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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 TREBLE CHOIRS

A Living Song
Boosey & Hawkes 48019421 (2006)
For the 2007 Tennessee All-State Women’s Chorus, Sandra Snow, conductor
 
Voicing: SSA chorus with piano (chamber orchestra full score and parts 48019360)
Text: Joseph Freiherr von Eichendrorff (1788-1857) and a 19th c. rattle fragment from the
     Northwest Canadian Coast
Duration: c. 3’
First Performance: 2007 Tennessee All-State Women’s Chorus, Sandra Snow, conductor


See listing under Mixed Choirs for annotation.

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

A Song for Every Child
Boosey & Hawkes 48019684 (2007)
Dedicated to Martha Ellen Stilwell. Commissioned for the Spivey Hall Children’s Choir in loving memory of Bill & Lillian Loucks
 
Voicing: SSA chorus with piano
Text: William Blake (1757-1827) Songs of Innocence: Introduction
Duration: c. 3’
First Performance: The Spivey Hall Children’s Choir, Martha Shaw, director,
     Morrow, Georgia, May 20, 2006

David Brunner is the Schubert of our time. His soaring melodies are a delight to all who hear them, and his text settings are beautifully crafted. A Song For Every Child is a magical illustration of a Robert Blake poem about the joy of music and song in the life of a child. My singers loved its playful rhythms and poignant text, and it was fun to learn and perform. This piece is a wonderful addition to David's treble choir literature.

Martha Shaw
Artistic Director
Spivey Hall Children's Choir

I have long admired the Spivey Hall Children's Chorus and their director Martha Shaw and have always been enamored by their very musical performances and recordings of my works.  This commission was a great pleasure and privilege and my time with the singers in Spivey Hall a special joy.

This is surely a text for players, singers and composers!  The laughing child on a cloud addresses us and says to "Pipe a song about a Lamb", "Sing thy songs of happy chear", "Sit thee down and write in a book all may read".  So we do.  "I piped... I sung... And I write my happy songs every child may joy to hear.

A graceful melody, playful rhythms and lighthearted mood characterize this setting . The accompaniment is supportive of the voices, which are often scored in duet pairings. Rhythms are characterized by alternating meters, which fit the natural word stress of the text.

A Song To End All War
Boosey & Hawkes 48019724 (2008)
Commissioned for the 2007 Sing A Mile High Children's Choral Festival, Denver, Colorado, by Young Voices of Colorado, Jena Dickey, Artistic Director
 
Voicing: SA chorus with piano
Text: Bill Worrell, The Shaman of Brotherhood (Lullaby for War)
Duration: c. 3'15"
First Performance: Sing a Mile High Children's Choral Festival, David Brunner, conductor,
     Denver, Colorado, June 25, 2007

After working with David to select the text for If I Could Write A Song, I knew that the piece would be meaningful and beautiful. Having conducted other Brunner pieces over the years, I also knew that the melodies would soar at the most poignant places and create those spine chills that his music often produces. What I didn't anticipate was the ease and professionalism of the commission process. Contracts were clear and concise, and the product was delivered ahead of schedule.  If I Could Write A Song is easy to sing and its beauty will long echo in the hearts of the singers and their audience. It is a perfect ballad for our time.

Jena Dickey
Founder and Artistic Director
Sing A Mile High Children's Choral Festival
Young Voices of Colorado

From my first encounter I have had a special resonance with Bill Worrell's art -- both his sculpture and his words.  His writing entitled The Shaman of Brotherhood (Lullaby for War) holds special significance in our present world.  There's a certain sense of frustration, yet hopefulness at the same time.  If only we could find the right melody, the right drum beat to invent a song to end all war.  What notes?  What lyrics?  It really brings us the larger question of what one person can do to bring peace, compassion and understanding to our immediate world and the larger world around us.

A Song to End All War was commissioned and first performed as If I Could Write A Song by the 2007 Sing-A-Mile-High Children's Choir Festival in Denver, Colorado.

All I Was Doing Was Breathing (Ecstatic Songs)
Boosey & Hawkes 48019949 (2009) Instrumental Parts 48019950
For my dear friend Sandra Snow, Conductor, and the Michigan State University Women's Chamber Ensemble
 
Voicing: SSAA chorus with soprano soloist, cello, tabla, Tibetan finger cymbals, brass bowls,
     jangle stick, elephant bells and ankle bells
Text: Mirabai (1498-1547)
Duration: c. 6'10"
First Performance:  The Michigan State University Women's Ensemble,
     Sandra Snow, conductor, National ACDA Convention, Oklahoma City,
     Oklahoma, March 4 2009

Watch Video

I remember the day of the premiere, people were eager to speak about the performance.  To a person, they began to congratulate but most soon stopped, put a hand over their heart, and were left without a way to talk about the experience.  The power of All I Was Doing Was Breathing is on multiple levels.  There is the poem itself, a personal and vulnerable expression of Mira's inner soul.  There is David Brunner's soulful interpretation of the poem and his uncanny ability to draw the listener in through his imaginative composition and his quiet listening and response to the message Mira communicates.  Most powerfully for me as teacher was the transformative nature of the project for the women singing Mira's words through David's music.  These women found an inner voice of strength both in community with one another and in a personal relationship, it seemed, with Mirabei.  They profoundly related to Mira's strength, her wildness, her unflinching gaze into a world that did not understand her.  This project and their interaction with David Brunner in the commissioning process forever altered the young women in the ensemble.

Sandra Snow
Michigan State University

All Thy Gifts of Love
Boosey & Hawkes 48019152 (2006)
Commissioned for the 2005 Hillsborough County Fine Arts Festival and dedicated in memory of Dr. Virginia Bridges, Professor Emerita, University of South Florida.
 

Voicing: SA chorus with piano
Text: Hunger Fund Committee, Diocese of Huron with additional verses by the composer
Duration: c. 3'
First Performance: May 10, 2005, Morsani Hall, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center,
     Tampa, FL, David L. Brunner, conductor

Jean Ashworth Bartle sent the first verse of this poem in her Christmas greetings a year or so ago, and this small fragment was the inspiration for additional verses I added and for this setting of All Thy Gifts of Love for the 2005 Hillsborough County Fine Arts Festival in Tampa, Florida.  “For these and all thy gifts of love” in the final verse is part of the family grace of Rev. Galen Russell, which I remember fondly.

It should be sung simply, in a moderate tempo.

Amazing Grace
Boosey & Hawkes 48005147 (2004)
Commissioned by Nigel Durno & the Pupils of Stewarton Academy with Mandy Miller, Choral Director, with funds provided by the Scottish Arts Council
 
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

Few sacred songs are as universally known or loved as Amazing Grace.  Because of its popularity and because it has been set so many times by contemporary composers, I have been reluctant to do so.  A commission from my friend Mandy Miller in Scotland, however, was the inspiration for this new composition.

This piece is unusual for me in several ways.  I've not composed much in what I would consider a "folk" idiom, but suppose I was thinking of something in that character when I decided on the new melody, a shapely contour composed of but a few gestures that repeat -- each verse an asymmetrical five phrases of four measures each.  This odd number of phrases springs from the text, which is repeated in a way that's also unusual for me.  I rarely repeat words at all, but found that by doing so here, new emphasis was placed on familiar words in a fresh way.  The four lines of text are presented first in order, then repeated from the last line forward:  fourth, third, first, second.

Each verse presents the text and melody in a similar way, though textures, voicing, accompaniment and interludes change.  The final verse uses the traditional melody, slightly altered in character of the newly composed melody.

The piece was conceived for children's treble and adult mixed choruses, but could easily be performed with a large mixed chorus, with the women dividing among the SATB and treble textures.  The instrumental obligato was originally conceived for flute, but Mandy suggested Scot's fiddle, which I can imagine as a colorful and appropriate accompaniment.

An Irish Blessing
Boosey & Hawkes (TBA)
For the Clark County Children's Choir Crescendo Singers, Holly Steed, Artistic Director
 
Voicing: SSA chorus with piano
Text: Irish Blessing
Duration: c. 3'40"
First Performance: The Clark County Children's Choir Crescendo Singers, Las Vegas, NV, May 18, 2013.

The idea to commission an original work for my singers has been in the back of my mind since I began my program.  It all fell into place in 2010 when our choir worked with Dr. Brunner at a Chicago Children's Choir Festival.  It took us 3 years prepare ourselves for the experience, but it was so worth the wait.  The commission process could not have been more simple.  My primary goal in the process was to end up with a song that my singers could feel a deep sense of ownership with and that would have the potential to become a signature piece for them from season to season.  Dr. Brunner shared several texts he felt inspired to write music to and I was thrilled that one seemed to lend itself perfectly to the goal.  I've always loved Irish Blessings and immediately felt this would be a perfect fit to our folk based Kodaly program. 

Not only was the piece a perfect fit for my initial goal, I was thrilled to find the piece educational in the learning process.  As we do most pieces, we learned the entire piece on solfa, which made the soaring melody and gorgeous harmonies simple to navigate for my youngsters.  The piece has several key changes throughout which provided a perfect way to talk about modulation and our moving 'do'.   In addition it is one of the few compositions written for young voices that is 'through composed'.  I initially felt the lack of repetition of any part of the piece would be a great challenge for my singers to learn, but the music matched the text so well it turned into an adventure each week to discover what the next verse or section would hold. 

I can never adequately express what a great musical, educational, and emotional journey this was for our young musicians and our organization.  The best part was having Dr. Brunner rehearse and conduct our singers in the world premiere.  The experience is now a cherished memory for each of us, and we thank Dr. Brunner for this lasting legacy. 

                                                                                                                                         Holly Steed
                                                                                                         Founder and Artistic Director
                                                                                                        Clark County Children's Choir


And Ever Is Now

Boosey & Hawkes (TBA)
For the Contra Costa Children's Chorus in honor of Artistic Director Iris Lamanna's retirement
 
Voicing: SSA chorus with oboe and piano
Text: William Jay Smith
Duration: c. 3'
First Performance: The Contra Costa Children's Chorus, Iris Amanna, director, St. Mary's
     College Chapel, Moraga, California, June 5, 2011.

Blest By Light
Boosey & Hawkes (TBA)
Dedicated to Kyla and John Gulliver, in honor of their love and marriage.
 
Voicing: SA chorus with piano
Text: Rumi (1207 - 1273)
Duration: c. 2'10"


The Circles of Our Lives

Boosey & Hawkes 48004897 (2000)
This composition was commissioned by the Endowment Fund of the American Choral Directors Association in Memory of Raymond W. Brock who served the American Choral Directors Association as Director of Development and Administrative Assistant.

Voicing: SA 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: at the Eastern Division convention of the American Choral Directors
     Association, Baltimore, MD, and the subsequent six division conventions in Cincinnati,
     OH, Madison, WI, Orlando, FL, Seattle, WA, Oklahoma City, OK and Los Angeles, CA,
     February - March 2000. 

     Instrumental version commissioned and premiered by the Young Women's Chorus of
     Kentucky, Robert Paugh, conductor, at the Kentucky Music Educators Association
     conference, Louisville, Kentucky, February 7, 2002.

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

The American Choral Directors Association was pleased to invite David Brunner to be the 2000 Raymond W. Brock Memorial Composer.  The Circles of Our Lives is one of the significant commissions added to this prestigious series.  This great composition premiered in the spring of 2000 at the seven ACDA division conventions to outstanding reviews and continues to receive superb reviews from choral musicians worldwide.

Gene Brooks
Executive Director
American Choral Directors Association

The Circles of Our Lives began as an emotional response to a poem by Wendell Berry, entitled simply "song".  I had not known the poetry of Wendell Berry until very recently, but immediately found in him a voice that touched me by its contemplative and inspirational nature and by the reverence in each and every word.  I found in his words a profound sincerity and respect for the wonder of life.  This gentle poem of life's cycles seemed exceedingly appropriate for this work in memory of Raymond Brock.

This thoughtful and musical text is set to expansive melodic ideas in a gentle interplay of voices.  "Only music brings us here, each by all the others held."

Daring To Be 
Boosey & Hawkes 48018854 (2005)
For the Young Naperville Singers in celebration of their 20th year, Oksanna Rodak, Artistic Director.  Funded by a grant from the Naperville Sunrise Rotary Fund for the Arts, Naperville, Illinois
 
Voicing: SSA with piano
Text: Ann Ziety
Duration: c. 3’8"
First Performance: Young Naperville Singers, Oksanna Rodak, conductor, Naperville,
     Illinois, April 25, 2004

I was intrigued by the playful nature of Ann Ziety's text and felt its youthful exuberance was perfect for the celebration of the Young Naperville Singers' 20th anniversary.  Throughout, the singing is energetic, light and buoyant.  The text sparkles with an energy and affirmation of who we are.

Dont' Go! (Ecstatic Songs)
Boosey & Hawkes 48022954 (2013)

For the Michigan State University Women's Chamber Ensemble, Sandra Snow, conductor

Voicing: SSAA chorus with mezzo soprano solo, pakhawaj, Tibetan finger cymbals, brass bowls and elephant bells. 
Text: Mirabei (1498 - 1547)
Duration: c. 4'30"
First Performance:  Michigan State University Women's Chamber Ensemble, Sandra Snow, conductor, Andrea Ramsey, soloist, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, April 9, 2013.

The second in the Ecstatic Songs cycle, Don't Go is a highly personal exploration of the poet Mira's devotion to her Lord Krishna.  Brunner cleverly gives Mira's voice to a soloist who expresses longing through sinuous, spinning melodic material.  The choir is a rich landscape setting the modal framework and shaping moments of intensity and longing to support the vivid text.   At the end of the premiere performance, the audience actually let out a collective breath--this is a work that will connect deeply with the women who sing it.

                                                                                                                              Sandra Snow
                                                                                                        Michigan State University


Earthsongs

Boosey & Hawkes 48004607 (1996)
Dedicated to my Dad.  Commissioned by Keynote Arts Association -- James E. Dash, President -- for the Children in Harmony Choral Festival, 1996, Barbara Tagg, Artistic Director

Orchestral version by Greg Smith for the Children's Choral Festival, Carnegie Hall, Janet Galvan, conductor

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

Voicing: SSA(A) chorus with oboe and piano.  Full score and orchestral parts on rental
     from the publisher.
Text: James Gates Percival; Buddhist from the Sutta Nipata; United Nations
     Environmental Sabbath   Program
Duration: c. 9’
First Performance: EPCOT, Orlando, Florida, David L. Brunner, conductor, May 25, 1996. 
     Orchestral debut:  Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, Janet Galvan, conductor.


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

David Brunner has made a significant contribution to choral music repertoire.  His flowing melodies, rich textures, musical sensitivity and moving texts have provided the basis for many outstanding compositions.  One such composition is surely Earthsongs.

Barbara Tagg, Conductor
Syracuse Children's Choir
Children in Harmony Festival

The minute I heard Earthsongs, I wanted to hear it orchestrated.  The premiere in Carnegie Hall of Brunner's orchestrated version of Earthsongs was stunning... This is a welcome addition to the repertoire of children's voices and orchestra.

Janet Galvan, Conductor
Ithaca Children's Choir
North American Children's Chorale at Carnegie

Eletelephony (from Two for Fun)
Boosey & Hawkes 48004299 (1992)
For the Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus, Doreen Rao, conductor
 
Voicing: Unison chorus with piano
Text: Laura E. Richards (1850-1943)
Duration: c. 55"

Laura Richards' imaginative text come to life in this playful setting!  Changing meters, an angular melodic line and lumbering piano part are highly evocative and unpredictable.

Everything Is Music
TBA
Commissioned by the Miami Chidlren's Chorus, Timothy A. Sharp, Music Director
 
Voicing: SSA chorus with piano
Text: Rabindranath Tagore (1861 - 1941) and Rumi (1207 - 1273)
Duration: c. 4'30"
First Performance:  Miami Children's Chorus, New World Symphony members, Dance Now! Miami, Timothy A.            Sharp, conductor, at the New World Symphony Center, Miami Beach, FL, May 11, 2014

For A Certain Artist
Boosey & Hawkes 48019226 (2006)
Commissioned by the Gulf Coast Youth Choirs, Lynne Gackle, conductor, for the 2005 Young Voices Festival

Voicing: SA chorus with piano
Text: Elisavietta Ritchie
Duration: c. 4'33"
First Performance: Young Voices Festival Choir, David L. Brunner, conductor,
     Morsani Hall, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Tampa, FL, April 22, 2005

For A Certain Artist is a lovely 2-part work for children's voices commissioned by the 2005 Young Voices Festival, which is sponsored by the Gulf Coast Youth Choirs, Inc. in Tampa, Florida, and accessible by children's choirs of all levels.  This work was performed with over 750 children from school, community and church children's choirs.  David Brunner was our guest clinician/composer and it was truly a marvelous experience for the children to perform this new work with the composer, himself.  The text engages the imagination and speaks to the ability of the artist to "see" things beyond what most of us "see" in daily life -- In a tree, a boat; in a puddle, the sea; in a cloud, sails.  For A Certain Artist encourages us to think about looking past the ordinary and to strive to see the possibilities of "what if" in our lives.

Lynne Gackle
Founder and Artistic Director
Gulf Coast Youth Choirs

I loved this poem on first reading.  It says so much in so few words about the experience of the artist's eye, the ability to imagine what can be, to see extraordinary possibilities in everyday things and to sense in our heart the oneness of the universe.  The music has a folk-like quality and should move in a gentle sway.

Grace
Boosey & Hawkes 48023074 (2014)

Commissioned by the Sloan Creek A Cappella Treble Choir, Christina Chapman, director, for performance at the 2013 National ACDA Convention.  In memory of Daniel Phillips.
 
Voicing: SSA chorus with piano
Text:  Oliver  Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809 - 1894)
Duration:  c. 3:00'
First Performance:  The Sloan Creek A Cappella Treble Choir, Christina Chapman, at the 2013 National ACDA Convention in Dallas, TX

Based on a poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes, this is a warm, hopeful musical prayer for the ages.  Sensitive piano stylings and lovely turns of phrase make it a wonderful opportunity for young women to dig deep into their lives and emotions.

                                                                                                         J. W. Pepper, "Editor's Choice"

Grace was commissioned by the Sloan Creek Middle School A Cappella Treble Choir and their director Christina Chapman, in memory of Daniel Phillips and for performance at the 2013 national ACDA convention in Dallas, Texas.  Of the several texts I sent Christina, this one immediately resonated with her singers as a fitting remembrance of Daniel.  Holmes’ poem is a sturdy hymn-like text of four-line verses, (the words appearing in numerous hymnals), each verse melodically different, though similar in lyricism.  The final two verses are joined, creating momentum and a large dynamic arc.

Though the text setting is highly syllabic, care should be taken to shape legato phrases.  There are many subtle tempo changes that stretch the musical idea, particularly at the end of phrases and similar rubato may be taken elsewhere.  Despite references to “brief, bright moments fading fast”, “sorrowing hours” and “all we mourn, all we keep”, the poetic and musical mood is not dark, but warm and hopeful. 


Grandfather, Great Spirit

Boosey & Hawkes 48004609 (1997)
Commissioned by David Matthews in honor of his mother, Anna Mae Matthews for the Tampa Bay Children's Chorus, Averill Summer, director
 
Voicing: SSA chorus with alto flute, hand drum, glass wind chimes, rattle, suspended cymbal
     and piano
Text: Sioux Prayer
Duration: c. 7'
First Performance: Tampa Bay Children's Chorus, Averill Summer,
     conductor, Tampa, Florida, April 1998

Grandfather, Great Spirit immediately engaged our singers' imaginations with its colorful tonal clusters and atmospheric use of percussion and piano.  This work truly captures the spirit of its poetic text and draws listener and performer into the very special atmosphere that it creates.  It was a challenge for us to learn this piece, and it offered our singers an opportunity to develop many musical skills.  Once learned, it became one that our singers asked to repeat.

Averill Summer
Artistic Director
Tampa Bay Children's Chorus

Hold Fast Your Dreams
Boosey & Hawkes 48004803 (1999)
Commissioned by the St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation on the occasion of the opening of Tampa Children's Hospital at St. Joseph's, 19 March 1998
 
Voicing: SA chorus with piano
Text:  Louise Driscoll (1875-1957)
Duration: c. 2’20"
First Performance: Tampa Bay Children's Chorus, Averill Summer,
     conductor, Tampa, Florida,  March 19, 1998

I can't imagine a more sensitive, moving selection of text than that of Hold Fast Your Dreams, commissioned for the opening of our children's hospital.  The sweeping, lyric melodic lines are beautiful, fun to sing, and reflect the uplifting, inspiring quality of the text.  It has been a big hit on many of our concerts with audiences and singers alike.

David Brunner's works have been favorites on our choir's programs since we first sang Mrs. Snipkin and Mrs. Wobblechin... and we look forward to learning more works by this creative composer.  The texts he chooses engage our singers immediately, and are always so sensitively set to music.  The melodic lines are memorable and always very singable.

Averill Summer
Artistic Director
Tampa Bay Children's Chorus

Here is an extremely sensitive and ethereal-sounding work for more mature treble choirs.  A soaring melody is supported by a dream-like piano accompaniment, as warm harmonies highlight the text, "Hold fast your dreams!  O keep a place apart within your heart for little dreams to go."  Perfect for concert or contest, it is also ideal for graduation or as a signature piece.  Gorgeous!

J. W. Pepper & Son, Inc.

All of us who dare to dream know the power of the imagination and the will.  Those for whom this work was dedicated dreamed in a big way for the children of the Tampa Bay area.  The young patients who will be cared for, the physicians and staff who will minister to them, and the donors and builders who made it possible all share the power of dreams.  Find that mall place within you "Where dreams may go, and sheltered so, may thrive and grow where doubt and fear are not." 

Home
Boosey & Hawkes 48019756 (2007)
To the Concert Singers of the Fairfax Choral Society, Patrick F. Vaughn, director
 
Voicing: SA chorus with piano
Text: Kenzie Duffy
Duration: c. 3’20"
First Performance: The Concert Singers of the Fairfax Choral Society,
     Patrick, Vaughn, conductor, May 1, 2007

David Brunner has an incredible gift... he paints pictures with his music.  The musical tapestry that unfolds from performing his music not only sparks the imagination of the listener, but engages the performer to stretch beyond the notes on the page.  I hope to collaborate with David again in the near future and would highly recommend him for any project.

Patrick F. Vaughn
Director of Youth Choruses
Fairfax Choral Society, Annandale, VA

The invitation from the Fairfax Choral Society Youth Chorus to write a work on a student poet's text was an intriguing one for me.  After reading and re-reading through a packet of student poems, I kept returning to one by Kenzie Duffy.  It was the shortest of the poems and had a sense of spaciousness, not only in the poetry itself, but in the scene it evoked.  Open skies, pastures of wheat, a hawk, some soil, the wind... peacefulness.  Having grown up in the Midwest with cornfields surrounding my little town, I remembered these things -- what they looked and felt and smelled like.  I'm sure that many listeners and performers will connect with this simple idea of home.

House Blessing
Boosey & Hawkes 48005148 (2004)
For the 2001 West Virginia All-State Children's Chorus
 
Voicing: SA chorus with piano
Text: Traditional Bahai Prayer
Duration: c. 3’
First Performance: Creative Arts Center, West Virginia University campus,
     Morgantown, West Virginia, Julia White, conductor, March 23, 2001.

The universality of this Bahai prayer connects us all in heart and thought.  Its simplicity and sincerity are reflected in the gently curved gestures of the vocal melody.

I Am In Need of Music
Boosey & Hawkes 48023319 (2014)
 
Voicing: SSA chorus with piano.  Chamber orchestra version full score and 
     parts available from the publisher 48019973
Text: Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979) Sonnet
Duration: c. 4'

i carry your heart
Boosey & Hawkes (TBA)
Dedicated to Carolyn Minear by her friends and colleagues in recognition of her passionate pursuit of quality arts education for all students and teachers and her ability to find beauty in all around her.
 
Voicing: SSA chorus with piano 
Text: e. e. cummings (1894-1962)
Duration: c. 2'30"

i thank you god for most this amazing
Boosey & Hawkes 48004616 (1997)
For the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Women's Chorus, Stephanie Mitchell, director
 
Voicing: SSAA chorus a cappella
Text: e. e. cummings (1894-1962)
Duration: c. 3’
First Performance: Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Women's Chorus,
     Cincinnati, Ohio, David L. Brunner, guest conductor, November 19, 1994

The fragmented nature of e. e. cummings' poetry is reflected in many small musical sections that, however, have a broad overall architecture.  Colorful harmonies shimmer.  As always, a sensitivity to text setting.

If I Could Fly
Boosey & Hawkes 48023042 (2013)
For Bill Worrell, in appreciation of his spirit and his art
 
Voicing: SA chorus with piano
Text and Tune: Bill Worrell 06/01/06 -- 4:56 p.m.  Just north of Clines Corners.
     Ravens soaring in a beautiful watercolor sky.
Duration: c. 2'40"

Bill Worrell's If I Could Fly, wall mounted limited edition bronze sculpture 

I have, on a number of occasions, set the words of Bill Worrell, a Texas sculptor, poet, and in his words "Texas' most unknown songwriter."  Last fall Worrell sent me a home recording of him singing If I Could Fly, accompanying himself on the guitar.  On every other occasion, I have newly composed music to his words, but was moved by the honesty of this gentle melody and so, offer this arrangement of his musical ideas.

The poem was written to honor his good friend Linda Yell, who was quite ill at the time.  The text speaks of soaring, of floating, of peacefulness and release from gravity.  The raven, representative of the ancient symbol of the soul, "call my name as it circles" and tells me that I, too, someday will fly.

There is an intimate quality and personal, private nature to these words.  Sing them thoughtfully and expressively, as a solo singer might.  Worrell's own performance has a strong sense of rubato, a freedom from the rhythm that fits the nature of the words.  Take time in the rhythm and tempo to reflect.  Sing with ease and grace.  imagine what it might feel like to actually soar.

Worrell's sculpture If I Could Fly is a wall-mounted bronze, of an arching figure, reaching upward, grasping a staff crowned with a raven, the ancient symbol of the soul.  In my home is a gift from Worrell, this bronze mounted on rock titled Someday I Will Fly, a tall figure, head thrown back, in one gesture of surrender, openness and gratitude, arms staff and shield embracing the sky.  Both so appropriately embody the spirit of this text.  You can view them at www.davidbrunner.com.

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.

See listing under Mixed Choirs for annotation.

Isn't That Something?
Boosey & Hawkes 48019151 (2006)
Commissioned by the Mississippi Girlchoir, Lillian Lee, director, for Treble Song 2005
 
Voicing: SSA chorus with piano
Text:  Daniel Ladinsky
Duration: c. 3'20"
First Performance: Mississippi Music Educators Association/American Choral Directors
     Association state convention Treble Song Honor Choir, Jackson, MS,
     David L. Brunner, conductor, April 9, 2005

The text was intriguing and created a lot of discussion among the girls, evoking a much deeper meaning when internalized than appears on the surface.  The mixed meter is challenging, yet playful and fun.  The honor choir really enjoyed working on the piece and were delighted to see David's reaction as it came alive for him for the first time.  The Mississippi Girlchoir performed the commission again on their spring concert and will sing it this summer while on tour in England.

Lillian Lee
Director, The Mississippi Girlchoir

Isn't That Something? was commissioned by the Mississippi Girlchoir for the third annual Treble Song, a state-wide honor choir for girls in grades 7 - 12, sponsored by the Mississippi Girlchoir and held in conjunction with the annual MMEA/ACDA State Convention in Jackson, MS.  140 choristers rehearsed with Dr. Brunner for two days, and the premiere was presented April 9, 2005.

This playful text by Daniel Ladinsky captivated my imagination the first time I read it.  our interconnectedness is evident by the turning, turning of one to another, stirring a tambourine in one, lifting a violin in someone else, until... wait!  It has reached you now.  We've become our own orchestra!  Isn't that something?  The question "Isn't that something?" recurs frequently, almost nonchalantly, yet with a real sense of surprise and delight in our fortuitous collaboration.

Jabberwocky
Walton Music #00116954
J. W. Pepper Editor's Choice
 
Voicing: SSA chorus with piano
Text:  Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)
Duration: c. 3'05"
First Performance: Sing-A-Mile-High International Children's Choral Festival, David Brunner, guest conductor, Denver, CO, July 1, 2012

 I have always LOVED David Brunner's music.  And it seems like he has written a blockbuster for almost every occasion.  Jabberwocky is no exception!  The opportunity to work with choralographer Yvonne Farrow and the 300 voices of Sing A Mile High International Children's Choral Festival provided David the forces necessary to present a very dramatic work, which simply exploded on stage.  The visual effects hinted in the piece are exceptional, and David has "done it again."  That is, he has created a very accessible work for children's choirs that has extraordinary potential.

                                                                                                                                    Jena Dickey
                                                                                                     Founder and Artistic Director
                                                                                                            Young Voices of Colorado

To create choralography for the premiere of David L. Brunner's composition, Jabberwocky, my research went beyond Alice in Wonderland to a story from the 1800's on which Carroll's text may have been based. I also used a colorful translation of the nonsensical poem which worked out perfectly with my concept. From this, I created choralography for the "plot" which included the Township (aka Greek Chorus), the Mayor, our Hero the shepherd boy and the frightful Jabberwock. Brunner's superb melody and dramatic musicality provided me with clear visual pictures as I listened to the work over and over, allowing movement to appear in mind's eye. Along with the text, the tone and feel of the piece created by the instrumentation and vocalization, provided me with ample fodder for choralography. Our very first meeting was the day I set the work on the Sing A Mile High Massed Choir.  David was delighted with what I had come up with, he himself seeing it for the first time, as I taught the children. His generosity of spirit as I lead the movement rehearsal, willingness to jump in when I needed help musically and his joy at learning the movement with the children, was humbling and a huge confirmation that he was pleased with the choralography because it did not take away from his work, but enhanced it. A choral director asked if he and I had worked together previously. I took this as a great compliment and testament to the clarity of the piece, which was the basis of my inspiration. I define my work as the marriage of movement, drama and concert choral music, without sacrificing the choral sound. Jabberwocky is a great example of a successful union between the two choral arts. In the world of theater there is a phrase, "If it's not on the page, it's not on the stage".  Meaning it all starts with the writer, or in this case, the composer.  Jabberwocky is certainly "on the page"!

Yvonne Farrow
Master Choralographer
www.gotchoralography.com


Lewis Caroll's playful language and vivid description of the Jabberowky has captivated me for many years and the invitation to write a piece for the 2012 Sing A Mile High Children's Choir Festival in Denver was finally the occasion to set it to music.

The text is filled with curious words which evoke fantastic images.  The music is all about dramatic story-telling -- angular melody, strongly defined rhythm, and some quirky bits of harmony combine to provide singers the opportunity to use text and tone to bring the spectacle to life.

It was a special joy to collaborate with Yvonne Farrow, whose creative choralography brought a fanciful theatricality to the premiere, as the chorus of 290 singers took on the character of the townspeople, the mayor, and the young hero, and took flight en masse as the dreaded Jabberwock!  It was highly imaginative and great fun!

Though Jabberwocky can be performed effectively without staging, you may wish to consider adding movement.  Complete information about Yvonne's work can be found at www.gotchoralography.com and information about staging or licensing the movement for Jabberwocky with Yvonne Farrow's copyrighted choralography can be obtained from her directly at choralographer@aol.com.


Jubilate Deo

Boosey & Hawkes 48004849 (1999) 
 
Voicing: SSA chorus with brass and organ.  Brass parts available for purchase from the
     publisher 48001621.  Full score and orchestral version parts on rental from
     the composer.
Text:  Sacred Latin text
Duration: c. 3'10"

Watch Video

See listing under Mixed Choirs for annotation.

Laughing Song
Boosey & Hawkes 48019732 (2008)
For the Lake Agassiz Girls Choir, Fargo, North Dakota, Pamela Burns, Artistic Director
 
Voicing: SSA chorus with piano
Text: William Blake (1757-1827) Songs of Innocence
Duration: c. 4'18"
First Performance:  The Lake Agassiz Girls Choir, David L. Brunner, conductor,
     Fargo, North Dakota, May 4, 2008.

William Blake has captured a playful innocence in the words of the Laughing Song.  There's a lightness and carefree quality in the very landscape:  green woods, dimpling streams and the air itself laughing with our merry wit; meadows, grasshoppers and our playmates Mary, Susan and Emily sweetly singing "Ha, Ha, He!"  There's an invitation for us to live and be merry and join with them to sing the sweet chorus.  Who can resist?

Music Came and Startled Me
Boosey & Hawkes (TBA)
For the Maitland (FL) Middle School singers and instrumentalists and their directors Lori Lovell, Lisa Hopko, and Eric Mendez, for performance at Riverside Church, New York City, on May 23, 2014
 
Voicing: SA chorus with piano (chamber orchestra version also available)
Text: Stacy Barton
Duration: c. 4'10"
First Performance:  Maitland Middle School singers and instrumentalists, Riverside Church, New York, NY, May 23, 2014

David Brunner's music is some of my absolute favorite, and our recent commission, Music Came and Startled Me, is at the top of that list!  I am always amazed at how intuitively he brings text to life with elaborate moments of word painting and instrumental flourish.  His music is challenging, yet accessible, to my middle schoolers, while giving them depth and breadth of emotion with which to connect.  This particular commission, for middle school symphony orchestra and chorus, is a testament to David's commitment to providing meaningful musical experiences for musicians of all ages.  Given the unique instrumentation and parameters of their capabilities, Dr. Brunner created a tapestry of orchestral color which adds nuance to the poetry and supports the young singers in their broad phrases.  Collaborating with David Brunner is always a cherished experience, and is even more so when it is connected to a birth of a shared inspiration.  In my experience, conducting and performing Brunner's music has yielded strronger musicians with an aesthetic appreciation for beautiful poetry and lyricism.

Dr. Lori Lovell, director
Maitland Middle School choirs 

Mrs. Snipkin and Mrs. Wobblechin (from Two for Fun)
Boosey & Hawkes 48004300 (1991)
For the Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus, Doreen Rao, conductor
 
Voicing: SA chorus with piano
Text: Laura E. Richards (1850-1943)
Duration: c. 1'15"

This companion piece to Eletelephony is a conversational chattering between two friends with widely different personalities.  Great fun!

My Heart Soars
Boosey & Hawkes 48004784 (1998)
For the 1998 Oklahoma Elementary All-State Chorus, Janet Galvan, conductor
 
Voicing: SA chorus with flute and piano
Text: Chief Dan George
Duration: c. 2'30"
First Performance:  Oklahoma Elementary All-State Chorus,
     Janet Galvan, conductor, January 28, 1998

David Brunner, established as a composer of beautiful melodies that are incredibly "singable", has another winner with My Heart Soars.  One child in Oklahoma told me that he had always like the text, but the setting had made him understand it more.  He said that he felt as if his voice and spirit literally lifted out of his body as he sang the climactic text, "and my heart soars". Another child commented that she had never sung high notes so easily.  The marriage of text and music is exquisite.  This is a marvelous addition to the repertoire.  Thank you, David Brunner!

Janet Galvan
Ithaca College

This well-known Native American text speaks of an intimate relationship with nature and the earth.  Beauty, softness, fragrance and freshness abound.  This is a sensual text, in that each phrase conjures images that stimulate our senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell.  Savor it!

O Music
Boosey & Hawkes 48004549 (1995)
For the Children's Honor Choir, 1994 Florida State ACDA Convention, Henry Leck, conductor
 
Voicing: SSA 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:  Children's Honor Choir, Florida State ACDA Convention,
     Knowles Chapel, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, Henry Leck, conductor,
     November 11, 1994.

Watch Video

See listing under Mixed Choirs for annotation.

Painted Memories
Boosey & Hawkes 48018859 (2005)
Commissioned by the Kentucky Music Educators Association for the 2004 KMEA All-State Children's Choir, Robert Paugh, Coordinator, Ann Small, conductor
 
Voicing: SA chorus with oboe and piano.  Orchestra version by Ron Ellis. 
     Full score and parts available on rental from the composer.
Text:  Bill Worrell
Duration: c. 8'
First Performance:  KMEA All-State Children's Choir, Ann Small, Conductor,
     Louisville, Kentucky, February 2004

Bill Worrell is a Texas sculptor and artist whose work moved me in a gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico a few summers ago.  his sculptures are full of spirit, grace and power, and the evocative poems he writes to accompany them are words of magic.  I was transfixed by the wonder of the art and transported by the imagination of the words.

Painted Memories accompanies a bronze triptych and reflects Worrell's interest in and influence by the early cave paintings in the Lower Pecos River area, fragments of the Shaman's experience.

"Soaring with the spirits", "dancing among the stars", "flying unbounded".  This freedom and movement of the spirit is reflected in the music and its weightless, unfettered feeling of flight.  The appearance of the dawn dims my vision and clasps my feet to the ground.  The vividness of my spirit's night flight, however, forces me to paint.  "I must sketch my visions".  "Upon the walls of the canyon, with great care, I paint my memories".  The experience is transformed into art and leaves behind a record, a faint remembrance of the vivid reality.

I hope this music captures some part of the awe and wonder of the Shaman speaker and of Bill Worrell's art.

Bill Worrell's Painted Memories

Psalm 150
Boosey & Hawkes 48005017 (2002)
Commissioned by the Miami Children's Chorus, Timothy A. Sharp, Music Director
 
Voicing: SA chorus with piano
Text:  John Davies (1569-1626)
Duration: c. 2'
First Performance:  The Miami Children's Chorus, Timothy A. Sharp, director, Miami, Florida,
     April 2001

This is our second commission of David Brunner and we are overjoyed with the work he has crafted for us, Psalm 150.  With a text by John Davies, David uses changing meter and shifting harmonies to create a challenging work that is an excellent addition to the repertoire for children's choirs.  The children of the MCC have enjoyed learning and singing this piece.  Bravo, David, for another fine work!

Timothy A. Sharp
Miami Children's Chorus

John Davies' paraphrase of the 150th Psalm says much in few words and brings familiar sentiments to life in a new way.  Each line of text is infused with exultation, which is echoed in the vocal fanfare figures.  The singing throughout should be clear and articulate, with focused energy and crisp diction.  The accompaniment could be adapted effectively for organ. 

Radiant Sister of the Day
Boosey & Hawkes 48019153 (2006)
Commissioned by the Riverdale Women's Chorale, Riverdale High School, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Jeremy D. Jones, conductor, in honor of Founding Conductor, John T. Bryan
 
Voicing: SSAA chorus with piano
Text:  Percy Bysshe Shelly (1792-1822)
Duration: c. 3'
First Performance:  Riverdale High School Women's Chorale, Murfreesboro, Tennessee,
     Jeremy Jones, conductor

Watch Video

In Radiant Sister of the Day, David Brunner has one again exhibited his mastery of wedding text to tune.  This piece literally leaps off the page with wild abandon with its exuberant intervals, clashing dissonances and quieter pools of tonal mood change.  Be prepared for some surprising twists and turns in both melodic and harmonic structure.  Radiant Sister of the Day is not an easy choral piece, but is well worth the effort required, for both performer and listener.  It has been a very positive and rewarding experience working with David on this project.  The students have loved learning this enjoyable and exciting piece.  I believe many others will respond favorably to this great addition to women's choral repertoire.

Jeremy D. Jones, Conductor
Riverdale Women's Chorale

Radiant Sister is a joyous setting that sweeps the listener into a beautiful world of color, space and daylight.  The women enjoyed singing this gem, often remarking how "easy" or "great" it felt in the voice.  We often saved rehearsing Radiant Sister until that moment in rehearsal we most needed a lift out of the ordinary.  It can function similarly on a concert program, providing momentum and sonorous beauty.

Sandra Snow
Conductor, Women's Chamber Ensemble
Michigan State University

I was immediately drawn to the evocative quality of Shelley's poem, its scents and sounds, colors and qualities.  The statement "Radiant Sister of the Day" is used as a refrain that calls us to come away to wild woods and plains, lawns and pastures, and the place where earth and ocean meet.  The singing should have a youthful enthusiasm that delights in each new scent and scene, and a momentum, carried forward by the playful rhythms and undercurrent of pulsation to that place where "all things seem only one in the universal sun".

Rain Stick
Boosey & Hawkes (TBA)
Dedicated to the past and present members of The Frederick Children's Chorus, Frederick, MD, Judy DuBose, Founder and Artistic Director, in celebration of their Twenty-fifth Anniversary

Voicing: SSAA chorus with piano and rainsticks
Text: Heaney Seamus (b. 1939) 
Duration: c. 3'30"
First Performance: The Frederick Children's Chorus, Judy DuBose, conductor,
     Frederick, Maryland, May 9, 2010

Judy Dubose, founder and artistic director of the Frederick Children's Choir, commissioned Rainstick for their 25th anniversary in 2010.  After considering many texts with celebratory or sentimental themes, we decided, rather unexpectedly, on Heaney Seamus' delightful poem which describes the sounds and sensations of this natural music-maker.  Surely a novelty in Heaney’s native Ireland, the poet evocatively captures not only its sounds with bits of onomatopoeia (“glitter drizzle” and “sluice-rush”), but also the rather childlike delight in handling one of these sticks, an ingenious new toy.

Scored for three-part treble chorus, piano and eight rainsticks (though there could be more), the music has a certain sense of expectancy, rhythmic vitality, and playfulness.  You can experiment with different kinds of rainsticks (bamboo, cactus, and other materials), length (from as small as eight inches to four or more feet), number and placement.  Suggestions are given as to the “choreography” of these sticks to produce different speed and timbre of sounds, but this is also open to experimentation.   Decide what you like best!


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.  Orchestra 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

I know David Brunner as a very fine composer and person.  For his compositions he always chooses interesting and profound texts.  Simple Boat is a perfect combination of texts from an Irish Fisherman's Prayer and a Buddhist text.  It is an expressive work, composed with great musical integrity and beautiful melodies.  The first performance of Simple Boat was very emotional and moving and had a marvelous response by the audience, who gave a standing ovation.  Thank you, David, for, again, a very valuable enlargement of the choral literature.

Dion Ritten
Conductor, Weeter Gemengd Koor "VIVACE"
The Netherlands

The occasion of an anniversary is always a reason to celebrate.  When my friend Dion Ritten approached me to write a piece for his 25th anniversary with his choirs, I was eager to do so.  What made the project even more compelling was his wish that the concert become an opportunity for greater awareness and a way to contribute to a greater cause.  His choice was the Sierra Leone project of War Child Netherlands.  it was a collaboration I had to be a part of.

The choice of texts was a crucial one for me.  I believe the plight of the child is beautifully captured in the words of the Irish Fisherman's Prayer:  "O Lord, be good to me.  The sea is so great and my boat is so small."  These words of helplessness in the face of an overwhelming sea are the only words sung by the chorus of children.  The adult community of singers respond with two Buddhist writings from The Way of the Bodhisattva:  "Regard your body as a vessel, a simple boat for going here and there.  Make of it a wish-fulfilling gem to bring about the benefit of beings."  "May I be a guard for those who are protectorless, a guide for those who journey on the road.  For those who wish to go across the water, may I be a boat, a raft, a bridge."  This helping community offers itself as the vehicle for crossing the water.  The refrain "a simple boat" recurs throughout the piece, not only as a unifying device, but also a reminder that we, personally, possess the simple means to bring about the benefit of beings.  That we, individually, can be a bridge or boat for those who have need of one.

The Buddhist image of crossing the water or going to the other shore is the movement to enlightenment or awakening, from suffering to liberation, forgetfulness to mindfulness, duality to non-duality.

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

How fortunate we were to be able to commission a piece for singers about singing!  It offered our students an opportunity to reflect and share what singing does for them and for the world.  They were then able to see how the composer set the text to enhance the meaning of the words, offering their own insights for each phrase.  After the premiere, one of our youngest singers said he wanted the last not to stay with him all summer, so the "singing will never be done" until he returns in the fall!  We loved how the children's voices appear and reappear at appropriate moments throughout the SATB setting, with the children and adults playing off of one another.  I cannot think of a more fitting way to celebrate a fifth anniversary than to commission one of our favorite composers to write about singing.  Thank you, thank you.

Carolyn Minear
Director, Orlando, Children's Chorus

Sir Brother Sun
Boosey & Hawkes 48019446 (2007)
In loving memory of former MCC chorister Christie Prieto.  Commissioned by the Miami Children's Chorus, Timothy A. Sharp, Music Director
 
Voicing: SSAA chorus with piano.  Chamber orchestra version full score and parts available
     from the publisher 48019465
Text:  St. Francis of Assisi (1181/82-1226)
Duration: c. 4'
First Performance:  Miami Children's Chorus and players from the New World Symphony,
     Timothy A. Sharp, conductor, Miami, Florida, October 27, 2006

In Sir Brother Sun, David Brunner has crafted another excellent piece for children's chorus and chamber orchestra.  David's melodic idea, voicing and dynamic contrasts make the text of Saint Francis of Assisi breath new life with each statement of praise.  The balance between chorus and orchestra is also what makes this such an excellent composition.  At no time does the texture of the orchestra overpower the voices.  Though wonderful with piano, performing this piece with orchestra is a must.  Only then will you gain a true perspective of each voice as it speaks.

Timothy A. Sharp, Music Director
Miami Children's Chorus

I've had the pleasure, on three occasions, to write commissioned works for the Miami Children's Chorus and their director Tim Sharp.  Both Yo le Canto todo el Dia and Psalm 150 are rhythmic and angular, but with differing message and effect.  The invitation to write a piece for treble singers with chamber orchestra was the perfect opportunity to set a text I've always loved, one which suggested expansive, lyrical lines.

the words of St. Francis of Assisi express a delight in all things of the universe:  earth, wind and air, moon and stars, fire and sun.  They are referred to endearingly as our sisters and brothers, and each enriches our lives with beauty, strength, sustenance, playfulness, radiance and splendor.

Solidaridad
Bosey & Hawkes 48005125 (2003)
In memory of Linette Perez Wilson.  Commissioned by the Richardson All District Elementary Choir, Lindy Perez, Director, for the 2003 Texas Music Educators Association Convention
J. W. Pepper Editor's Choice
 
Voicing: SA chorus with piano
Text: Amado Nervo (1870-1919)
Duration: c. 4'
First Performance:  The Richardson All District Elementary Choir, Lindy Perez, Director,
     at the 2003 Texas Music Educators Association Convention, San Antonio, Texas

The title, "solidarity", symbolizes to me what singing in a choir is all about -- the joining together of a group of people for a common goal -- making beautiful music together.  The text is joyful and uplifting, the perfect poem for a children's choir song.  The rhythms are spirited and playful and truly capture the Latin style of the piece.  The accompaniment cleverly creates text painting of a lark and a waterfall.  The intervals were challenging, but so exciting when we got them right!  Thank you so much for being a part of this music experience for me and the All-District Choir!

Lindy Perez
Richardson All-District Elementary Choir

...a marvelous cross-cultural feature that we recommend very highly!

J. W. Peper & Son, Inc.

Mexican poet Amado Nervo was sometimes referred to as the "monk of poetry", as he had studied for the priesthood but abandoned it for writing.  A leading figure for modernismo, his poetry is known for its simplicity and musical phrasing, both of which attracted me to his poem Solidaridad.  Its short and direct lines command us to sing, jump, run, shine, and fly.  We are like the lark, the waterfall, the brook, the diamond, the eagle.  Finally, like the dawn, we are born.  In solidarity we are all these things.

Southern Gals
Boosey & Hawkes (TBA) 
Commissioned in honor of the Fifth Anniversary of the Girl Choir of South Florida, Wallis Peterson, Artistic Director
 
Voicing: SSA chorus with piano
Text:  The Homespun Dress; Prettiest Little Gal in the County, O; Sourwood Mountain;
     The Black Mustache; When I Was a Young Girl; The Paw Paw Patch
Duration: c. 6’50"
First Performance:  The Girl Choir of South Florida, Wallis Peterson, conductor,
     Fort Lauderdale, Florida, May 16, 2010

When I first began contemplating a piece to commemorate the Girl Choir of South Florida’s fifth anniversary, there were three things of which I was sure: first, that the work be accessible to and compelling for all of our choristers, from the brand-new-to-choir 7 year-olds to the 18 year-olds who had sung with us since our inception; second, that the work  include texts and/or melodies from Folksongs of Florida, as I wished to conclude the musical travels in our concert, Journeys and Destinations, by arriving back here in the south; and lastly, that a “Florida” composer create the piece.  Having seen you work with many treble choirs throughout the years, and having had wonderful musical experiences with my own choirs as we’ve sung your compositions, you were our first choice. 

I speak for all of us in the girlchoir when I say that you not only met, but exceeded our expectations with “Southern Gals”!  The medley format allowed all three of our choirs to sing both independently as well as en masse.  The variety of texts -- tender to cautionary to playful -- were well-chosen for girls, and the musicality and sensitivity of your settings were much appreciated by performers and audience members alike.  “Southern Gals” was just what we had hoped for, and was an outstanding conclusion to our 2010 season!

I would also like to thank you for taking the time to work with our choristers -- your warmth and encouragement, as well as you musical suggestions and insights, made a lasting impact on all of us.

Wallis Peterson, Artistic Director
The Girl Choir of South Florida


Spiritual Musick

Boosey & Hawkes 48020980 (2010)
For the Berks Classical Children's Chorus, Dail Richie, conductor, Reading Pennsylvania
Buffalo Niagara Youth Chorus, John Fleischman, Jr., conductor, Orchard Park, New York
Cantare Children's Choir, Catherine Glaser-Climie, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Cantare Children's Choirs of Oakland, Julie Hayden, conductor, Oakland, California
Cincinnati Children's Choir, Robyn Lana, conductor, Cincinnati, Ohio
Colorado Children's Chorale, Deborah DeSantis, conductor, Denver, Colorado
Con Brio in Columbus, Emily Gill, conductor, Columbus, Ohio
Dunfermline Junior Chorus, Mandy Miller, conductor, Dunfermline, Scotland
Fairfield County Children's Choir, Jon Noyes, conductor, Orange, Connecticut
New Orleans Children's Chorus, Cheryl Dupont, conductor, New Orleans, Louisiana
Princeton Girlchoir, Lynnel Joy Jenkins, conductor, Princeton, New Jersey
Young Naperville Singers, Angie Johnson, conductor, Naperville, Illinois
Youth Choral Theater of Chicago, Paul Caldwell, conductor, Chicago, Illinois

 
Voicing: SSAA chorus with piano, snare drum, brass drum and triangle
Text: Christopher Smart (1722 - 1771) From Jubilate Agno, fragment B, part 4
Duration: c. 2'44"
First Performances: fall 2010 - spring 2011

David Brunner is a major contemporary composer and we in the community of children's choirs are fortunate that he chooses to write for our choristers. Whether setting profound texts in his stunning lyrical style such as in To Be Young and A Song To End All War, or creating energetic rhythms in the incredible Yo le Canto todo el Dia (to mention just a few), David melds wonderfully chosen words with exquisitely crafted music.

David describes the text of Spiritual Musick as “quirky, engaging and enigmatic,” and his music is a perfect match. He has chosen a march-like, declamatory style to portray the playful nature of the rhymes. The vocal lines are quite accessible for the performers, while the challenge lies in complementing an interesting and unique texture comprised of a rhythmic piano accompaniment (marked agitato) and three percussion parts. The result is pure delight!

David was the special guest at our Winter Concert titled “Winter Changes – The Music of David Brunner,” which included seven of his pieces. The choristers and audience alike responded enthusiastically to David’s warmth, grace and amazing musicianship. As Haydn once said of Mozart, I believe may also be said of David Brunner: “He has taste and beyond that the most enormous skill and artistry.”

Jon Noyes
Music Director & Founder
Fairfield County Children's Choir

Spiritual Musick was written for thirteen children’s choirs from the U.S., Canada and Scotland who “purchased” me at the Chorus America silent auction in 2009.  Auction organizer and composer friend Paul Caldwell didn’t have to persuade me to donate this in support of Chorus America’s work. 

The piece is a quirky setting of Christopher Smart’s unusual text from Jubilate Agno, a long free-verse manuscript written between 1759 and 1763, during Smart's confinement for insanity in St. Luke's Hospital, Bethnal Green, London.   The text straddles the fine line between madness and genius, and displays an organization and imagination that rings quite true.  

Benjamin Britten memorably used Smart’s text in his Rejoice in the Lamb, for SATB chorus and organ.  This version is set for treble voices with piano and a little band of snare drum, bass drum and triangle.  It’s a rhythmic, angular, declamatory recitation of the instrument rhimes (“For there is the thunder-stop, which is the voice of God direct. For the rest of the stops are by their rhimes.”)  It will have its thirteen premieres in the 2010-2011 season, as well as a performance by the Children’s Honor Choir at the ACDA National convention, conducted by Henry Leck.

Enjoy the quirky rhymes and odd little melodies.  Really articulate the words, make the music march along, and wonder (along with me) who Baumgarden might be! 

Star Giver
Boosey & Hawkes (TBA)
Commissioned by Dr. and Mrs. Ray and Pam Heller for the Nebraska Choral Arts Society
 
Voicing: SSA chorus with piano
Text: Macrina Wiederkehr
Duration: c. 4'30"
First Performance:  The Nebraska Choral Arts Society/Nebraska Children's Chorus, David Brunner, guest conductor, Omaha, Nebraska, March 11, 2007

When the Nebraska Choral Arts Society commissioned David Brunner to compose a new piece for the combined forces of our many children's choruses, we anticipated a thoughtful setting of text with appeal to a broad listening audience.  When David delivered Star Giver, we were delighted to find our expectations far exceeded.  Star Giver exemplifies that outstanding, yet sometimes elusive, union of text and music unique to the craft of a master composer.

When David traveled to Omaha and rehearsed our children's choirs before conducting the world premier, he was everything one desires in a clinician.  in addition to his gracious manner and consummate musicianship, he immediately developed a positive rapport with our singers.  This is indicative of his nature as a genuine human being, perhaps the most important attribute of a sensitive artist, and that condition which informs the total musician.

After the premiere, I asked the singers in Bel Canto to express their individual impressions of Star Giver in one word.  Their responses included the following:  ethereal, evocative, humanistic, inspiring, interpretive, mysterious, shimmering, soothing and transcendent.  That says it all.

Sean Burton
Conductor, Nebraska Children's Chorus Bel Canto

Sweet Are The Lips Of All That Sing
(TBA)
Written to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Spokane Area Children's Chorus, Kristina Ploeger, Artistic Director
 
Voicing: SSA chorus with piano
Text: Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841-1935)
Duration: c. 3'30"

It was important for us to commission just the right piece to celebrate our 25th Anniversary of the Spokane Area Children's Chorus, so I asked the staff of the chorus who their "dream composer" for this piece might be.  Knowing how beautifully divergent artists are, I expected to wade through quite a few "dream" scenarios from the six individuals giving input.  The answer, however, was completely unified -- David Brunner.  it is no wonder, as we have thoroughly enjoyed the musical grace, extreme attention to text setting and finely sophisticated construction of his music in the past.

Every step in the process of commissioning Dr. Brunner was a joy.  Looking through the texts he provided made me anticipate the piece and our festival even more.  My love of David Brunner's "Sweet Are the Lips of All That Sing" began the moment I read the first pdf.  David knows when to support a unison melody with the most crystalline beauty of a perfect piano part.  He knows how to create a fullness of sound with only treble voices that seems completely full.  And he possesses a perfect understanding of how a tempo can breathe within a line to magnify the meaning of the text and make a truly moving experience for singers and audience alike.

It is always our desire to bring joy and beauty into this world.  Because of David's fantastic musical realization of this beautiful Oliver Wendell Holmes text, and his motivating and uplifting work with all of our children, Leora Schwitters (Ranier Youth Choirs), Kris VanAuken (Oregon Repertory Youth Singers) and I were granted the ability to do this in celebration of our special event.  "Sweet Are the Lips of All That Sing" is everything we dreamed of and more.

Kristina Ploeger
Artistic Director, Spokane Area Children's Chorus

Then, Now, Forever
Boosey & Hawkes 48019169 (2006)
Commissioned by The Children's Chorus of San Antonio in loving memory of Bob McCormick, founding Tour Director
 
Voicing: SSA 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

Beautiful melodies and a setting that brings to life these wonderful texts, Then, Now, Forever was an amazing choral music experience for our singers and staff.  The work was commissioned to honor the memory of my husband Bob, who was a sometime poet and our Tour Director.  Our choirs have performed many of David Brunner's pieces and I am always touched by the way he puts together just the right combination of line, rhythm, thematic textures, accompaniment and style.  David found a poem by artist Bill Worrell that melded perfectly with one of Bob's both using the same three words:  Then, Now, Forever.

During his Guest Composer Residency several days prior to the premiere, David shared insights with our singers about his work as a composer, teacher and conductor.  It was a marvelous time for all of us.  The experience of performing a brand new piece written to honor someone fondly remembered was made so much richer because of David's interaction with our young artists.  He is, as one of our younger choristers remarked, " a real live composer!"

Marguerite McCormick
Artistic Director, The Children's Chorus of San Antonio

The evocative words of Texas artist Bill Worrell's poem "Then, Now, Forever" echo in those of Bob McCormick, to an almost uncanny degree.  "For then, For now, Forever.  It's love that bridges Yesterday to Tomorrow."  The union of breath, hearts and souls are the wings given by the Great Spirit that you and I might fly together in our journeys, and love forever.  This seems a fitting tribute to Bob from the singers in the Children's Chorus of San Antonio and their director, good friend Marguerite McCormick.

This Magicker
Boosey & Hawkes 48019532 (2007)
Commissioned by the Haydn & Handel Society Youth Chorus, Boston, Massachusetts, in celebration of conductor Matthew L. Garrett's 5th Season, 2004-2005
 
Voicing: SSA chorus with piano
Text: James Broughton (1913-1999)
Duration: c. 3'
First Performance:  Handel & Haydn Society Youth Chorus, Matthew Garrett, conductor,
     the Majestic Theater, Boston, Massachusetts, May 14, 2005

David Brunner's music is exquisitely crafted in a way that weds music and text so that both move fluidly from page to audience.  A long-time admirer of his work, I often program his music for us by children's choirs, high school ensembles, and honor choirs at the middle and high school levels.  I recently had the pleasure of working with him on a newly commissioned work for the Handel & Haydn Society Youth Chorus in Boston.  After several initial conversations, we decided upon a remarkable text and, within a few short months, David delivered This Magicker, an inimitable celebration of musicians and all creators of art.  Upon first reading, my students' eyes were transfixed to their scores, only to rise at the release of the final chord, their faces beaming with excitement.  In addition to his attendance at our world premiere of this fascinating work, David was also kind enough to work with the students in a rehearsal setting.  He immediately established a connection with them that demanded their musical best while remaining positive and energetic.  David is a consummate musician whose love for life and people brings out the best in those with whom he works and in those who perform his imaginative pieces of art.

Matthew Garrett
Conductor, Handel & Haydn Society Youth Chorus


This Magicke
r was commissioned by the Handel & Haydn Society Youth Chorus for their conductor (and my friend) Matthew Garrett.  The text was written by James Broughton and subtitled "A Litany for Lou Harrison" in honor of the American composer, in A Lou Harrison Reader, published by Soundings Press in 1987.  I had been attracted to this poem since the days of my doctoral dissertation on the Choral Music of Lou Harrison and have always wanted to set these words, as I thought they quite literally "sang themselves off the page".  A long series of unfortunate events became happy coincidences, as my search for text permission took me to publishers, librarians, neighbors, friends and family of the poet in Mexico, British Columbia, Texas, Washington state, the northeast and finally Bali!  The original text included "a hail and a hallow to the Blessed Lou", which was omitted here to allow for a less specific performance context, though my thoughts while composing were always of Harrison, whose spirit is embodied in the playful rhythms and impish wordplay.  And so, I offer this, in homage to the "Blessed Lou, to our Saint Harrison", as well as the Handel & Haydn Society Youth Chorus, Matthew Garrett, and all us conjurers who delight in the making of music and art.  The text should be stunningly clear and articulate, the singing lighthearted and joyful, with a twinkle in the eye.

To Be Young
Boosey & Hawkes 48004785 (2002)
For the Stetson University Children's Chorus and their director Ann Small.  In memory of Alicyn Bouie.
 
Voicing: SSA chorus with piano
Text: David McCord (1897-1997)
Duration: c. 2'15"
First Performance:  Stetson University Children's Chorus, Ann Small, conductor,
     Stetson University, DeLand, Florida, December 1997

To Be Young is sensitive, singable, and moving.  The text is simple yet profound.  As with all of David's works, the text and vocal parts are appropriate for the age of the choir for which the piece is written, and the piano part enhances the piece, serving integrally as a part of the composition, not just as accompaniment.  David Brunner is a master of melody.  He understands young voices and this piece can be sung well by inexperienced singing.  For best effect it does require musically sensitive conducting.  Its overall effect is stunning... a winner on any choral program.

Ann Small
Director, Stetson University Children's Chorus

This short text is exceptional in sentiment and construction.  It speaks of all that is embodied in youth -- a life that resonates with meaning and purpose, fullness, enchantment and magic.  The wistfulness of mature perspective, however, is present as well.  The piece unfolds simply.

Toucans Two
Boosey & Hawkes 48004504 (1997)  
 
Voicing: SA chorus with piano
Text: Jack Prelutsky
Duration: c. 2'

The rhythm of Jack Prelutsky's witty text inspired this playful, jazzy setting for two-part chorus and piano.  The piano bass line imitates a string bass throughout, the children's spoken voices percussive brushes.  The playful exchange of spoken voice with sung parts is conversational, laid-back and fun!

We Clasp the Hands
Boosey & Hawkes (TBA)
Commissioned by a gift of the Peninsula Girls Chorus 2006 and 2007 Graduating Classes in celebration of the 15th Anniversary season of the Peninsula Girls Chorus, Catherine Doyle Wesolek, Founder and Artistic Director
 
Voicing: SSA chorus with piano
Text: Wendell Berry (b. 1934)
Duration: c. 3'50"
First Performance:  The Peninsula Girls Chorus, Catherine Wesolek, Artistic Director,
     Burlingame, California, June 8, 2008

Viva la Musica!
Boosey & Hawkes (TBA)

Voicing: SSAA chorus a cappella
Text: Traditional
Duration: c. 2'

See listing under Mixed Choirs for annotation.

Who Built the Ark?
Boosey & Hawkes 48004804 (1999)
For the St. Louis Symphony Children's Choirs and their director, Ethelyn Sparfeld, in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Henry McCoy
 
Voicing: SSAA chorus with piano
Text: Traditional Spiritual
Duration: c. 3'
First Performance:  St. Louis Symphony Children's Choir, Ethelyn Sparfeld, conductor,
     St. Louis, Missouri, spring 1998

The children... sang the first time and they were hooked.  They liked the syncopation, word structure, and the phrasing.  It was a big hit with the children and audience... the children were crazy about the piece.

Ethelyn Sparfeld
Artistic Director, St. Louis Symphony Children's Choirs

Winter Changes
Boosey & Hawkes 48004505 (1994)
For Dr. Robert E. Thomas, mentor and friend
 
Voicing: unison chorus with piano.  Orchestral version full score and parts available on
     rental from the composer.
Text: Emily Clare Forsythe
Duration: c. 2'45"
First Performance:  Columbus Symphony Children's Chorus, Sandra Matthias, conductor,
     1994 National Kodaly Conference, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Setting an exquisite text written by fifth-grader Emily Forsythe, David Brunner has created a stunning unison piece for intermediate-level treble choir and piano.  Beginning with a brief piano introduction, this through-composed piece features a flowing melodic line, changing meters, and copious dynamic and expressive markings.  With strict attention to musical detail, a sensitive performance will paint a portrait of winter beauty in the mind of the listener.

The piano part, sparse and mildly dissonant, is most supportive of the voices.  Some wide melodic leaps will give singers good intervallic practice.  The full gamut of the scale from c1 to e2 is incorporated throughout the piece, and the few appearances of f2 and g2 are well-prepared.

The Choral Journal

Emily Forsythe was a fifth-grader when she wrote the poem Winter Changes.  Her mature insight and sensitivity, which are far beyond her years, and her innate lyric sensibility were the impetus for this work.  The asymmetrical meters of the verses lend themselves to an unstructured, through-composed setting, yet there are fragments of the original theme which recur throughout the piece.  A thoughtful yet innocent mood prevails.

Yo le Canto todo el Dia
Boosey & Hawkes 48004679 (1997)
For the Miami Choral Society, Timothy A. Sharp, director
J. W. Pepper Editor's Choice
 
Voicing: SA chorus with piano
Text: Jackeline Rago
Duration: c. 3’
First Performance: The Miami Choral Society, Timothy Sharp, conductor, Miami, Florida,
     May 19, 1996


Yo le Canto is another example of the breadth and diversity of David's compositions.  The children love the rhythmic energy and intensity of this piece.  Yo le Canto is now a part of the core repertoire of the Miami Choral Society.

Timothy A. Sharp, Music Director
Miami Choral Society: A Children's Choir

This piece, written by Florida composer David Brunner for the thirtieth anniversary of the Miami Choral Society, is an energetic, rhythmic, and infectious likeness to the music of Venezuela.  Much information is provided on the cover, and the pronunciation and translation of the six short lines are included.  They are repeated many times in the three-minute setting, along with a syncopated refrain on a neutral syllable.

Much of the piece's energy is provided in the rhythmically challenging piano accompaniment.  Handclaps are added sparingly, but effectively, throughout.  The two vocal lines, both in mid-range, are a little dissonant, more sustained, and independent of the accompaniment.  The vocal parts perform complex rhythmic patterns in tandem.

Both the conductor and the accompanist should be well-prepared before rehearsing the piece; it would be an excellent choir for a festival.

The Choral Journal

You Begin
Boosey & Hawkes (TBA)
Commissioned by the Inverclyde Schools' Junior Choir, Scotland, on the occasion of their 10th Anniversary
 
Voicing: SSA chorus with piano
Text: Margaret Atwood (b. 1939)
Duration: c. 3’15'
First Performance: Inverclyde Schools' Junior Choir, Palma Allan, conductor, Annual
     Schools' Spring Concert, Greenock Town Hall, Scotland, April 2, 2009

"This song for us is an inspiration!  We love it!"  (from Claire and Jenna)

"You Begin is an interesting piece with lots of nuances and a beautiful text!  It's a real privilege to have this song written for us by David!" (from Kerri and Hollie)

"I am one of the eldest members of this choir now and am so glad that I have the chance to sing You Begin.  It is such a beautiful song and I really enjoy singing it.  Thank you David. (from Monica)

Members of the Inverclyde Schools' Junior Choir
Greenock, Scotland

Jubilate Deo
Boosey & Hawkes 48004849 (1999) 
 
Voicing: SSA chorus with brass and organ.  Brass parts available for purchase from the
     publisher 48001621.  Full score and orchestral version parts on rental from
     the composer.
Text:  Sacred Latin text
Duration: c. 3'10"