Archive for the ‘Choir’ Category

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in D minor (Op. 125)

Monday 21 December, 2009

Ludwig van Beethoven @ Wikipedia

Ludwig van Beethoven‘s “Choral” Symphony No. 9 in D minor (Op. 125) was the last symphony he wrote. It is one of the most famous pieces, if not the most famous, in Western classical music. It was completed in 1824 when he was 53 years of age, three years before his death.

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is the first example of a major composer using voices. He uses both an SATB choir and vocal quartet comprising of Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Baritone voices. These appear only in the final 4th movement where we hear the familiar “Ode to Joy” tune. The words were adopted from a poem by Friedrich von Schiller.

Interestingly, Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” tune is used as the “Anthem of Europe“, most notably for the European Union. It is officially played as an instrumental only, and at a much slower tempo than the original.

Below are three videos excerpts of the famous final movement, conducted by one of the world’s most famous conductors Leonard Bernstein. It was recorded in the Konzerthaus Berlin in 1989. Underneath the first two videos are the German text with English translation under each section. Enjoy!




Baritone (solo) (Presto)

O Freunde, nicht diese Töne
Sondern laßt uns angenehmere anstimmen
Und freudenvollere


Oh friends, not these tones
Rather, let us raise our voices in more pleasing
And more joyful sounds

Baritone (solo) with Chorus (Allegro assai)

Freude! Freude!


Joy! Joy!

Baritone (solo)

Freude, schöner Götterfunken
Tochter aus Elysium
Wir betreten feuertrunken
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum

Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt
Alle Menschen werden Brüder
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt


Joy, beautiful spark of gods
Daughter of Elysium
We enter drunk with fire
Heavenly one, your sanctuary

Your magic binds again
What custom strictly divided
All men become brothers
Where your gentle wing rests


Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt
Alle Menschen werden Brüder
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt


Your magic binds again
What custom strictly divided
All men become brothers
Where your gentle wing rests



State Funeral of Professor Chris O’Brien AO

Thursday 11 June, 2009
State Funeral of Professor Chris O’Brien AO

Professor Chris O’Brien and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

~ click on picture above for 60 Minutes interview ~

Our school choir, along with Year 11 and 12 boys and the St. Ignatius College Choir, sang at the state funeral of Professor Chris O’Brien AO (Office of the Order of Australia) at St. Mary’s Cathedral today.

It was a touching and moving tribute to a wonderful and dedicated man. His two sons and daughter were a testament to his great character in giving stirring and awe-inspiring speeches. We were blessed as a school to have one of our old school captains, Chris O’Brien, speak so passionately to us in June last year, where he urged us to become “men of steel”.

The choir sang a beautiful collection of 13 songs, including “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven”, “Crimond – Psalm 23”, “Here I Am, Lord”, “Be Thou My Vision” and their own solo item “Ancient Words”.

Here is a clip of Chris from Sky News in March this year. May his determination, optimism, dedication and compassion inspire you also…

Mothers and Sons Mass 2009

Saturday 9 May, 2009

Attention choristers for Monday night!

Click here to view the “Ensembles – Choir” page which contains YouTube clips of the songs we are doing

Happy Classical Easter

Sunday 12 April, 2009

Wishing everyone a very happy Easter! I thought I’d leave you with some beautiful music by Johann Sebastian Bach, the St. Matthew Passion BWV 244. It was written in 1727 and retells the Passion story according to the gospel of Matthew. The story of Jesus has provided composers with countless opportunities to write amazingly beautiful compositions over the centuries.

Above is Bach’s signature cross which spells “BACH” in German musical notation (clockwise: Bb, A, C, B). Notice the four different clefs and the note in the middle? Bach uses this musical idea in 63B. Chorus “Truly this was the Son of God”. (click it to find out more)

In this composition Bach uses a double choir which quite often alternate between each other (cori spezzati). Bach also utilises a four-part chorale which add intimacy and provide us with recurring melodies (motifs). Soloists also perform two kinds of solos, a recitative and an aria. Recitatives are used to convey the story line through a lot of text. Arias repeat the same idea to show a character’s emotion, such as a lament or love song.

Read the German libretto (words) with English translation

Go to this page to search through the whole performance. See if you can spot the cori spezzati, chorales, arias, recitatives and orchestral interludes.

1. Opening Chorus (Come, Daughters, Help Me Mourn)

67. Recitative (Soli) with Chorus (Now the Lord is Laid to Rest)
68. Chorus (We Sit Down In Tears)

Happy Australia Day

Monday 26 January, 2009

Happy Australia Day! I found this quite amusing website on peoples’ versions of “Advance Australia Fair” called “Advance Australia Dare”. [click here to check it out] I’ve posted some entries below, some funny and others creative. Maybe you could submit your own entry? I hope you enjoy…

4 year old Amy sings the national anthem

Office workers sing the national anthem to the tune of “Flashdance… What a Feeling” from the 1983 film Flashdance

Office workers sing and hand sign the national anthem in Auslan

Malaysian born Tamil-Australian legend Kamahl sings the national anthem

A Merry Musical Christmas!

Friday 12 December, 2008

A huge Merry Christmas to you all! Also a huge thank you for all your tireless efforts toward music in 2008, especially the Year 11 boys! Music is crucial in our school, to foster creativity, personal expression, cultural identity, group work skills and excellence through practice and performance. Without your dedication, commitment and passion our school would be a creative black hole. Have a well earned break and a very merry musical Christmas!

Below is a clip of “Straight No Chaser” from Indiana, USA, who are an all male, ten voice a cappella choir. They have adapted the well known tune “12 Days of Christmas” and added lots of funny additions, such as “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer“, “Carol of the Bells“, “I Have a Little Dreidel” and “Africa” (Toto). It has over 8,770,000 hits on YouTube! Have a safe and relaxing holiday, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do…

And here’s a very cool clip of some Christmas lights set to the music “Carol of the Bells”, it’s crazy!

I will try and add some new material to this site over the holidays, so don’t forget to pop back sometime.