A History of Western Choral Music: Volume 2

ISBN : 9780199377008

Chester L. Alwes
512 Pages
178 x 254 mm
Pub date
Apr 2016
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A History of Western Choral Music explores the various genres, key composers, and influential works essential to the development of the western choral tradition. Author Chester L. Alwes divides this exploration into two volumes which move from Medieval music and the Renaissance era up to the 21st century. Volume II begins at the transition from the Classical era to the Romantic, with an examination of the major genres common to both periods. Exploring the oratorio, part song, and dramatic music, it also offers a thorough discussion of the choral symphony from Beethoven to Mahler, through to the present day. It then delves into the choral music of the twentieth century through discussions of the major compositional approaches and philosophies that proliferated over the course of the century, from impressionism to serialism, neo-classicism to modernism, minimalism, and the avant-garde. It also considers the emerging tendency towards nationalistic composition amongst composers such as Bartok and Stravinsky, and discusses in great detail the contemporary music of the United States, and Great Britain. Framing discussion within the political, religious, cultural, philosophical, aesthetic, and technological contexts of each era, A History of Western Choral Music offers readers specialized insight into major composers and works while providing a cohesive understanding of choral music's place in Western history.


1. The Romantic Oratorio from Haydn to Elgar
a. English Oratorio after Handel
b. Oratorio Volgare-Italy and Austria
c. Franz Josef Haydn (1732-1809)
1. Die Schopfung (The Creation)
2. Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons)
d. Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
1. Paulus (1836)
2. Elijah, op. 70
e. Beethoven and Berlioz
f. Robert Schumann-Das Paradies und die Peri, op. 50
g. Franz Liszt-Die Legende der Heiligen Elisabeth
h. Oratorio in Nineteenth-Century England
i. Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
1. Dream of Gerontius-Text
2. Dream of Gerontius-Music
j. Conclusion
k. End Notes
2. Part Song in Nineteenth-Century Germany and England
a. Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
b. Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
c. Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
d. Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
e. Other German Part Song Composers
f. Part Song in England
g. Rise of the Musical Competition
h. Conclusion
i. End Notes
3. Choral Music in Nineteenth-Century Drama
a. Choral Music in Nineteenth-Century Opera
b. Opera in Italy and Germany-Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner
c. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Dramatic Choral Music
1. Hector Berlioz: Le Damnation de Faust
2. Felix Mendelssohn: Die erste Walpurgisnacht, op. 60
3. Robert Schumann: Faustszenen, WoO. 3
4. Johannes Brahms
e. Conclusion
f. End Notes
4. Choral Symphony from Beethoven to Berio
a. Ludwig van Beethoven-Symphony No. 9 in d minor, op. 125
b. Felix Mendelssohn-Symphony No. 2 in B-flat, op. 52 (Lobgesang)
c. Hector Berlioz-Romeo et Juliette, op. 17
d. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1739-1832)
e. Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)
f. The Choral Symphony after Mahler
g. Gustav Holst-First Choral Symphony, op. 41
h. Benjamin Britten-Spring Symphony, op. 44
i. Shostakovich, Bernstein and Berio
j. Conclusion
k. End Notes
5. The Twentieth-Century Revolution: French Choral Music from
Debussy to Messiaen
a. Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
b. Debussy's Predecessors
c. Gabriel Faure (1845-1924)
d. The Rise of the Avant-Garde-Les Six
1. Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
2. Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)
f. Maurice Durufle (1902-1986)
g. Olivier Messiaen (1908-1991)
Cinq Rechants
h. Conclusion
i. End Notes
6. Tonal oder Atonal: Pitch Serialism in the Choral Music of Schoenberg,
Webern, and their Followers
a. Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951)
b. Anton von Webern (1883-1945)
c. Beyond the Second Viennese School
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)
d. Other Dodecaphonic Composers
e. Conclusion
f. End Notes
7. Nationalism, Folksong and Identity
a. England
b. Hungary
1. Zoltan Kodaly (1882-1967)
1. Bela Bartok (1881-1945)
2. Gyorgy Ligeti (1923-2006)
c. Russia
d. Stravinsky-Les Noces
e. Nationalism under the Soviet Regime
f. Veljo Tormis (b. 1930)
g. Conclusion
h. End Notes
8. Neo-Classicism: The Revival of Historical Models in the Works
of Stravinsky, Hindemith and Others
a. Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)
b. Paul Hindemith (1899-1963)
c. German Church Music in the Twentieth Century
e. Conclusion
f. End Notes
9. After Messiaen: The Avant-Garde Aesthetic in Choral Music
a. Boulez and Cage
b. Karl-Heinz Stockhausen (1928-2008)
c. Hans Werner Henze (b. 1926)
d. Bruno Maderna and Luigi Nono
e. Luciano Berio (1925-2000)
f. Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001)
g. Gyorgi Ligeti (1923-2006)
h. Mauricio Kagel and Heinz Holliger
i. Other Modernist Choral Composers
j. Modernism-Practical Applications
k. Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
l. Conclusion
m. End Notes
10. European Centrism
a. Ildebrando Pizzetti (1880-1968)
b. Goffredo Petrassi (1904-2003)
c. Czech Republic
d. Hungary
e. Poland
f. Switzerland
g. Frank Martin (1891-1974)
h. Scandinavian Choral Music
1. Sweden
2. Norway
3. Finland
i. Modern Scandinavian Composers
1. Sweden
2. Norway
3. Finland
4. Denmark
j. Conclusion
k. End Notes
11. The American Experience
a. The Second New England School
b. Charles Ives (1874-1954)
c. Aaron Copland (1900-1991)
d. Randall Thompson (1899-1984)
e. Samuel Barber (1910-1981)
f. Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)
g. Vincent Persichetti (1915-1987)
h. Daniel Pinkham (1923-2006)
i. Ned Rorem (b. 1923)
j. Conclusion
k. End Notes
12. The British Isles
a. Herbert Howells (1892-1983)
b. Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)
c. William Walton and Michael Tippett
d. Kenneth Leighton (1922-1988)
e. Peter Maxwell-Davies (b. 1934)
f. John Tavener (b. 1944)
g. James Macmillan (b. 1959)
h. Conclusion
i. End Notes
13. A New Simplicity: Aleatoric and Minimalist
Procedures in Choral Music
a. Witold Lutos?awski (1913-1994)
b. Krzyzstof Penderecki (b. 1933)
c. Arvo Part (b. 1935)
d. Minimalism
e. Conclusion
f. End Notes

About the author: 

A native of Louisville, KY, Chester Alwes has served the music faculties of the College of Wooster, the University of Rochester/Eastman School of Music and, from 1982-2011, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At Illinois, Alwes developed a national reputation as a specialist in the history and performance practice of choral literature. Alwes has authored numerous articles in a variety of journals and is a composer, editor, and arranger with works published by Oxford University Press, Roger Dean Music, Mark Foster Music, et al.

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