
Carus-Verlag takes up this pragmatic approach to masterpieces and offers a whole series of famous choral works with a reduced orchestral cast. This not only makes large works possible for smaller choirs - the new versions immerse the well-known works in an often refreshingly new sound.
The scope of the poems in the original ranges from a slightly reduced number of wind instruments (Haydn: The Creation) to chamber orchestra instrumentation (Brahms: Requiem and Schicksalslied, Dvořák: Stabat mater) to truly substantial revisions: While Bruckner’s Te Deum with brass quintet and organ suggests the power of the original version, Dvořák’s Mass in D with woodwind quintet offers a very chamber music sound. The most distant from the original is the imaginative arrangement of Verdi’s Requiem for only five musicians: horn, double bass, piano, marimba and percussion. The “blows of fate” of the bass drum, which are so characteristic of this work, must not, of course, be missing in this version either.
Both piano and choral scores can be used in all revisions, as well as combining the string parts of the original version.