It is now time for your monthly playlist of recommendations, but this time it’s gonna be music with words. Choral music, in other words. Music with a bunch of people singing together.

This playlist has some of those epic/loud/judgment day pieces, a gorgeous piece, and a piece that builds up to epic/loud.

 

1. O Magnum Mysterium- This is the most recently composed work on this list. I just can’t even put into words how gorgeous this piece is and how easy it is on the ears. So I will let the music speak for itself.

2. Denn wir haben hie keine bleibende Statt- This is the longest piece on this playlist so I need to say a lot about it. Plus, it’s been one of my favorites after I got to sing it in my college choir. This comes from Brahm’s famous Ein Deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem), from the Romantic Period. The text is from the German Bible. Much of the text comes from 1 Corinthians 15 (the solo part sung by the guy at 01:05):

Behold I tell unto you a mystery
We shall not all sleep
But shall all be changed
In a moment
In the twinkling of an eye
At the last trumpet

At 2:44, the choir joins in, singing “at the sound of the last trumpet”, building up to the part 3:12, and it starts to get real. Then he announces what will happen after the trumpet sounds (also from 1 Corinthians 15), and the choir tells us (4:21):

Then death shall be swallowed up in victory
Death where is thy sting?
Grave, where is thy victory?

Which comes to the epic climax that you don’t want to mess up (5:54) (singing death (x3) where is thy sting?) . Seriously, it can really ruin the moment if someone comes in at the wrong time. You hear at 6:07 the victory of the text in the music.

The finale then at 6:16, sung in various ways (only in classical music can you get away with singing the same words for 5 minutes)-

Lord thou art worthy to have all praise and honor and might
For by thy good will do all things have their being and are created

3. O Fortuna- (you will probably recognize this) This is from the cantata Carmina Burana. Last time I listened to it, I realized it sounded similar to the style of the Lord of the Rings soundtrack. This version has lyrics so you can hear how the music brings out or conveys the message of the text.

4. Dies Irae from Verdi’s Requiem- Previously, we looked at the Dies Irae theme, but this piece contains the lyrics for the Dies Irae sequence set to the music Verdi wanted. This video has lyrics also (yay). 1:04- This piece is so intense that one of the soloists needed to take a drink of water. But seriously, it does capture the whole judgment and the earth being destroyed thing.

5. Dies Irae from Mozart’s Requiem- Same lyrics, but with Classical Era music, still conveying the idea of judgment and destruction.

6. Worthy is the Lamb/Amen- On a happier note, the epic throne room finale of Handel’s Messiah. For more about this piece, see this post.

Moll

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