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"The choral music of David Brunner resonates with imagination, lyricism and vitality.  He is America's next Ned Rorem."

Doreen Rao
Director of Choral Programmes
University of Toronto 

 

MUSIC FOR MIXED CHOIRS

A Divine Voice Sings Through All Creation 
Boosey & Hawkes 48005179 (2004)
Commissioned by the Music Ministry of First United Methodist Church, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in memory of our friend and fellow choir member, Robert Colegrove Meacham, Jr., 1947-1000
 
Voicing: SATB chorus with organ.  Orchestral version by Ron Ellis.  Full score and parts
     available on rental from the composer.
Text:  Jewish prayer
Duration: c. 3'
First Performance:  First United Methodist Church, Oak Ridge, Tennessee,
     David Brunner, conductor, September 15, 2002

The commissioning of David Brunner to write a piece in memory of a fellow choir member was a great experience for the First United Methodist Church Chancel Adult Choir of Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  David's suggested text and the way that he chose to set it was superb!  he was sensitive in the creative ways that he used the voices with the aggressive organ accompaniment.  The work was enthusiastically received by the choir from the very first rehearsal and was made even more special by a visit from the composer himself, who conducted the premiere.  David's eagerness to learn of the choir's strengths, the church's acoustics, the organist's ability along with the organ's registration possibilities greatly assisted him in creating a work that is destined to make its mark in the world of church choral music.

Tim Ward, Director of Music
First United Methodist Church

The impetus of a new composition may come from many places and for a variety of reasons.  The genesis of this piece was a person and the high regard in which he was held by his friends and colleagues.  Robert Colegrove Meacham, Jr. was a member of the Chancel Choir of First United Methodist Church of Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  I did not know him.  I do know, however, that he loved to sing.

When first encountering this text I knew it was the right one.  It speaks of music, of wonder, of praise, of celebration, of thankfulness -- all the things I suspected his friends might like to express.  I was particularly drawn to the words "A divine voice sings through all creation" and wonder if they refer to the creator's voice or Robert's.

A Hymn to God the Father 

(fromThree Sonnets of John Donne)
Boosey & Hawkes 48004611 (1996)
For the Schola Cantorum of Florida, Jeff W. Reynolds, conductor
 
Voicing: SATB divisi chorus a cappella
Text: John Donne (1572-1631)
Duration: c. 2'20"
First Performance:  The Schola Cantorum of Florida, Jeff W. Reynolds, conductor,
     The King Center for the Performing Arts, Melbourne, Florida, June 1992

These pieces, part of Doreen Rao's Conductor's Choice series, go far in achieving a goal of that series: "education through artistry."  The seventeenth-century metaphysical poetry of John Donne evokes a sensitive musical response from David Brunner, who states that the three settings should be "performed together without pause."

The first selection begins with a chant-like opening given to baritone solo and divided bases in canon.  The other parts also divide briefly throughout this piece.  The central portion of the work is built on sequential repetition of five-note melodic cells, creating a haunting build to a climax in which the bass voice emerges with a powerful melody.  A choir with good control of intonation and vibrato would serve this music well.  The baritone solo part is not difficult but requires a solid f1.

"A Hymn to God the Father" uses the chanted phrase "God my Father" in varying tempos and repetitions to create a pedal-point or drone under a simple, flowing chant line.  The soft dynamics and low tessituras (tenors and sopranos will need reinforcement from lower parts) create a mod of prayerful mystery.  This piece would be most effective in a cathedral acoustic.  At approximately five and one-half minutes, the third setting is the longest and most challenging of the set.  The descriptive poetry of the last judgement summons a musical response that begins with voices imitating trumpet calls.  Each part is required to negotiate a quick, octave leap on the word "blow". The modal writing and effective use of major and minor seconds instills a tension throughout the work that is not resolved until the final "amen" chord.  The only problematic range is that of the bass part, which calls for some Ds and Es, as well as a final C.  These could be sung an octave higher and should not detract from the use of this fine work by college ensembles or competent church choirs.

The Choral Journal

David Brunner's music is a voice easily distinguished from the crowd.  Based on richly poignant texts, his inventive harmonies, fresh melodies and keen sense of structure make David's music immediately endearing.  I have had the doubly distinct privilege of both commissioning Three John Donne Sonnets, We Are the Music Makers and the SATB version of O Music, and of recording the compact disc We Are The Music Makers: The Choral Music of David Brunner.  From these collaborations, I can attest that David is among the preeminent compositional voices of the latter half of our century.  David's music has the uncanny ability to soothe, excite, challenge, endear, and spiritually move both listener and performer.  It is, without exception, the quintessential music of our time for the voice.

Jeff W. Reynolds, Music Director
International Cathedral Music Festival

The writings of John Donne are expressions of one man's wrestling with human nature, illness, pain, doubt, faith, trust and hope.  The texts of movements one and three are taken from the Holy Sonnets of 1609-10.  The second movement's text was written during Donne's illness of 1623.  All of this English metaphysical poetry's words are highly imaginative, evocative, personal and heartfelt.  The Three Sonnets of John Donne are intended to be performed together without pause.

A Living Song
Boosey & Hawkes 48019360 (2006)
In celebration of the 20h Anniversary of the Choral Music Experience Institute for Choral Teacher Education, York, England 2006, and Doreen Rao, good friend, Founder and Artistic Director
 
Voicing: SATB chorus with piano.  Chamber orchestra version full score and parts
     available from the publisher 48019360.
Text: Joseph Freiherr von Eichendrorff (1788-1857) and a 19th c. rattle fragment
     from the Northwest Canadian Coast
Duration: c. 3’
First Performance: The Children's Chorus of San Antonio, Marguerite McCormick, conductor,
     York, England, August 3, 2006; Orchestral version, the New Millennium Festival,
     Doreen Rao, conductor, York, England, August 4, 2006.


Kazuaki Tanahashi's performance painting on "A Living Song"
York, England, August 2006

This piece grew out of my love and admiration for Doreen Rao and what she has created with the CME Institute and series of publications through Boosey & Hawkes.  Our friendship stretches back over twenty-five years and I have learned much from her about music and life, passion, authenticity and conviction, contemplation and reflection.  This is a fitting gift for the 20th anniversary of the CME Institute.

My admiration extends to Marguerite McCormick and the Children's Chorus of San Antonio, who premiered this piece at the 2006 Institute in York, England, and with whom I have collaborated on a number of happy occasions.  I thank them for their joyful music-making.

In addition, I have loved the text for which this piece is named and which was given to me some years ago by Doreen.  It is a vision song found on a 19th century rattle fragment from the Northwest Canadian coast which was sung to a woman when she was sick: she then used it to cure others.  I have wanted to set this for a long while and it was upon finding the additional poem of Joseph Freiherr von Eichendrorff that I sensed a natural connection between the two.  The occasion of the CME anniversary and the long-held wish of Doreen and I to write an "anthem" of sorts for a wide community of singers converged as the perfect opportunity for this piece.

 

A Music in the Air
TBA (2016)
Commissioned by the Bloomsburg University Choirs in loving memory of
Eileen Murphy Hower

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text: Wendell Berry
Duration: c. 3'30"
First Performance: 

A Timbered Choir
Walton Music TBA
Commissioned for the singers of Exsultate!, Venice's Chorale, Stephen D. Johns, Artistic Director, Venice, Florida

Voicing: SATB divisi chorus with piano
Text: Wendell Berry
Duration: c. 4'30"
First Performance:  Exsultate!, Stephen Johns, conductor, Venice, Florida, April 14, 2013

"Performing Dr. David Brunner's music is a spiritual experience.  AMEN!" 
“Dr. Brunner’s music sings itself.”
“Brunner wraps music around poetry with gentle sensitivity”

                                                                                        Singers' comments about the premiere.


After the Fire

Boosey & Hawkes 48004615 (1996)
For the University of Central Florida Chorus
 
Voicing: SATB chorus a cappella
Text: Sandra Chapman
Duration: c. 5'
First Performance:  The University of Central Florida Chorus, David Brunner,
     conductor, Orlando, Florida, April 1993

After the Fire was written on an original text by music educator and poet Sandra Chapman.  The repetitious, agitate nature of the words is echoed in insistent, rhythmic, whirling musical figures, which lead to a close of optimism and hope.

All My Trials
Somerset Press SP 778 (1985)
 
Voicing: SATB divisi chorus a cappella
Text: Bahamian  Spiritual
Duration: c. 3'

 A lush setting of this well-known and popular spiritual.  Easily sung and effective.

All Thy Gifts of Love
Boosey & Hawkes 48020618 (2009)
Commissioned by the Charlotte Latin School Music Department and dedicated to the Middle and Upper School Choral Departments, Mrs. Irene Pointon and Mr. Craig Estep, Conductors
 

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text: Hunger Fund Committee, Diocese of Huron
     with additional verses by the composer
Duration: c. 3'10"
First Performance: 

See listing under Treble Choirs for annotation.

Amazing Grace
Boosey & Hawkes 48005147 (2004)
Commissioned by The Scottish Arts Council for The Stewarton Academy Choral Project, Mandy Miller, Director
 
Voicing: SATB and treble choruses with piano and flute
Text: John Newton (1725-1807)
Duration: c. 5'
First Performance: 18 June 2002, Glasgow, Scotland, Mandy Miller, conductor

See listing under Treble Choirs for annotation.

The Apple Tree
Boosey & Hawkes 48023940
J. W. Pepper Editor's Choice

Voicing:  SATB chorus with piano
Text: Anonymous, 18th century
Duration: c. 3'25"
First Performance:  The University of Central Florida Chamber Singers, David L. Brunner, conductor, St. James Cathedral, Orlando, FL, December 3, 2015 

At the Round Earth's Imagined Corners
(from Three Sonnets of John Donne)
Boosey & Hawkes 48004612 (1996)
For the Schola Cantorum of Florida, Jeff W. Reynolds, conductor

Voicing: SATB divisi chorus a cappella
Text: John Donne (1572-1631)
Duration: c. 5'30"
First Performance:  The Schola Cantorum of Florida, Jeff W. Reynolds, conductor,
     The King Center for the Performing Arts, Melbourne, Florida, June 1992

See listing under "A Hymn to God the Father" for annotation.

Batter My Heart, Three Personed God
(from Three Sonnets of John Donne)
Boosey & Hawkes 48004610 (1996)
For the Schola Cantorum of Florida, Jeff W. Reynolds, Director

Voicing: SATB divisi chorus a cappella
Text: John Donne (1572-1631)
Duration: c. 3'30"
First Performance:  The Schola Cantorum of Florida, Jeff W. Reynolds, conductor,
     The King Center for the Performing Arts, Melbourne, Florida, June 1992

See listing under "A Hymn to God the Father" for annotation

Benedicto
Boosey & Hawkes (TBA)
Commissioned by The Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS) for the International Honor Band and Choir Festival 2006, Waterloo, Belgium
 
Voicing: SATB chorus with symphonic wind ensemble
Text: Edward Abbey (1927-1989)
Duration: c. 10'
First Performance:  International Honor Band and Choir Festival, David L. Brunner,
     conductor, Waterloo, Belgium, March 18, 2006

Benedicto is a dramatic, ten minute work, on an evocative text by environmentalist Edward Abbey.  We tend to think of a Benediction as a blessing of good things.  This text, however, begins with the words "May your trails be crooked, winding, dangerous..."  The journey continues through pastoral valleys, temples, castles, poet's towers, mysterious swamps, deserts of red rock and grottos of endless stone, "and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm".  The destination, however, is "where something strange and beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you".  The orchestration is colorful and features an extended percussion section.  This is an important contribution to the band and chorus literature.

Blest By Everything
Boosey & Hawkes 48019690 (2008)
For The Florida Voices in celebration of their 10th Anniversary
 
Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text: William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
Duration: c. 3'
First Performance:  the Florida Voices, David L. Brunner, conductor, Holley Hall,
     Sarasota, Florida, February 19, 2006

This commission celebrates the tenth anniversary of The Florida Voices in Sarasota, Florida, long time friends and colleagues.  The occasion of a milestone anniversary seems to be a fitting occasion for reflection and gratefulness.

The text speaks of gratitude and contentedness, and also of self-acceptance, the ability to look at our past and present actions and thoughts and forgive ourselves for all of them.  When we let go of remorse, a great sweetness flows into our inner being and we are freed to laugh and sing.  There's a sense of release, of letting go, in the awareness that all things bring blessing.  This seemed an appropriate text for The Florida Voices' journey, the completion of a decade together, and the anticipation of future years of laughter and singing."We must laugh and we must sing.  We are blest by everything". 

Brainstorm
Boosey & Hawkes 48022971 (2013)

Commissioned for the
Mississippi ACDA All-State Honor Choir

Voicing: SATB divisi chorus with piano
Text: Scott Lounsbury
Duration: c. 3'08"
First Performance:  Mississippi ACDA All-State Honor Choir, David Brunner, conductor

As Mississippi ACDA All State chair, I was delighted when David Brunner agreed to be our conductor for 2013.  I immediately commissioned a work by him that he would premiere with the 28th annual All State.  Using a poem by Scott Lounsbury, called “Brainstorm,” David put the notes and rhythms to make an imagery of developing thoughts and ideas in our minds.  The combination of his exciting music with the text is brilliant.  The piano accompaniment magnifies the intent feeling of thoughts going in and out of our minds.  The performance of the All State singing this piece was spectacular!  The audience’s response to this piece was moving and ended with a standing ovation.  The joy felt by the singers with the opportunity of a premier work under the direction of the composer was seen very vividly on their faces.  “Brainstorm” is a wonderful addition to the repertoire of such a talented composer and conductor. It is definitely a piece full of excitement to be enjoyed by singers and audience.

                                                                                                                               Donna McCommon
                                                                                            Mississippi ACDA All State Honor Choir

I take delight in Scott Lounsbury’s poems, so turned to him with a request for this commission for the 2013 Mississippi ACDA All-State Honor Choir.  I wanted something about creativity and in a few short days he delivered Brainstorm – a tour de force of whirling images, imaginative turns of phrase and a rhythmic insistency that doesn’t stop.  Everything I wanted!  On first reading, bits of rhythm suggested themselves and I rushed to scribble them down.  There’s an angularity about this, an urgency, a playfulness, an electricity, a propulsion (though steady, without rushing). The piano accompaniment is vital, mostly dry except where pedaling is indicated and then specific with regard to clarity of release.  The singing should be energized, full of vibrancy, with excruciatingly clear diction and a vocal enthusiasm for the way these words roll off the tongue.


Cantate Domino

Boosey & Hawkes 48005030 (2002)
For Betty Mullett with appreciation and thanks from the students and parents of the Riverview High School Chorus
 
Voicing: SATB chorus and piano.  Brass and timpani version set of parts #48020640.
     Orchestral version by Ron Ellis.  Full score and parts available on rental from the composer.
Text: Psalm 95 (96):1-4
Duration: c. 3'25"
First Performance: Florida Ambassadors of Music European Concert Tour,
     David Brunner, conductor, June 2002

This festive and dance-like original composition is a celebration of song on the traditional text from Psalm 95.  Latin and English lyrics alternate through vibrant meter changes and leaping melodic lines, all within sensible vocal ranges and an eighth-note constant inner rhythm.  A tapestry of joyful sounds for more capable choirs.

J. W. Pepper & Sun, Inc.

"Singing a new song" happens each time we approach a new piece.  This setting of the familiar Cantate Domino text is full of rhythmic vitality, forward momentum and playful metrical surprises.

The Circles of Our Lives
Boosey & Hawkes 48023331

For the Symphonic Choir of Smoky Hill High School and director Mike Grant for performance at the 2010 Colorado Music Educators' Association Conference.

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano. Instrumental version full score and parts (fl, ob, cl, bsn,
     st qt and piano) and string orchestra version available on rental from the composer. 
Text: Wendell Berry (b. 1934)
Duration: c. 4'
First Performance:  The Symphonic Choir of Smoky Hill High School, Mike Grant,
     conductor, Colorado Music  Educators' Association Conference, January 2010.

     String orchestra version premiered at Carnegie Hall May 28, 2011, conducted by David
     Brunner.

See listing under Treble Choirs for annotation.

I first heard the treble version of The Circles of Our Lives at its premiere as the Raymond Brock Memorial Composition in Orlando, FL in 2000.  Three and a half years later, I had a hand in getting David to do the TTBB setting of the piece for the Turtle Creek Chorale of Dallas, and when my mixed choir was selected for the 2010 Colorado Music Educators Association conference, I convinced him of making a mixed chorus version for us to premiere at the event.

Working with David again was an immense pleasure, and I was so thrilled at how deftly he yet again transformed this beautiful piece into a new work.  The mixed setting offers some new lush harmonies, and like all of David’s re-voicings of earlier works, presents itself as virtually a new piece.  My choir absolutely loved singing and performing this piece, interpreting the text as their own personal journey in our choir program at Smoky Hill High School.  The recording on this page is from a very emotionally-charged performance, and the Senior members of the choir sang this piece as they were coming to realize that the circle of their ‘high school choir lives’ was coming to a close, and they are embarking on their next singing cycle as they move on to college.  The experience with this piece this year was one of the highlights of my teaching career, and something that I know my students will carry with them always!

Mike Grant           
Smoky Hill High School           
Aurora, CO          

My love for Wendell Berry's poetry dates back ten years when I chose this text for the 2000 ACDA Raymond W. Brock Commission for children's chorus.  Since then it has been rescored for four part men's chorus, premiered and recorded by the Turtle Creek Chorale, Timothy Seelig, conductor, and this mixed chorus version, which was suggested by Mike Grant and written for his choir, the Symphonic Choir of Smoky Hill High School in Aurora, Colorado.  It premiered in January 2010 at the Colorado Music Educators Association conference.

There is also an instrumental arrangement for solo winds, string quartet and piano, which was written for the Young Women's Chorus of Kentucky, Rob Paugh, director, and premiered by them at the Kentucky Music Educators association conference in Louisville in 2002.

I am touched by Berry's contemplative voice and the inspirational nature and reverence in each and every word, a profound sincerity and respect for the wonder of life and the circles that bring it round.

Cloth of Glory
Boosey & Hawkes 48019258 (2006)
Commissioned by the Zeta Tau chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota and the Mu Eta chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia at the University of Central Florida.  Dedicated to all those who rise from the ashes.

Voicing: SATB chorus, cello and piano. 
     String orchestra version also available on rental from the composer.
Text: Mike Harding
Duration: c. 5'
First Performance:  American Composer's Recital, David Brunner, conductor,
     Melissa Kraut, cello, Orlando, Florida, April 14, 2003.

It is not often that composers have the opportunity to write a piece for people they know well and who are part of their everyday lives.  When such opportunities arise, the collaboration is often special and serendipitous.  Such was the case when the sisters of the Zeta Tau chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota and the brothers of the Mu Eta chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia at the University of Central Florida asked me to write a new work for their American Composers concert in the spring of 2003.  These were my students, and soon to be collaborators and performers.  What a privilege and pleasure.

Their initial idea was to commission a piece to honor all those involved in and affected by the circumstances revolving around September 11th, all of us in one way or another.  They wanted a song of mending, of rising from the ashes.  This little poem from Mike Harding's A Little Book of Stained Glass seemed to me to reflect their sentiments.  Indirectly, yet in a powerful way, these few words speak of forging something new and beautiful and radiant out of bits of lead, molten sand and ash.  Out of the fire, the tribulation, shines the brittle, fragile cloth of glory.  There is an emotional progression from the somewhat austere beginning, through a sense of hopefulness and expectancy, and finally warmth and assurance as the glass "takes hold of the light".

The Dodger
Boosey & Hawkes 48004911 (2000)

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text: Campaign Song
Duration: c. 2'

SATB adaptation of solo song from Copland's Old American Songs for Boosey & Hawkes Copland 2000 Series.  Orchestral version parts available on rental from the publisher. 

E Pluribus Cantus
Boosey & Hawkes 48021223 (2012)
For singers of the Matiland Middle School, Winter Park High School, and University of Central Florida choirs, for their Virtual Choir Project, 2011
 
Voicing: SATB chorus with piano. 
Text: Scott Lounsbury
Duration: c. 2'25"
First Performance:  Maitland Middle School, Winter Park High School and University of
     Central Florida choirs, David L. Brunner, conductor, Winter Park High School,
     Winter Park, FL, December 14, 2011.

Watch Documentary

Watch Virtual Choir Video

 In the summer of 2011 my colleagues Lori Lovell at Maitland Middle School and Matthew Swope at Winter Park High School approached me with the idea that we should collaborate on a joint recording and performance project that would involve middle, high school and college singers in a virtual choir environment, similar to Eric Whitacre’s YouTube sensation of a year ago.  It would differ, however, in that it would be local and “vertical” in nature, embracing the youngest, emerging and mature singers.  What began as a casual conversation over coffee at Starbucks quickly took shape and form, when Tom Todia, the Course Director of Game Sound at Full Sail University (one of the premier art, music, and film schools in the word) came onboard to facilitate the software for recording and manipulating individual student audio and video.  We wanted a piece that was age and skill appropriate for the youngest singers, yet captured the imagination of the older ones, and a text that told the story of our project and was one that every singer could identify with.  It seemed that the best way for this to happen was to write a new piece!

I contacted my friend, musician and poet Scott Lounsbury in New Hampshire, to see if he had anything that might fit the unique nature of the project and two days later he delivered E Pluribus Cantus, a tremendous text about coming together from many places to form one voice, written just for us.  It took just another two days to compose.  Many happy circumstances converged with good friend Lynn Peghiny agreeing to play the piano track, former Winter Park High School student Gabe Gundacker launching a documentary video project about the collaboration, and plans for a combined live performance that would showcase the video release, and a session for the Florida Vocal Association at the state FMEA conference. 

This project captured the imaginations of our students, brought technology into our choral classrooms in a very real way, initiated partnership between the public schools, University of Central Florida and Full Sail University, and united younger and older singers of generation Y in a way they had not experienced before.  Communities ringing, each voice joined in singing.

The text of E Pluribus Cantus has a strong rhythm, bold architecture, and sturdy refrain.  The setting is quite syllabic, so care should be taken to shape the phrases with precise but expressive singing, emphasizing the heavy-light nature of the word stress.  The refrain is strong and firm.  The choral textures moves often from unison to parts, from a single voice to many.  There are some long phrases, and a number of possibilities with regard to breath marks and shaping the phrase.  Finding a tempo that allows the phrases to sing without feeling rushed, and at the same time managing the breath, is vital.

Scott Lounsbury has artfully captured what it feels like to be a singer in a chorus. 
E Pluribus Cantus
is an anthem to bands of empowered singers everywhere – from many, comes one song.

Eagle Poem
Boosey & Hawkes 48004881 (2002)
For the Singers of New Canaan Country School and their director Marsha Whitman
 
Voicing: SAB chorus with oboe and piano
Text: Joy Harjo
Duration: c. 3'20"
First Performance:  New Canaan Country School, New Canaan, Connecticut,
     David L. Brunner, conductor, May 26, 1999

There is no way to simply characterize David Brunner's music!  Each composition takes on a significantly different aspect, depending on the text...  His choice of texts is remarkable.  He is as comfortable with the poignant poem of a ten year old (Winter Changes) as he is with the sonnets of John Donne.  Brunner is clearly a significant contemporary American choral composer, and for both variety of texts and beauty of choral sound, he is unsurpassed.

Marsha Whitman
New Canaan Country School

This exquisite and evocative text by Joy Harjo is another of the Native American poems that have attracted me for the past few years.  It speaks of beauty, of openness, of movement, of knowledge, of reverence, of prayerfulness, of authenticity.  Our identity is with the eagle -- its circles of motion reflect the circles of our lives, the circles of our knowing.

Earthsongs
Boosey & Hawkes 48019685 (2009)

I The World is Full of Poetry
II In Safety and Bliss
III  We Join with the Earth and with Each Other


Voicing: SATB chorus with oboe and piano.  Orchestral version full score and
     parts on rental from the publisher.
Text: James Gates Percival; Buddhist from the Sutta Nipata; United National
     Environmental Sabbath Program
Duration: c. 9'
First Performance:   Carnegie Hall, New York, New York, David L. Brunner,
     conductor, March 25, 2007

See listing under Treble Choirs for annotation.

Kazuaki Tanahashi's performance painting on "The World Is Full Of Poetry"
York, England, August 2006 

For Spacious Skies
Boosey & Hawkes 48004713 (1997)
For the 1996 North Carolina Middle School All-State Chorus, David L. Brunner, conductor
 
Voicing: SATB chorus with piano.  Orchestral version by Ron Ellis. Full score and
     parts available on rental from the composer.
Original Tune:  Seldon Paul Short
Text: Katherine Lee Bates (1859-1929)
Duration: c. 4'
First Performance:   The North Carolina Middle School All-State Chorus, David L. Brunner,
     conductor, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, November 10, 1996;

     Orchestral premiere, The Young Singers Festival Chorus, David L. Brunner, conductor,
     Carnegie Hall, New York, New York, June 27, 1999

You and your piece made a great impact on North Carolina.  For Spacious Skies is a stunning piece, especially for patriotic occasions, and would bring the crowd to their fee.  It did in North Carolina!

Kathryn Sauls, Jr. High/Middle School Chairperson
North Carolina Music Educators Association

Dr. Brunner led the 1996 NC Middle School/Junior High Honors Chorus in an exciting and invigorating program. His selections were technically challenging as well as culturally diverse.  The commissioned piece, For Spacious Skies, was truly elegant with a rich and sumptuous piano accompaniment.  It was a rendition that stirred the senses, uplifted the soul and made you proud to be an American.

Treda Berry, Jr. High/Middle School Chairperson
North Carolina Music Educators Association

This sturdy setting of the text to America the Beautiful gives way to a tender rendition of the traditional turn, then combines both melodies before concluding with a powerful "from sea to shining sea".

J.W. Pepper & Son, Inc.

For Spacious Skies is a fresh arrangement of a familiar patriotic text.  The lovely new tune by Paul Short is a lyric and expansive melody, particularly well-suited for the voice, while the appearance of the original tune by Samuel Ward and the juxtaposition of the two in the final verse lends a feeling of familiarity.

Future Dream
Boosey & Hawkes (TBA)
In celebration of the 25th anniversary season of Cantate Carlisle and for their youth choir, Cantate Cum Spiritum!, Cheryl H. Parsons and DeLeigh Wilson, directors

Voicing: SATB and treble choruses with oboe and piano.  
Text: Scott Lounsbury
Duration: c. 3' 20"
First Performance:  Cantate Carlisle and Cantate Cum Spiritum, Cheryl H. Parsons, conductor, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, May 2 and 3, 2015

As a director, I value the time Dr. Brunner took to find the perfect text for our concert and then to set it so suitably to be the final piece on an already inspiring program.  Future Dream is a perfect pairing of inspirational text and uplifting music that totally engaged the audience, and the soaring melody, colorful harmonies, and nuances of tempo stayed with me for weeks afterward.  The piece is very accessible yet has much more depth, both musically and textually, than most pieces written with this in mind.  The juxtaposition of young and mature vocal qualities literally singing about a dream that can be shared by young and old alike deeply affected me on an emotional level when we finally put the piece together.... a real Norman Rockwell moment that I strive to create in our combined concerts.  I think the audience was attuned to this as well.

Cheryl H. Parsons, conductor  
Cantate Carlisle 

Grand is the Seen
Boosey & Hawkes 48020952 (2011)
 

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano.  Full orchestra version by Ron Ellis.  Full score and
     parts available on rental from the composer.
Text: Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
Duration: c. 4'
First Performance: National Festival Chorus and orchestra, David L. Brunner, conductor,
     Carnegie Hall, New York, New York, May 23, 2009

The words of American poet Walt Whitman are strong and sturdy, and have a majesty and nobility about them.  The grandness of the phrases "lasting time and space" and "the sky and stars" are awe inspiring, but grander still is "the unseen soul of me".  You will find similar strength and sturdiness in the music, bringing a feeling of fanfare and celebration, but also in contrast, moments of reflection and lyricism.  The textures are clear and uncluttered, allowing the voices to produce a ringing resonance.  Sing with full voice and display your own sense of nobility and majesty.

The original version, scored for men's chorus, was commissioned for the 150th anniversary of Koninkliijke Zangverenigning Nejmeegs Mannenkoor, Dion Ritten, conductor, in Nijmegen, the Netherlands' oldest city, and premiered on November 30, 2008.  This mixed chorus version was arranged for performance in Carnegie Hall and orchestrated by Ron Ellis.  David Brunner conducted the premiere on May 23, 2009, with choirs from Florida, Arkansas and California.

High Flight
(TBA)

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text:  John Gillespie Magee, Jr. (1922 - 1941)
Duration: c. 5'
First Performance: 

Hold Fast Your Dreams
Boosey & Hawkes 48023656 (2016)

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text:  Louise Driscoll (1875-1957)
Duration: c. 2’20"

See listing under Treble version above for annotation.

I Am in Need of Music
Boosey & Hawkes 48019254 (2006)
Dedicated to the memory of David Nott, Director of Choral Activities, Illinois Wesleyan University, 1964-1995
J. W. Pepper Editor's Choice
 
Voicing: SATB chorus with piano.  Chamber orchestra version full score and
     parts available from the publisher 48019973
Text: Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979) Sonnet
Duration: c. 4'
First Performance:   Illinois Wesleyan University Collegiate Choir, J. Scott Ferguson,
     conductor, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois, April 9, 2006

Watch Video

Watch Peformance Video of Orchestra Version

I Am in Need of Music was written as a memorial to David Nott, long-time director of choral activities at Illinois Wesleyan University.  In honoring Nott, Brunner, one of David's former students, has written a lush, lyrical setting of a poem by Elizabeth Bishop that will appeal to a wide audience.  The text speaks eloquently of the power of music to soothe and comfort, and Brunner's setting matches the eloquence of the words with delicate, sensitive gestures and effective word painting.

J. Scott Ferguson, Director of Choral Activities
Illinois Wesleyan University

An extremely sensitive setting of an extraordinarily beautiful poem.  This is the sort of piece that speaks directly to the heart of the singer and the listener.

David C. Rayl, Director of Choral Programs
Michigan State University

I was a student of David Nott at Illinois Wesleyan University, so when asked to write a work in his memory, it was both an honor and humbling experience.  i remember him as a very tall man with a profound bass voice, an elegant conducting technique, a quick wit, and an engaging manner as a conductor and performer.  He was an inspiration for me.

This was not an easy piece to write, as I wanted it to be so many things to so many people.  i felt I was writing it for him, for his wife Anne, his children, the Collegiate Choir, for us -- his former students -- and for the singers in all our choirs who didn't know him, but may be touched in some way by this music.  The process started -- and stopped -- many times.  In the end I wrote music that is reflective, lush and lyrical, with the text always foremost.

I have been attracted to Elizabeth Bishop's Sonnet for some time.  Each phrase seems to sing itself off the page:  "I am in need of music that would flow over my fretful, feeling finger-tips"; "O for the healing swaying, old and low, of some song, sung to rest the tired dead"; "There is a magic made by melody"; "Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep".  These seem appropriate words for David Nott, his family, and the extended community of his former students.

I Dream A World
Boosey & Hawkes 48023334 (2015)
Commissioned by the Trouveres of All Saints Church, Pasadena, California, Stephanie Mowery, Director
J. W. Pepper Editor's Choice 

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano 
Text:  Langston Hughes (1902-1967)
Duration: c. 4'
First Performance:  The Trouveres of All Saints Church, Stephanie Mowery, Director, 
     Pasadena, California, April 20, 2008

Of Such I Dream is a beautifully crafted setting of the Langston Hughes poem I Dream A World.  Commissioned by the Middle School and Mixed Ensemble Trouveres of All Saints Church on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of All Saints, Pasadena, California, the youth were immediately engaged by David's gift for writing soaring melodies and rich textures wedded to a profound text.  David's interaction with our young singers at the premiere was inspiring and a highlight of our choir season.  This piece is a wonderful and very successful addition to David's repertoire for Middle School and High School singers.

                                                                         Stephanie Mowery
                                                                         Director of Children's and Youth Choirs
                                                                         All Saints Church, Pasadena, California

I See the Universe
Boosey & Hawkes 48004802 (1999)
For the Traverse City East Junior High Symphonic Chorus, Wendee Wolf-Schlarf, conductor
 
Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text: High Eagle, Osage/Cherokee Tribes
Duration: c. 2'05"
First Performance:   The Traverse City East Junior High Symphonic Chorus, 
     David L. Brunner, guest conductor, Traverse City, Michigan, March 15, 1998


When I started the commissioning projects at EJH, my goal was to have my students work with composers who also understood the artistry of making good choral music.  Your music and teaching allowed that goal to be met.

Wendee Wolf-Schlarf, Director
Traverse City East Junior High School Choirs

An Osage/Cherokee text is plaintively set to flowing piano lines, haunting, angular melodies and warm harmonies in this captivating original work.  An excellent choice for concert or festival activity.

J. W. Pepper & Son, Inc.

The words of High Eagle speak of our connection to those things bigger than us.  The sun is our father; our warmth, our strength, our lineage.  The moon is our grandmother; our keeper, our nightlight.  She makes us feel safe.  The stars are our friends.  They feel familiar and comfortable.  I see everything around me.  All the wonder and vastness of the universe reside in me and I in it.  "Look -- I see the universe.  I see myself."

If I Can Help Somebody
Boosey & Hawkes 48020821 (2010)
 

Voicing: SATB chorus with soprano solo and piano
Text and melody:  Alma Bazel Androzzo
Duration: c. 4'
First Performance:  University of Central Florida Chorus, Joanne Stephenson, soloist,
     David L. Brunner, conductor, Spirit of the Child concert, First United Methodist Church,
     Winter Park, Florida, November 6, 2008

This arrangement pays homage to the gospel tradition and is accessible to high school, college, church and community choruses.  It was written for the choirs of the University of Central Florida, as the final piece on their benefit concert for the Children's Home Society of Central Florida.  The Spirit of the Child, featured Rupert Lang's powerful work of the same name, about the plight of the lost boys of the Sudan, and other music honoring disenfranchised children worldwide.

In Celebration
Shawnee Press #A-1460 (1978)  (P.O.P.)

Voicing:  SSATB chorus a cappella
Text: Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
Duration: c. 2'45"

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In the Beauty Way
Boosey & Hawkes 48004783 (1999)
For Doreen Rao and the 1997 Choral Music Experience Teacher Training Institute


Voicing: SATB chorus and treble voices with piano
Text: Leo Platero
Duration: c. 6’
First Performance: CME Institute Chorus, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois,
     Doreen Rao, conductor, August 1, 1997.

In this meditative and strikingly beautiful setting, a Navajo prayer is featured with SATB voices and a smaller group of treble voices.  The text is predominantly English, but the use of the Navajo language in a hushed whisper is particularly compelling.  The prayer is "That we your children might sing in the beauty way". Gorgeous!

J. W. Pepper & Son, Inc.

In the Beauty Way was written for a community of singers, both children and adults.  The music reflects a Native American influence, though it does not employ authentic native musical elements, as such.   A simple, heartfelt text is set in repetitive, chant-like phrases, uncluttered textures, an intoned Navajo prayer, and a soaring melody in the children's voices.  To be "in beauty" or "in the beauty way" suggests a place of grace, of grounding, of unity and community.  Let your voice soar!


Jubilate Deo

Boosey & Hawkes 48004848 (1999)
Commissioned bythe Kentucky chapter of the American Choral Directors Association for the Kentucky 1998 Fall Convention All-State 5th and 6th grade Elementary Choir and MS/JH SSA and SATB choirs


Voicing: SA(T)B chorus with brass and organ.  Brass parts available for purchase
     from the publisher 48001621.  Orchestral version by Ron Ellis.  Full score and
     orchestral version parts on rental from the composer.
Text:  Sacred Latin text
Duration: c. 3'10"
First Performance: The 1998 Kentucky All-State Choirs, David L. Brunner, conductor,
     Bowling Green, Kentucky, November 14, 1998; Orchestral version premiere by
     the Young Singers Festival Chorus, David L. Brunner, conductor, Carnegie Hall,
     New York, New York, June 28, 1999

David Brunner was a great composer to start our Kentucky ACDA commissioning journey.  Having our All-State students work with the composer as conductor brought the music to life!

Robert C. Paugh
KDCA R&S Chair for Jr. High/Middle School Choirs

David Brunner, an absolutely innovative composer and conductor!

Donna T. Barnett
KCDA R&S Chair for Children's Choirs

The Lake Isle of Innisfree
Boosey & Hawkes 48019990 (2009)
Commissioned for its 25th Anniversary by the Capital Districk Youth Chorale, Diane Warner, Founder and Director

Voicing:  SAB chorus with oboe and piano
Text:   William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
Duration: c. 3'45"
First Performance:   Capital District Youth Chorale, Diane Warner,
     conductor, May 18, 2008

William Butler Yeats was born in Dublin in 1865 and moved with his family to London when he was two years old.  For the next thirteen years the family vacationed at Lake Innisfree in County Sligo.  Yeats remembered these outings fondly and remarked that he often wished he could return there to live as Thoreau did at Walden Pond.

It seems of all his memories of Innisfree, the sounds of this idyllic, tranquil place were the most memorable and appear in his poem as the buzzing of bees, the singing of crickets, the gentle sounds of birds' wings and the lapping of water at the shore.

For all of us there may be recollections of places and times that resonate within us and can be revisited as vividly as though we were now there.  Even when standing on the grey pavements of the city, we hear the whisper of that place, deep in our heart, at our core.  Connect with your own remembrance of a special place.

The Little Horses
Boosey & Hawkes 48004943 (2000)

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text: Traditional Lullaby
Duration: c. 2'20"

SATB adaptation of solo song from Copland's Old American Songs for Boosey & Hawkes Copland 2000 Series.  Orchestral version parts available on rental from the publisher.

The Lord is a Great God
Boosey & Hawkes 48005149 (2004)
Commissioned to glorify God on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church, Tampa, Florida, Melissa Chivington, Director of Music Ministries, David E. Matthews, organist

 

Voicing:  SATB chorus with organ
Text:  Isaiah 43:1-3, Psalm 95:1-6
Duration: c. 4'
First Performance:   Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir, Melissa Chivington,
     conductor, November 10, 2002

Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church had the great honor and privilege to have David Brunner compose a commissioned anthem to commemorate the 75th anniversary of our church which was celebrated in November of 2002.  David's willingness to work with the goals we had for an anthem, his insight into the Biblical text we hoped could be used, and his wonderful sense of creativity that shows through in his musical style culminated into a wonderful celebratory anthem entitled "The Lord Is A Great God" -- one that I am sure will be a favorite for years to come.

Melissa Chivington, Director of Music
Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church
Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church in Tampa, Florida celebrated its 75th anniversary year in 2002.  They had much to be thankful for: the richness of their past, their recovery from an arson fire in recent years, and their optimism for the future.  The choice of texts was a mutual endeavor, the Isaiah text chosen, in part, for its reference to "passing through the fire and not being consumed by the flame".  The Psalm text reflects their joy at this milestone in their history.  The recurrence of the text "do not fear", with its related musical material, has been purposefully used as an architectural support, and a textual reassurance, as well.

Miraculous
For the Hardin Valley Academy Choral Department, Teresa Scoggins, director, in celebration of Hardin Valley Academy's 10th Anniversary Year 

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text:  Scott Lounsbury
Duration: c. 3'
First Performance:  Hardin Valley Academy hoir, Teresa Scoggins, director, Knoxville, TN, May 8, 2018

The Music Sings in Them
Boosey & Hawkes 48022583 (2012)
Commissioned by the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts as the second anthem in the Lloyd Pfautsch Memorial Anthem Series.  Premiered at the National Convocation in Orlando, Florida, July 14, 2009.

Voicing: SATB chorus with organ
Text:  Guillaume de Machaut (c. 1300 - 1377) and Charles Wesley (1708-1788)
Duration: c. 4'45"
First Performance:  National Convocation of the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts, Orlando, Florida, July 14, 2009.  First United Methodist Church of Orlando Chancel Choir, Bill Shortal, Director

The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts' 2009 convocation was held in Orlando, Florida.  For that occasion, the Fellowship commissioned this work, the second in the Lloyd Pfautsch Memorial Anthem Series.  Bill Shortal's Chancel Choir from First United Methodist Church in downtown Orlando sang the premiere.

The text comes from an unexpected source, the writings of Medieval composer Guillaume de Machaut (c. 1300 - 1377).  Originally in French, a single line of the English translation caught my imagination and was the inspiration for this work:  "For the saints can only sing when the music sings in them".  It seemed natural to lead from this statement directly into the sturdy, familiar words of Charles Wesley's "O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing", a well-known and often sung Methodist hymn.

Fanfare figures are prominent in both choir and organ and while robust, there is a lyricism inherent in the melodies.  Sing with "voices fine, voices strong and clear".

Musicks Empire
For the Exsultate! Chorale, Youth Chorale and Apprentices, Stephen D. Johns, Artistic Director, Venice, Florida

Voicing: SATB chorus with french horn and piano  
Text:  Andrew Marvel (1621-1679)
Duration: c. 4'
First Performance: The Exsultate! Chorale, Youth Chorale and Apprentices, Stephen D. Johns, Artistic Director, Venice, FL, April 12, 2015

I contacted David Brunner and asked for a composition for the final concert of the Exsultate Chorale season.  I asked him to provide connections to the mission of the Chorale and its educational outreach to the youth of our community and feature the student apprentice singers from Venice High School’s vocal program and the Exsultate Youth Chorus with singers from grade 4 through 8.  I also wanted a rousing grand finale with piano and French horn accompaniment, all to be performed on the stage of our new Performing Arts Center.

I was delighted with Dr. Brunner’s choice of Andrew Marvell’s Musicks Empire as a text to communicate all that I had asked for.  The opening fanfares are powerful and the mixed meter communicates the text clearly.  His setting of the words moves from energetic and powerful, to beautiful and contemplative.  The accompaniment is very well crafted and supportive of the voice parts and the section for children’s chorus adds a wonderful color to the fabric of the composition.  The singers fell in love with the piece right away!  David Brunner’s Musicks Empire was a grand finale indeed -- a powerful celebration of music for singers of all ages, our passion and our mission.

Stephen D. Johns, Artistic Director
Exsultate Chorale 

My Song
Boosey & Hawkes 48023352 (2015)
For the Syracuse Gay and Lesbian Chorus, Glenn Kime, conductor

Voicing: SATB chorus with violin and piano. 
Text:  Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)
Duration: c. 4'45"
First Performance: The Syracuse Gay and Lesbian Chorus, Glenn Kime, conductor, Syracuse, New York, December 2 and 3, 2011

The renowned Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore lived from 1861 to 1941 and was the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913.  His elegant verse was an inspiration for me and an appropriate tribute for the Syracuse Gay & Lesbian Chorus, which celebrated its 20th anniversary season in 2011-2012.  Conductor Glenn Kime conducted the premiere of My Song on December 2, 2011.

The verse is lyrical and the music melodically oriented, with a prominent violin obligato and rich harmonic language.  Mostly the text setting is syllabic and declamatory and, while the language should be clear, the singing style should be legato and flowing.

There is the opportunity for flexibility and rubato with regard to tempo and expression.  There should be an equality in the interplay of voices and solo violin, with the latter always heard above the thicker textures.

 
O Aula Nobilis
Boosey & Hawkes 48023459 (2015)
For the University of Tennessee Chamber Singers, Dr. Angela Batey, conductor, to celebrate the opening of the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center

Voicing: SATB chorus with two trumpets, horn, trombone and tuba
Text:  Latin
Duration: c. 4'
First Performance: University of Tennessee Chamber Singers, Angela Batey, conductor, September 2013

O Aula Nobilis is a festive work, composed for the opening of the Natalie L. Haslam music center at the University of Tennessee.  The UT Chamber Singers, conducted by Angela Batey, sang the first performance in the Haslam hall on September 12, 2013.  After the opening unaccompanied chant in the women’s voices, the music, though clearly based on the chant melody, takes on a highly rhythmic, asymmetrical and angular character, with a bright and resonant quality.  The brass quintet is supportive of the singers and interjects with bright fanfare passages and rhythmic punctuation.  Sing boldly, with strong articulation and percussive diction.

O Music
Boosey & Hawkes 48004551 (1995)
For the Brevard Community Chorus, Jeff W. Reynolds, conductor

Voicing: SATB chorus with cello and piano.  Orchestral version by Ron Ellis. 
     Full score and parts available on rental from the composer.
Text:  Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)
Duration: c. 4'
First Performance:   The Brevard Community Chorus, Jeff W. Reynolds, conductor,
     the King Center for the Performing Arts, Melbourne, Florida, November 15, 1994

An expressive work for chorus, cello and piano which is becoming a popular choice for regional festival lists.

J. W. Pepper & Son, Inc.

Kahlil Gibran's words reflect profoundly personal feelings of our experience with music.  Long-breathed phrases and broad, arching melodic contours and an achingly beautiful cello solo characterize this setting.

Ode to the Present and Future Days
Boosey & Hawkes (TBA)
For the International Cathedral Music Festival at Canterbury, Jeff W. Reynolds, conductor

Voicing: SATB chorus and mezzo soprano soloist with orchestra
Text:  Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)
Duration: c. 23'
First Performance:  The International Cathedral Music Festival Choir and Orchestra of
     St. Johns, Melanie Williams, soprano soloist, Jeff W. Reynolds, conductor, Canterbury
     Cathedral, Canterbury, and Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, England, July 2000

David's newest work for soprano soloist, chorus and orchestra, "Ode to the Present and Future Days", is his most glorious and imaginative to date.  Based on texts by Pablo Neruda, the music captures the very essence of the poet's admonishment to chase our dreams with abandon and to seek lives filled with beauty and purpose.  A macaronic work, David's Ode intertwines element of chant, soaring melodies for the chorus, a beautifully haunting cello solo, and reminiscences of cathedral bells from the orchestra.  Commissioned and premiered for the Millennium celebration of the International Cathedral Music Festival in Canterbury Cathedral, the work and its composer were received with great excitement by those who filled the church.  David has surpassed even his own previous mark with this one!

Jeff W. Reynolds, Music Director
International Cathedral Music Festival

Of The Father's Love Begotten
TBA
For the University of Central Florida choirs

Voicing: SATB chorus with organ and handbells
Text: Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, trans. J. M. Neale, Henry W. Baker (1851/1861)
Tune: Divinum Mysterium plainsong
Duration: c. 3'30"
First Performance:  The combined choirs of the University of Central Florida, David L. Brunner, conductor, St. James Cathedral, Orlando, FL, December 3, 2015

Of Thee I Sing (America)
Boosey & Hawkes 48005093 (2002)
For the 2002 Secondary All-County Choruses, Kanawha County, West Virginia

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text:  Samuel Francis Smith (1808-1895)
Duration: c. 3'20"
First Performance:  The combined High School and Junior High/Middle School All-County
     Choruses, David L. Brunner, conductor, Charleston, West Virginia, March 8, 2002

Few songs in the rich heritage of American patriotic music are as widely known and sung as America.  Here the words of Samuel Francis Smith are set to a new melody which is sturdy yet lyrical, fresh yet familiar.  Interspersed throughout are instrumental flourishes which lend strength and fanfare.  The final verse gives way to the traditional tun, but in duple time and with a new harmonization.  The effect is one of strength and solidity.

The Painted Book
Boosey & Hawkes 48004882 (2001)
Commissioned by the Venice High School Concert Choir, Stephen Johns, director

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano.  Orchestral version by Ron Ellis.  Full score and parts
     available from the composer.
Text:  late 15th c. after Nezahualcuyotl, Nahuatl, Texcoco
Duration: c. 4'10"
First Performance:  The Venice High School Concert Choir, David L. Brunner, conductor,
     Venice High School, Venice, Florida, May 1999

The harmony and voice leading in the composition were well within the capabilities of the group.  Students enjoyed exploring the beauty of the melody and the layering on of harmonies.  This composition quickly became a favorite of the singers.  Along with the pride they felt singing a piece written for them, they were very aware of the striking beauty of the music.  I have had the pleasure of performing and directing students in many of Dr. Brunner's compositions.  One thing that interests me about his compositions is the treatment of the text.  he very carefully crafts his music to the natural stress of each syllable.  His melodies seem to sing themselves.  The music and text of his pieces flow very nicely together and are quite beautiful.

Stephen Johns, Director
Venice High School Concert Choir

While the tradition, it seems, was oral, some writings took the form of paintings on vases, books, or screen folds.  Fewer than twenty of these "painted books" have survived from Meso America, and their exact reading remains a mystery.  The central image, however, is that of a life lived with some hope of meaning.  "Your heart is a book of paintings you have come to sing, to make your dreams resound.  You are the singer!"

The Peace of Wild Things
TBA
Commissioned for the singers of Exsultate!, Venice's Chorale, Stephen D. Johns, Artistic Director, Venice, Florida

Voicing: SATB divisi chorus with piano
Text: Wendell Berry
Duration: c. 3'25"
First Performance:  Exsultate!, Stephen Johns, conductor, Venice, Florida, April 14, 2013

 

Phoenix Song
TBA 
For the singers of the 2017 Orange County All-County Chorus and all of us affected by the Pulse nightclub tragedy on June 12, 2016

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text: Scott Lounsbury
Duration: c. 4'
First Performance:  


Psalm of Praise

Boosey & Hawkes 48019989 (2009)
Commissioned in honor of the 30th anniversary of the St. Louis Children's Choirs, Barbara Berner, Artistic Director

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text:  Psalm 104:1-3, 24, 31, 33
Duration: c. 3'
First Performance:  St. Louis Children's Choirs, Barbara Berner, Artistic Director,
     St. Louis, Missouri, May 18, 2008

Psalm of Praise is a wonderfully engaging sacred piece in an unexpected jazz style.  Our Chamber Singers and Alumni absolutely loved performing this composition!  The close harmonies and changing textures made it an intriguing and rewarding challenge for the choir.  This composition is a beautiful setting of Psalm 104 that includes the text "I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live:  I will sing praise to my God while I have my being".  Commissioned for the 30th Anniversary of The St. Louis Children's Choirs, it was a favorite of students and audiences alike!

Barbara Berner, Artistic Director
The St. Louis CHildren's Choirs

The melody of Psalm of Praise, as first presented, is reminiscent of a folk tun or early hymn tune, but soon takes on the characteristics of a more contemporary style.  There are some unexpected turns of harmony and the vocal scoring is tight, but not difficult for singers just beginning to explore jazz harmonies.  The ranges are comfortable and also appropriate for developing choirs.

I have long known and admired the young singers of the St. Louis Children's Choirs and their Artistic Director Barbara Berner, and before her, founder Ethelyn Sparfeld.  It was a pleasure to have contributed to the celebration of their 30th year with this piece.

Sea Fever
Walton Music 00116958 (2013)
Commissioned by the Wando High School Choir, Eric Wilkinson, director
J. W. Pepper Editor's Choice

Order directly from Walton Music.  Click here!

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text:  John Masefield (1878-1967)
Duration: c. 3'25"
First Performance: the Wando High School Choir, Eric Wilkinson, director, Carnegie Hall,
     New York, NY,  April 24, 2011


My friend Eric Wilkinson and his fantastic singers at Wando High School live in an area which has a close connection to the sea.  Charleston, South Carolina is a charming city that I’ve visited a number of times and I’m always aware of the air and atmosphere, the proximity of the water -- its sound and smell – and the city’s wonderful seafood.  When Eric suggested looking at texts that had to do with water and living near the water, this well-known poem of John Masefield came immediately to mind.  Texts like this are sometimes relegated to men’s choirs (sea chanteys and all), but I sense a more universal theme here of connection with place and sense of identity, of remembrance and longing for the freedom of the “vagrant gypsy life”.

There’s a rocking nature in the gently undulating melodic gestures and recurring rhythmic ideas that will inform your performance with regard to tempo, articulation, dynamic shading and expression.

Simple Boat
Boosey & Hawkes 48018989 (2005)
Commissioned by Weerter Gemengd Koor "VIVACE', Kammerkoor Cantate Venlo, Beeker Liedertafel and Chevremonts Mannerkoor 1912 Kerkrade, Dion Ritten, Artistic Director, in his 25th Anniversary as Conductor, for the Sierra Leone Project of War Child Netherlands
 
Voicing: SATB and treble choirs with piano.  Orchestral version by Ron Ellis. 
     Full score and parts available on rental from the composer.
Text:  Irish Fisherman's Prayer/The Way of the Bodhisattva
Duration: c. 7'15"
First Performance:  Weert Munttheater, Kerkrade Wijngrachttheater, Dion Ritten,
     conductor, October 1 and 2, 2004

See listing under Treble Choirs for annotation.

Simple Gifts
Boosey & Hawkes 48004944 (2000)

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text: Shaker Song
Duration: c. 1'10"

SATB adaptation of solo song from Copland's Old American Songs for Boosey & Hawkes Copland 2000 Series.  Orchestral version parts available on rental from the publisher.

The Singing Will Never Be Done
Boosey & Hawkes (TBA)
For the Orlando Children's Chorus and their directors Trey Jacobs and Carolyn Minear on their Fifth Anniversary
 
Voicing: SATB and treble choirs with piano
Text:  Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967)
Duration: c. 5'50"
First Performance:  The Orlando Children's Chorus, Trey Jacobs, conductor,
     Orlando, Florida, spring 2001

See listing under Treble Choirs for annotation.

Sleeping in the Forest
Boosey & Hawkes (TBA)
Commissioned by the New Orleans Children's Chorus, Cheryl Durand Dupont, director, in memory of Marcia Durand Caparotta

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text: Mary Oliver (b. 1935)
Duration: c. 4'30"
First Performance:  Crescent City High School Choral Festival, New Orleans,
     Louisiana, David L. Brunner, conductor, March 12, 2005

For many years Cheryl Dupont and I wanted to collaborate on a commissioned piece in memory of her sister, Marcia.  For the longest time, however, we couldn't find a text that was quite right, until this one.  I liked the tenderness and gentle rhythm of these words.  I liked the imagery of the earth "remembering me", tenderly taking me back, covering me with her dark skirts.  It somehow seemed an appropriate memorial and, at the same time, also gave me a sense of renewal and awakening, having vanished many times throughout my sleep into something better.  These words make me feel comforted, rested and refreshed.  I like what I imagine to be the feeling of sleeping "as never before", like a stone on the riverbed, nothing between me and everything else that is.

Throughout the piece, the phrase "I thought the earth remembered me, she took me back so tenderly" is used as a refrain.  Each time the words should feel familiar, a tender reassurance.  The singing should be gentle and expressive, full of breath and life.

Song of the Earth Spirit
Boosey & Hawkes 48005110 (2003)
For the Conard High School Solo Choir, Patty Donohoe, conductor

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text: Stephen C. Jett
Duration: c. 4'10"
First Performance:  Conard High School Solo Choir, West Hartford,
     Connecticut, David L. Brunner, conductor, May 2001

Every rehearsal was magic.  The students loved the harmonies and the text.  David flew in to premiere the work at our spring concert, the result of which was a very special evening for all of us.  The students had been prepared about the Navajo culture, and slides of native sand paintings and pottery encircled the walls of the auditorium, surrounding us in a sort of "womb" in which the music happened.  The students' reflection on the experience was unanimously positive.  Many had never felt such emotion when singing a choral work.  Thank you, David, for Song of the Earth Spirit!  It is always a pleasure to watch you work with young adults.

Patty Donohoe, Director of Choral Music
Conard High School, West Hartford, CT

The words of Stephen Jett resonate with respect for the earth and our personal connection with it.  The narrative is from the perspective of the Earth Spirit, but also resounds within us.  I have chosen the words "It is lovely indeed" as a recurring phrase in this litany that culminates on the text "All that belongs to the earth belongs to me".  This is a piece of warmth and sincerity.

Song of the Open Road
Boosey & Hawkes 48019533 (2007)
Commissioned for the combined choirs of Hall High School and King Philip Middle School in honor of Salle Ferrebee's dedication to the West Hartford Schools and the Connecticut Children's Chorus, 2006

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text: Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
Duration: c. 3'30"
First Performance:  King Philip Middle School Chorus, Sallie Ferrebee, conductor,
     and Hall High School Chorus, Lorri Cetto, conductor; David L. Brunner,
     guest conductor, West Hartford, Connecticut, February 13, 2006

Walt Whitman's poem, Song of the Open Road, seems suitable for Sallie Ferrebee's retirement -- "afoot and lighthearted", "healthy and free", "the world before me".  It's a special occasion for me when I'm asked to write a piece in honor of a person who I know and admire.  Such was the case when good friends Lorri Cetto and Sallie Ferrebee asked for a piece commemorating Sallie's retirement.  

I glimpsed her future somewhat this year, as I have been on a full-year sabbatical leave from teaching and so, have identified with Whitman's words:  "I inhale great draughts of air; The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine", "The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose".  This sense of freedom is reflected in the music's easy gait, its long-breathed lines and expansive melodies.

The community of middle and high school singers who premiered the piece were all touched by Sallie Ferrebee and her enthusiasm for children, teaching and life.  We wish her a great journey!

Song's Eternity
Boosey & Hawkes 48004737 (1998)
For the Park Forest Singers' 20th Anniversary, Dennis Northway, director

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text: John Clare (1793-1864)
Duration: c. 4'
First Performance:  The Park Forest Singers, David L. Brunner, guest conductor,
     Governors' State University, University Park, Illinois, June 15, 1997

A compelling text and gorgeous, stark accompaniment lines are featured in this choral work that speaks of the connection of all music from all lands, and from all centuries.

J. W. Pepper & Son, Inc.

John Clare's evocative words suggest the intriguing notion that songs live forever. 
"Songs once sung to Adam's ear thrive -- awakened with the spheres alive."  The poet further suggests that we have a connection with this eternity, that though temporal things pass away, these songs live in us today.  "The eternity of song liveth her, Nature's universal tongue singeth here.  Songs I've heard and felt and seen everywhere, Songs like the grass are evergreen, the giver said Live and Be and they have been for ever."

Songs of Faith
Boosey & Hawkes 48023475 
A gift from Carla Neeld for the Chancel Choir of St. Mark Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach, California, Richard Messenger, Director of Music, on the occasion of the church's 50th anniversary

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text: Thomas H. Troeger
Duration: c. 3'10"
First Performance: The Chancel Choir, St. Mark presbyterian Church, Richard Messenger, conductor, Newport Beach, California, December 2, 2012.

I was first attracted to David Brunner’s music when I discovered “O Music” for women’s chorus with its beautiful cello obbligato.  As my church prepared to celebrate its 50th anniversary, I was presented the opportunity to commission an anthem for the occasion and quickly contacted Dr. Brunner.  He enthusiastically chose a Thomas Troeger text from among several I offered to him and composed a piece that not only perfectly met the expectations I specified—it also captured and amplified the text in a beautiful and most appropriate setting.   My choir and I are very pleased with “Where New Songs of Faith Begin.”

                                                                                                    Richard Messenger
                                                                                                    Director of Music
                                                                                                    St. Mark's Presbyterian Church
                                                                                                    Newport Beach, California

Songs of Faith was commissioned as a gift from Carla Neeld to celebrate the 50th anniversary of St. Mark Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, California.  The Chancel Choir, under the direction of Richard Messenger, sang the first performance on December 2, 2012.  The text by Thomas H. Troeger, the J. Edward and Ruth Cox Lantz professor of Christian Communication in the Yale Divinity School, is his poem “Sing to God as Sings the Ocean".  His well-known poetry appears in the hymnals of most denominations.

Tuneful melodies of broad contours and long-breathed phrases characterize this setting.  A sense of rubato, particularly toward the end of most phrases, can expressively shape each phrase.  While the largely syllabic text setting lends itself to clear declamation of the words and sturdy singing, the lyrical nature of the phrase should always be apparent. Though scored for piano, the accompaniment could be adapted for organ with  equal effect.


Star Spangled Banner

Boosey & Hawkes 48005043 (2002)

Voicing: SATB chorus a cappella
Text: Francis Scott Key (1779-1843)
Duration: c. 1'30"

The words of our national anthem have taken on new significance for us after the events of September 11, 2001.  In some ways it seems we are hearing these words for the first time.  Listen with new ears.  Sing with a new heart.

sun, moon, stars, rain
Boosey & Hawkes 48020620 (2009)
Commissioned for the PMEA Region IV Chorus Festival, Lackawanna Trail High School, March 29, 2008, Jodi Rinehimer, Host Director

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text: e. e. cummings (1884-1962) everyone lived in a pretty how town
Duration: c. 3'05"
First Performance: Pennsylvania Music Educators Association Region IV Chorus Festival,
     Lackawanna Trail High School, Factoryville, Pennsylvania, David L. Brunner,
     guest conductor, March 29, 2008

I have always found E. E. Cummings' poetry intriguing and was particularly drawn to this curious, multi-stanza verse, returning to it many times before choosing it as the text for this composition.  As in all his poems, these words are subtle and enigmatic, with many double meanings.

The poem tells the story of "anyone" (you, I...) and the people of a superficial, humdrum "pretty how town" who lack a willingness for change.  The overall theme is one of isolation, the individual independent from the rest of society, and the societies' intolerance of anything -- or anyone -- different.

I love the rhythm of these words and the turn of phrase and have set them in a syllabic, narrative way, exactly as they appear in the poem, without repetition or elaboration.  The music has a sense of innocence, a sometimes playfulness, including the short melodic idea of what seems to be a children's play song.  There is nothing very dramatic about the music -- a carefree tunefulness, rather limited range and homophonic texture.  It simply tells the story without emotional implication or commentary.  Perhaps this detachment is indicative of the townspeople's emotional disconnect, as well?

The poem has a reflective and poignant tone, one that I see as an affirmation of individuality and a call for willingness to acknowledge and accept all who are "different" -- perhaps even us.

Sweet Melody
Boosey & Hawkes 48023476 (2015)
Commissioned by Celebration Community Chorus in memory of Paula Temple Patterson. Premiered in Celebration, FL, April 12, 2014, Kristopher Michael Schave, conductor.

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano.  
Text:  Bessie Rayner Parkes (1829 - 1925)
Duration: c. 3'35"
First Performance:  Celebration Community Chorus, Kristopher Schave, conductor, Celebration Community Church, Celebration, FL, April 12, 2014.

Commissioning Dr. Brunner to compose a memorial piece was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career and an exceptional growth opportunity for my community chorus. Dr. Brunner took great care to learn about the life of our Paula and the sentiments of her family and friends. He was very accommodating in the selection of text, providing me with numerous choices until we found just the right fit for the occasion. The first time I heard the finished composition I couldn't have been more pleased with the result. Dr. Brunner captured the grace of the text by crafting a beautifully moving melody and luscious harmonies designed to highlight the strengths of my chorus. His visit to one of our rehearsals provided my singers with an experience they still talk about months later. Dr. Brunner gave us insight into his composition process and worked with the singers to bring out their expressiveness. The piece was the highlight of our concert and was greeted with a standing ovation. Dr. Brunner created a lasting memorial for our Paula and a new staple in our standard repertoire. 

                                                                                                 Kristopher Schave, conductor
                                                                                       Celebration Community Chorus

This commission for the Celebration (FL) Community Chorus was initiated by their conductor (and my student) Kristopher Schave, in memory of Paul Temple Patterson, long-time member of the chorus and friend to the Celebration community. The text is by Bessie Rayner Parkes, poet, essayist and journalist, who was one of the most prominent English feminists and campaigner for women’s rights in Victorian times. For her, music is everywhere – in birds, flowers, winds and waves --  but mostly in earnest human voices raised in charity and for the cause of truth.  This “grateful incense” mingles together and floats, in one sacred chord, up to God.  The melodic phrases have gentle contours and the singing style is lyrical.

Swing Low Sweet Chariot
Boosey & Hawkes 48004493 (1994)

Voicing: SATB chorus a cappella
Text: Traditional Spiritual
Duration: c. 3'
First Performance:  The University of Central Florida Chorus, David L. Brunner, conductor,
     Orlando, Florida, April 1991

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This traditional spiritual is treated in an expressive, upbeat and playful manner in this arrangement.  It is rhythmically challenging -- a pervasive triplet feel with some interesting and unexpected twists.  The melody sometimes approximates improvisatory gestures, bent pitches, and blues and gospel figures.  It is especially appropriate for more experienced high school, church and college choirs, but would serve as an approachable challenge for those less familiar with the style, as well.

Then, Now, Forever
Boosey & Hawkes (TBA)
Commissioned by The Children's Chorus of San Antonio in loving memory of Bob McCormick, founding Tour Director

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text: Bill Worrell, Bob McCormick
Duration: c. 4'30"
First Performance:  Children's Chorus of San Antonio, Marguerite McCormick, conductor,
     San Antonio, Texas, May 1, 2005

See listing under Treble Choirs for annotation.

This is It!
(TBA)
For the 2013 North Dakota ACDA Middle School/Junior High Mixed Honor Choir

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text: James Broughton
Duration: c. 2'15"
First Performance:  North Dakota ACDA Middle School/Junior High Mixed Honor Choir, David Brunner, conductor, Grand Forks, ND, February 2, 2013


This We Know

Boosey & Hawkes 48004832 (1999)
Commissioned by the Winton Woods High School Concert Choir and Varsity Ensemble, Cincinnati, Ohio, David M. Bell and Robert M. Hartigan, conductors

Voicing: SATB chorus a cappella
Text: Chief Seattle
Duration: c. 4'
First Performance:  The Winton Woods High School Concert Choir and Varsity Ensemble,
     David M. Bell, conductor, Cincinnati, Ohio, May 1998

This We Know is thoughtful, earnest and subdued.  Hypnotic, perhaps.  The technical demands are not great, but musical and artistic sensitivity are paramount.  The text is a sober and somber one, but also comforting and reassuring.  There are no huge climactic places, no catchy tunes, nothing to detract from the unfolding of the text and the sincerity of the words "All things are connected.  This we know".

TWIRL!
Boosey & Hawkes (TBA)
For the University of Michigan Summer Arts Institute Intermediate Choir and their directors Sandra Snow and Jerry Blackstone

Voicing: SAB chorus with piano
Text: Walt Kelly (1913-1973) The Pogo Song Book
Duration: c. 2'30"
First Performance:  Summer Arts Institute Intermediate Choir, Sandra Snow, conductor,
     University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, July 31, 1999

TWIRL! is a kaleidoscope of quick-silver vocal lines, tongue-twisting poetry, and racing rhythmic drive.  It is a gem for middle school/Jr. High conductors who are looking for a piece that stretches vocalism and musicianship yet is representative of the adolescent penchant for fun, excitement, and pure adrenaline.

An especially wonderful component of this commission was the two-week residency of the composer who also taught musicianship classes and group composition to the students.  Residencies are a marvelous means of encouraging composition among young singers who see live composers at work and play.

Sandra Snow
University of Michigan

Unnamable God
TBA (2016)
Commissioned by the Cathedral Church of St. Luke in recognition of Ben Lane's 25th anniversary as Cathedral Musician

Voicing:  SATB chorus with piano
Text:  A Book of Psalms, adapted by Stephen Mitchell
Duration:  c. 3'
First Performance: University Chorus of the University of Central Florida, David L. Brunner, conductor, at the anniversary celebration concert for Ben Lane, Cathedral Church of St. Luke, Orlando, FL, October 2, 2016.

My choirs have been singing David Brunner's music for decades now -- both full chorus and treble music. We enjoy his lyrical lines, compelling rhythms, and familiar yet fresh harmonies, with a unique interpretation of every lyric. He is the master of discovering new and interesting texts. Desiring a new work to celebrate my employment anniversary, I knew that David would provide a fine composition with the perfect words for the occasion. I was pleased and energized by the entire experience of commissioning him. We agreed on a poem that he had researched, similar to a Biblical psalm but with contemporary sensibilities and some whimsical phrases too. David created a musical setting that was fascinating and exciting. It danced along in multiple meters with soaring and beautiful choral parts, a fun piano accompaniment that made we WANT to practice it, stunningly glorious moments that illuminated the words in more and more interesting ways, and an exhilarating climax that drove the audience to cheers and ovations! "Unnameable God" was the highlight of an epic celebration!

Canon Ben Lane
Cathedral Musician
Cathedral Church of St. Luke
Orlando, Florida

  

The Us of Me
Boosey & Hawkes 48004614 (1996)
For Scott

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text: David L. Brunner
Duration: c. 3'

This festive work is a secular anthem to our shared human experience, the potential in each of us and the necessity to affirm, support and nurture each other.  A natural choice for concert, contest or festival performance, this is a significant contribution to the literature for today's choirs.

J. W. Pepper & Son, Inc.


Viva la Musica!
Boosey & Hawkes 48022619 (2012)
For the Whiteaker Middle School 2010-2011 Concert Choir, Andrew Thomas, director
J. W. Pepper Editor's Choice

Voicing: SATB a cappella chorus
Text: traditional
Duration: c. 2'
First Performance:

We recently had  a piece commissioned by Dr. Brunner and couldn't have been more pleased. It was very singable with interesting melodies interweaving in a type of dance that was full of life and energy.  The piece ranges from dynamic unison passages to broad harmonic passages with interesting chordal progressions. The choir was able to pick it up quickly but yet were challenged with some of the more difficult passages.  Another quality piece by a quality composer!

                                                                                                                     Andy Thomas, Director

This short piece was written for the Whiteaker Middle School 2010-2011 Concert Choir and their director Andrew Thomas. 

The strong, bold character is immediately evident in the unison exclamations of the opening fanfare.  An imitative section follows with each voice singing an independent  melody, yet characterized by similar rhythms and compatible phrase contours.  The piece closes with a thick cluster of tones and a  short, final exclamation of the text in unison.

The old round Viva la Musica is the source of the text and the style was inspired by Viva Tutti and other, similar well-known, robust songs.  The text is very repetitive and there should be a sense of buoyancy, clarity and lightness in the articulation.  A steady tempo, clear diction, and precise ensemble is important, as is an energetic feeling of rhythm.  Though the singing is full and vigorous, there should be a dance-like quality.


Voice of My Song

Boosey & Hawkes #48021259 (2012)
Commissioned by Newham Children and Young People's Services for the Newham Young People's Chorus

Voicing: SAB chorus with piano
Text:  Scott P. Lounsbury
Duration: c. 3'20"
First Performance:

We Are the Music Makers
Boosey & Hawkes 48004613 (1995)
For the 1995 Florida All-State Reading Chorus, Jeff W. Reynolds, conductor
 

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text: Arthur O'Shaugnessy (1844-1881)
Duration: c. 5'15"
First Performance:  The Florida All-State Reading Chorus, Jeff W. Reynolds, conductor,
     Tampa, Florida, January 1995

Better choirs are sure to enjoy this ebullient, concert/festival work based on lines of a poem entitled "Ode" by Arthur O'Shaugnessy.  A powerful, yet reflective expression of what it means for us to be musicians, to be "the dreamer of dreams... the movers and shakers of the world..."  A choral tour de force!

J. W. Pepper & Son, Inc.

We Are The Music Makers was written for the 1005 Florida All-State Reading Chorus.  The text is a mere few lines from Arthur O'Shaugnessy's Ode that speaks for the special feelings of being musicians, in many ways apart from the world, perhaps lonely and misunderstood, yet possessors of a far greater reality, the "movers and shakers of the world forever".  Broad-breathed, arching phrases of the primary melody contrast with more atmospheric sections of color.


Well Sung Song
Boosey & Hawkes 48021244 (2012)
For "Mama Sarah" Schutte, with love and thanks

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text: Scott Lounsbury
Duration: c. 4'

Much of my work is on commission, collaborations with new colleagues I’ve recently become acquainted with (or not yet met), or close friends with whom I have shared a long professional and personal history.  There are other times, however, when a new work happens for no reason other than I want -- and need -- to write something for someone dear to me. 

The most recent gift, Well Sung Song, for my “second mom”, Sarah Schutte, says what words alone cannot.  My friendship with Sarah and her husband Charles goes back thirty-three years, with fond memories of many musical experiences, travel adventures, stories, laughter, and homemade blueberry pancake breakfasts.  At the most difficult times of our lives, poetry and music may bring a bit of the transcendent.

Friend, musician and poet Scott Lounsbury describes our shared journey, destiny and closure in beautifully musical words.

The Wheel
Boosey & Hawkes 48019168 (2006)
Commissioned by the Eastern Division and the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Choral Directors Association to honor our friend and mentor D. Douglas Miller

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text:  Wendell Berry (b. 1934)
Duration: c. 5'20"
First Performance:  Coro Allegro, David Hodgkins, conductor, Eastern Division
     ACDA Convention, Boston, Massachusetts, February 2004

I enjoy the experience of writing for a particular person or ensemble and this commission from the Eastern Division of the American Choral Directors Association was a wonderful opportunity to create something meaningful for Doug Miller and my many friends and colleagues, both in Pennsylvania ACDA and the Eastern Division.

The profound and elegant words of Wendell Berry resonate inside me.  I like the idea of the dance, of coupling, of moving in graceful circles others have moved to, of the ancient round dance and the song being one, and of the wheel of time connecting us, bringing it all around again and again.

 

When Thou Commandest Me To Sing
(TBA)
Commissioned in celebration of the Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble's 20th Anniversary Season, Dr. Timothy A. McMillin, conductor, and in honor of Dr. James Cox, founding director

Voicing: SSAATTBB  chorus with piano
Text:  Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)
Duration: c. 4'
First Performance: Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble, Timothy A. McMillan, conductor,
     Des Moines, Iowa, May 20, 2012

The music of David Brunner radiates inspiration and expressivity.  From David’s attention to selecting only texts of the highest integrity to his amazingly colorful, creative and lyrical setting of those texts, the music nearly sings itself.

Commissioning a work with David Brunner is a collaboration in the truest sense of the word.  Not only did the Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble receive a ‘grand slam’ of a musical piece, but we enjoyed the honor and privilege of David’s company and significant insights at the world premiere of the work.  His humanity and humility allow the greatest form of collaborative artistry to become reality.

                                                                                     Tim McMillan, Artistic Director
                                                                                  Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble

Yo le Canto todo el Dia
Boosey & Hawkes 48004843 (1999)
J. W. Pepper Editor's Choice
J. W. Pepper Basic Library

Voicing: SATB chorus with piano
Text: Jackeline Rago
Duration: c. 3'

See listing under Treble choirs for annotation.