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Choral Music -- Music for Chorus and Choir

  Links for Choral Composer William Copper  


Listening room with mp3 and pdf scores
larger works   
mixed chorus and orchestra   
just intonation, written to be sung with pure tuning
mixed chorus and keyboard   
a cappella   
children's chorus
women's chorus   
men's chorus   
List of choral pieces in order by difficulty    
WHERE TO START: Choral Music Recommendations and Highlights


Work Duration Description
larger choral works
Lovelife Dances
by William Copper
25 minutes SATB, piano 4-hands. The Liebeslieder for the 21st century: Love, life, and lovelife in dance rhythms. Six centuries of English poetry, Geoffrey Chaucer through James Merrill. A major work now available for scheduling. "Musically there is only this to say: this is beautiful music" "... All in all, I'm in love with the work."
New Lovelife Dances
by William Copper
28 minutes SATB, piano 4-hands. More Lovelife Dances. 14 new choral songs with texts from a wide range of English poetry, including Robert Burns, William Shakespeare, and George Elliot, and Christopher Marlowe. Like the first set, "an amazing suite", "passionate, tender, jolly, and wry".
Marian Motets
by William Copper
58 minutes SATB, Soloists, Orchestra. Five settings of Latin texts offering a Life of Mary, from before Christ's birth to after Christ's death. "Magnificat", "O Magnum Mysterium", "Ave Maria", "Ave Regina Caelorum" and "Stabat Mater". Each work is listed separately below, and they are intended to be performed individually as well as in sequence.
Moses at the Jordan River 80 minutes SATB, Soloists, Orchestra. Oratorio of the life of Moses, from a point of view at the end of his life, looking back to the river Nile and down at the river Jordan, which he is not to be allowed to cross.
Songs from the Book of Knowledge 15 minutes A set of songs for children's chorus and piano. Contains seven songs: 1. Answer to a Child's Question 2. Great Wide Beautiful Wonderful World 3. A Tragic Story 4. My Heart is Like a Singing Bird 5. Birds 6. Good-bye 7. The Dance of the Flowers
Stabat Mater
by William Copper
8 minutes SATB, Orchestra. Finale of the Marian motets. Begun on 9/11/2001 with a tragic sense of "Mary" representing humanity and "Jesus" mankind. Reworked for new orchestra accompaniment in 2012.
The Half-Bird 60 minutes Children's Chorus, Adult and Child Soloists, Ensemble. A fantasy children's opera about a mythical bird and two children who accidentally find themselves in ancient Persia.
Magnificat
by William Copper
25 minutes SATB, Soloists, Orchestra. Twelve movement work structured somewhat like J.S. Bach's Magnificat, with each phrase from the Canticle of Mary treated in a musical picture. As in the Stabat Mater, Mary represents humanity: in this case for the beauty and wonder of the growth of life inside.
chorus and orchestra
Magnificat 35 minutes Please see description above.
O Magnum Mysterium 4 minutes SATB, Orchestra (1111-0000-Prc-Strings). Latin. The mystery and sacrament of Christmas. One percussionist: orchestral bells and wood block.
Ave Regina Caelorum 4 3/4 minutes SATB, Chamber Orchestra (1111-0000-Strings). Latin. Lovely full four voice choral texture throughout; middle section contains strict imitation in diminution to beautiful effect. Written to be sung with pure tonal intonation.
Stabat Mater 8 minutes Please see description above.
Alleluia 5 minutes SATB, Orchestra (1111-1110-Timp-Strings). One-word chorus perfect for many occasions. Good concert closer. Twelfth and last movement of the Magnificat, but intended to be performed alone as well.
just intonation, written for pure tuning
See descriptions above and below
Young Jesu Sweet 3 minutes Setting of an archaic Christmas hymn by the Wedderburn brothers (16th century).
Come, Come All Ye Shepherds 3 minutes Christmas carol with independent piano part. Limited voice ranges, especially tenor part. Written to be sung in just intonation, even supported by an equal tempered piano.
Soft, O Soft" 3 minutes Christmas carol with independent piano part. SATB or SAC
Ave Maria 5 minutes SATB a cappella
Ave Regina Caelorum 4 3/4 minutes SATB, Keyboard (written so as to avoid conflict with just tuning). May be sung a cappella.
Alleluia 5 minutes One-word chorus perfect for many occasions.
O Danny Boy 3 1/2 minutes Arrangement for mixed chorus of this sad but beautiful folk melody. Arranged to allow all voices to experience the joy of perfect intonation.
Magnificat 35 minutes Please see description above.
mixed chorus and keyboard
Ave Regina Caelorum 4 3/4 minutes SATB, Keyboard. May be sung a cappella. Please see description above.
O Magnum Mysterium 4 minutes SATB, Keyboard reduction of the orchestral accompaniment. An earlier version may be sung a cappella.
Alleluia 5 minutes One-word chorus perfect for many occasions. Good concert closer. Innovative optional accompaniment provides tonal and rhythmic support without doubling modal notes (thirds of major triads, etc). A chorus can sing with pure tuning even while accompanied by an equal-temperament keyboard.
Come, Come All Ye Shepherds 3 minutes Christmas carol with independent piano part. Limited voice ranges, especially tenor part. Written to be sung in just intonation, even supported by an equal tempered piano.
America, One and Many 3 minutes Patriotic song, original words. Strong melody sounds as though it should be part of our heritage, but it is newly composed. SATB with Piano, Orchestra, Band, or String Orchestra. Also available for unison chorus and children's chorus.
And the Lord Delivered Him 2 minutes When Moses succeeds in battle, he doesn't hold back. ".. and we smote him, and all his people, we left none to remain." A fierce, powerful, rhythmic account of part of the Moses story.
The Animal Fair 3 minutes Traditional words and melody arranged for chorus, with additional comical lyrics added.
Birds 3 minutes Jazz chords, scat singing, lovely melodies, American poet Richard H Stoddard.
The Oubit 3 minutes An oubit is a caterpillar, used here as a metaphor for a young poet. Tak' warning, then, young poets, from this poor oubit's shame ... for critics lie, like salmon fry, to mak' their meals of you. Setting of the poem by Charles Kingsley. Fairly easy piano part; revised edition.
Goe and Catche a Falling Starre 3 minutes A setting of John Donne's "Song", which begins "Goe and catch a falling starre, get with child a mandrake root, tell me where all past yeares are, or who cleft the Divels foot". A series of unlikely or impossible events, ending with the search for a person true and fair. Language made inclusive by the trading of "he's" and "she's" by the men and women at the end.
Pie Jesu 2 minutes Latin text, unison treble chorus with treble soloist. Piano or Organ accompaniment.
Blessed the Gift 3 1/2 minutes Beautiful offertory or concert piece for organ and chorus. A translation and free adaptation of a benedictus from St. Peter's mass by Stanislaw Moniuszko, 19th century Polish composer. Begins with soprano melody, chorus joins in with an effective but easy organ part.
Communion for the New Covenant 3-4 minutes "Jesus Took Bread, and Blessed and Broke It", communion or lenten anthem in Latin and English from Matthew 26:26-28. Somewhat flexible duration from the inclusion or omission of a repeated passage for solo soprano and tenor.
Confession 2 minutes Setting of a confession text from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer. Very easy vocal parts, easy but effective organ part.
English Romantic Poems 4 minutes A pair of choral songs from Lovelife Dances, with piano accompaniment reduced from 4 hands to 2 hands. Tennyson's "O Swallow, Swallow", for women's chorus, paired with Shelley's "Stay Yet Awhile" (from Adonais), for men's chorus.
Flow Forth, Abundant Tears 3 minutes Folk song simplicity on a complex meter. One of the Lovelife Dances, suitable for performance by itself. Text from a madrigal by William Barley. Available for SSAB or SATB with piano (2 hands).
I Can See the Lord 4 minutes A modern spiritual for chorus with coloratura soprano solo and keyboard accompaniment.
It Was a Lover and a Lass 4 minutes From New Lovelife Dances, a simple refrain that grows in interest and passion through repetition and vocal variety. 4-hand piano accompaniment.
Join Me in the Jumping 2 minutes Original Christmas carol moving swiftly from "Doloroso" to "Giocoso" in 6/8 time. Piano accompaniment and string orchestra accompaniment available.
Knights of Troubled Love 4 minutes From Lovelife Dances, with piano accompaniment reduced from 4 hands to 2 hands. Two noble poets of the English Renaissance, Sir Philip Sidney (Ring Out Your Bells) and Sir Thomas Wyatt (Hate Whom Ye List).
The Lizard Call 2 1/2 minutes The Lizard Call is a comical retelling of a piece of Persian history from the days of Ahuramazda (Zoroastrian deity). The Lizards are called to attack (and dine on) the magical fish protecting the Tree of Life. Musical antecedents include Elvis and Helter Skelter, I think. Fast pace, optional piano part.
The Love of a Soldier and a Marble Heart 5 minutes A pair of English Renaissance poems from New Lovelife Dances: "Ask Me No Reason" and "I Stood and Saw My Mistress Dance". Piano part reduced from original 4-hand piano.
Lullaby for Christmas 3 minutes Beautiful original manger song with a twist, comparing the tears of the baby Jesus to the tears of Mary at the cross. Available for organ or piano with violin solo, and for string orchestra accompaniment.
O My Luve's Like a Red, Red Rose 3 minutes From the New Lovelife Dances. Whimsical, powerful setting of this familiar text.
Piano 5 minutes Written for ECCO, the High School chorus of Piedmont Choirs, Bruce C. Lengacher, conductor. A setting of the poem by D. H. Lawrence, requires a good pianist and conductor, with not-too-difficult choral parts that sound far harder than they are. Parts for solo voices.
Sing for the Morning's Joy (Hymn to St Cecilia) 3 minutes Another beautiful poem, this by Ursula Vaughan Williams. Effective organ part, moderately difficult choral parts. Poem used by permission of copyright holder Albion Music, Ltd.
Soft, Oh Soft 3 minutes Christmas Carol with shepherds, wise men, Herod, and angels. SAC and piano
Two Poems by Robert Burns 5 minutes From New Lovelife Dances, with piano accompaniment reduced from 4 hands to 2 hands. "A Red, Red Rose" and "John Anderson, My Jo".
Two Renaissance Poems 4 minutes Two of the Lovelife Dances, with piano accompaniment reduced from 4 hands to 2 hands, and paired for an effective expression of the earthy and sensual power of the English renaissance. Texts by Sir Philip Sidney (Who Is It That This Dark Night) and John Donne (You Lovers).
This Great Nation 4 minutes A large scale chorus from the story of Moses; a setting of one of Moses' clever rhetorical shifts: he praises the people of Israel for their wisdom and understanding, then reminds them to use that wisdom to follow the moral laws he has taught them and to teach their children to follow the laws.
Two English Satires 4 minutes A combined edition of Pentamic Iambeter and The Oubit, texts by Charles Kingsley and John Donne. Optional piano.
Weep, Weep Ye Woodmen 3 minutes An easy men's chorus. Setting of an anonymous poem from around 1598, attributed to Munday, and telling of the death of Robin Hood. TB, piano.
Why Hast Thou Dealt Ill With Thy Servant 3 minutes Moses seeking strength and perseverance and courage from God. Much unison, and very limited ranges, but effective and powerful. TTB, piano.
a cappella works
Agnus Dei 4 minutes SAB a cappella
Ave Maria 5 minutes SATB a cappella
Sea Songs 10 minutes Four a cappella songs of the sea: Sea Love, Sea Fever, Water, Water Everywhere, and A Wet Sheet and a Flowing Sea
Alleluia 5 minutes Grand a cappella chorus perfect for many occasions. Good concert closer. Innovative optional accompaniment provides tonal and rhythmic support without doubling modal notes (thirds of major triads, etc). A chorus can sing with pure tuning even while accompanied by an equal-temperament keyboard.
O Danny Boy 3 1/2 minutes Arrangement for mixed chorus of this sad but beautiful folk melody. Arranged to allow all voices to experience the joy of perfect intonation.
Sea Fever 3 1/2 minutes Setting of John Masefield's famous poem, "I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship, and a star to steer her by." School commission.
Young Jesu Sweet 3 minutes Setting of an archaic Christmas hymn by the Wedderburn brothers (16th century). Intended to be sung a cappella in just intonation.
Ave Regina Caelorum 4 3/4 minutes Latin text, chorus a cappella. Written, as with many other recent choral works by William Copper, to offer singers the opportunity to sing modern works in the pure tuning of just intonation. Same choral setting used with the orchestral or piano accompaniment.
Sea Love 1 1/2 minutes Setting of a poem Charlotte Mew, beginning "Tide be runnin' the great world over"; the other part of the School Commission.
The Love of a Soldier and a Marble Heart 5 minutes A pair of English Renaissance poems from New Lovelife Dances: "Ask Me No Reason" and "I Stood and Saw My Mistress Dance". Optional keyboard part.
Ask Me No Reason 3 minutes A letter from Sir John Falstaff to Mistress Page, from Shakespeare's comedy, The Merry Wives of Windsor. From New Lovelife Dances, and also published as part of "The Love of a Soldier and a Marble Heart".
O Magnum Mysterium 3 minutes The mystery and sacrament of Christmas. Traditional Latin text, renaissance polyphony with modern dissonant exultant ending. Newer version has orchestral or piano accompaniment.
Prelude XXII / The Two April Mornings 3 minutes Setting of a poem by William Wordsworth to a prelude by J. S. Bach from the Well-Tempered Clavier, with meaningless expressive syllables emphasizing and heightening the sad tale of a father's love for his dead daughter. The music can't be better and the poem is marvelous. The result of combining them??? Unusual, anyway, and a lot of fun to sing this kind of Bach.
Water, Water Everywhere 2 1/2 minutes From the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the sea farer becalmed in the doldrums. Third of the Sea Songs, opus 74, new fall 2002.
A Wet Sheet and a Flowing Sea 2 1/2 minutes Words from a Sea Chantey attributed to Allan Cunningham, the fourth and last Sea Song. New fall 2002.
The Grey Squirrel 2 minutes TTBB pre-World War I ironic poetry: the squirrel, who is "not all he should be", and the keeper, who is a Christian and loves his enemy, which shows the squirrel is not one of those.
Holy Holy 1 minute Brief lovely introit or postlude for children's chorus. Original text paraphrase of Sanctus translation. SA, a cappella
Sanctus 2 1/2 minutes Meditative Latin setting for men's chorus a cappella. Sustained lines, slow changing harmonies, and a celestial tenor melody on top. Alternate setting for choir of men and boys includes a part for cambiata (changing voice).
works for children's chorus
Come, Come All Ye Shepherds 3 minutes Christmas song Soprano, Alto, Cambiata with Piano
Young Orpheus 3 minutes An invocation of Orpheus by a child trying to bring a friend back to life. SA, strings or piano.
Lullaby for Christmas 3 minutes Beautiful original manger song with a twist, comparing the tears of the baby Jesus to the tears of Mother Mary at the cross. Available SSA or SATB, with piano, organ, or strings.
The Face of the Waters 3 minutes Taken from Genesis, where God "broods" over the face of the waters early in creation. Highly rhythmical setting for children's chorus, with some optional music for dance movements. SSA and piano.
Love the Lord 3 minutes Moving somber/sweet psalm paraphrase, "Love the Lord, who hath lifted my darkness...", leading to the dance of God's mercy and love. Vocal parts for children's chorus are challenging to sustain in music and rhythm but not difficult in range or pitch. SA, piano or string orchestra.
Holy Holy 1 minute Brief lovely introit or postlude for children's chorus. Original text paraphrase of Sanctus translation. SA, a cappella
works for men's chorus
Weep, Weep Ye Woodmen 3 minutes An easy men's chorus. Setting of an anonymous poem from around 1598, attributed to Munday, and telling of the death of Robin Hood. TB, piano.
Why Hast Thou Dealt Ill With Thy Servant 3 minutes Moses seeking strength and perseverance and courage from God. Much unison, and very limited ranges, but effective and powerful. TTB, piano.
Stay Yet Awhile 3 minutes TTBB. From Lovelife Dances, with piano accompaniment reduced from 4 hands to 2 hands. An excerpt from Shelley's Adonais, a slow dance of an elegy for a lost loved one.
Sanctus 2 1/2 minutes Meditative Latin setting for men's chorus a cappella. Sustained lines, slow changing harmonies, and a celestial tenor melody on top. Alternate setting for choir of men and boys includes a part for cambiata (changing voice).
works for women's chorus
Oh No, We Never Mention Him/Her 3 minutes SSA, piano. From New Lovelife Dances. May be sung as "Never Mention Him" or "Never Mention Her", depending on the focus of your chorus or concert, and on how you choose to interpret the phrase, "gayest of the gay". Text by early 19th century poet Thomas Haynes Bayley.
O, Swallow, Swallow 2 1/2 minutes SSA One of the loveliest of the Lovelife Dances. The only setting for female voices alone, with piano 4 hand accompaniment reduced to piano 2 hands.
Two Lovers 3 1/2 minutes SA, piano 4 hands. From New Lovelife Dances. Novelist poetry by 19th century writer George Elliot (pen name for Marian Evans), following a pair from first love to final re-assertion of love.
America, One and Many 3 minutes Patriotic song, original words. Strong melody sounds as though it should be part of our heritage, but it is entirely original and strikingly unique. Available SSA, SATB, and SSAATBB.

Choral works in difficulty order, Grade 1-6.
Work Type, Accompaniment Duration
Grade 1 - 2
Pie Jesu Unison Treble with Soloist, Piano or Organ 2 minute
Holy Holy SA (Children) a cappella 1 minute
Come, Come All Ye Shepherds SAC (Children) or SATB, piano 3 minutes
Grade 2
Young Jesu Sweet SATB a cappella 2 1/2 minutes
America, One and Many SATB, piano (orchestra, string orchestra, concert band) 3 minutes
Young Orpheus SA strings or piano 3 minutes
Songs from the Book of Knowledge, Volume 1 SA, piano 15 minutes
Grade 3
The Animal Fair SATB piano 3 minutes
Birds SATB, piano optional 3 minutes
Confession SATB organ 2 minutes
Join Me in the Jumping SATB or SSA, strings 2 1/2 minutes
The Oubit SATB, piano 3 minutes
Sea Fever SATB, a cappella 3 1/2 minutes
A Wet Sheet and a Flowing Sea SATB, a cappella 2 1/2 minutes
Grade 4
Sea Love SATB, a cappella 1 1/2 minutes
Water, Water Everywhere SATB, a cappella 2 1/2 minutes
Lullaby for Christmas SSA or SATB, strings, keyboard, or a cappella 3 minutes
Soft, Oh Soft SATB or SSA 3 minutes
Goe and Catch a Falling Starre SATB, piano 3 minutes
Two English Satires SA, piano optional 4 minutes
The Grey Squirrel TTBB, a cappella 2 minutes
Weep, Weep Ye Woodmen TB, piano 3 minutes
Blessed the Gift SATB, organ 3.5 minutes
Communion for the New Covenant SATB + S, organ 3-4 minutes
Why Hast Thou Dealt Ill With Thy Servant TTB, piano 3 minutes
Love the Lord SA, strings or piano 3 minutes
O Magnum Mysterium SATB, a cappella 3 minutes
Flow Forth, Abundant Tears SSAB or SATB, piano 3 minutes
This Great Nation SATB, piano 4 minutes
O Swallow, Swallow SSA, piano 3 minutes
Sanctus TTBB +T or SCTBB, a cappella 2 1/2 minutes
Lovelife Dances SATB, piano 4-hands 25 minutes
Grade 5
And the Lord Delivered Him SATB, piano 2 minutes
The Lizard Call SATB, piano optional 2 1/2 minutes
I Can See the Lord SATB + S, piano 4 minutes
I Arise from Dreams of Thee SSATB, a cappella 3 minutes
Sing for the Morning's Joy (Hymn to St Cecilia) SATB, organ or a cappella 3 minutes
Moses Facing Jordan SATB + TB, orchestra or keyboard reduction 60 minutes
Stabat Mater SATB, chamber orchestra or keyboard reduction 8 minutes
Two Lovers and Oh No SA/SSA, piano 6 minutes
English Romantic Poems SSA (#1), SATB (#2), piano 4 minutes
New Lovelife Dances SATB, piano 4-hands 28 minutes
Ask Me No Reason SATB, a cappella 3 minutes
It Was a Lover and a Lass SATB, piano 4 hands 4 minutes
The Love of a Soldier and a Marble Heart SATB, piano optional 5 minutes
O My Luve's Like a Red, Red Rose SATB, piano 3 minutes
Prelude XXII / The Two April Mornings SATB, a cappella 3 minutes
Knights of Troubled Love SATB, piano 4 minutes
What Thou Seest When Thou Dost Wake SATB, piano 4 hands 2 minutes
Two Renaissance Poems SATB, piano 4 minutes
Grade 6
Two Poems by Robert Burns SATB, piano 5 minutes
Dinggedicht-Fugen (Three Rilke Fugues) SATB, piano 8 minutes


Highlights for those new to choral music composer William Copper.

Start with these works if you do not know them yet:

Young Jesu Sweet (3', a cappella, just intonation)

The Oubit by William Copper (3', not difficult, SATB and piano)

or Lovelife Dances by William Copper (25', moderately difficult, SATB + piano 4 hands)

Then try the Sea Songs. For more ambitious exposure, try Stabat Mater for Chorus and Orchestra.

For women's chorus, try O Swallow, Swallow one of the English Romantic Poems (taken from Lovelife Dances).

For the truly adventurous, commission a new work, or inquire about sponsoring a work already begun but not yet completed! A few more specific suggestions follow.

For a college chorus: Lovelife Dances, New Lovelife Dances, Sea Songs, Ask Me No Reason, Prelude XXII, Two Poems by Robert Burns, It Was a Lover and a Lass, Two Renaissance Poems.

For a high school chorus: The Oubit, Goe and Catche a Falling Starre, Piano, Flow Forth Abundant Tears, Knights of Troubled Love.

For a community chorus: Young Jesu Sweet, Lovelife Dances, Ask Me No Reason, It Was a Lover and a Lass, New Lovelife Dances, Magnificat.

For a church choir: Magnificat, Stabat Mater, Alleluia, Communion for a New Covenant, Blessed the Gift.


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