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Thread: Favourite Choral Symphonies

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    Default Favourite Choral Symphonies

    I remember being mind blown and the choir coming in in Mahler's 2nd symphony (finale). That made me forever love choral symphonies. Some of my favourites are Beethoven's 9th, Brian's 'Gothic Symphony', Vaughan Williams' 1st and Mahler's 8th. Do you have any suggestions for symphonies like these?

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    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    Myaskovsky's 6th would be my suggestion.
    No internet (and therefore no TC) for me from end October until end November.

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    Senior Member Blancrocher's Avatar
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    Szymanowski's 3rd, Nielsen's 3rd (with voices, but no text), Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, Berio's Sinfonia, and Schnittke's 2nd are my favorite (non-Mahlerian) choral symphonies that haven't been mentioned.

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    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    IIRC, Nielsen 3 has a soprano and baritone, but not a choir.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Rock View Post
    IIRC, Nielsen 3 has a soprano and baritone, but not a choir.
    True--just started slipping things in, just in case they appealed. I should have qualified.

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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    There's a good list here.

    Choral symphonies

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    Senior Member Robert Pickett's Avatar
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    Shostakovich 13 is my favourite choral symphony, beyond the obvious. Female voices don't get much of a look-in, though...!

    Then there's Mendelssohn 2, and the two big Liszt symphonies to consider, as well as the rather eccentric Scriabin First. Is his Prometheus a symphony? If so, that one too.

    Slightly off the beaten track, you might like Holmboe's Sinfonia Sacra (No.4), or his earlier Danish compatriot Asger Hamerik's Seventh and final symphony.
    Last edited by Robert Pickett; Oct-21-2018 at 17:20.

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    Also Hausegger´s Natursymphonie, mentioned in the link. And Sibelius´ Kullervo.
    Last edited by joen_cph; Oct-21-2018 at 21:42.

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    A choral symphony that has not been mentioned so far is Joseph Guy Ropartz's Symphony No. 3 for orchestra, choir and soloists, composed in 1905-06: the Michel Plasson/Orchestre du Capitole de Touleouse recording is the one to hear, IMO:



    Nor has Hector Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette been mentioned. It was actually Berlioz that coined the term "choral symphony" in his written introduction to this work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rq70kveJxrw

    Among current composers, Per Nørgård's Symphony No. 3 might be of interest, if you're open to contemporary music (the Leif Segerstam recording is the one to hear): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RY0F8D6lIkA

    While not symphonies per se, my favorite works for chorus & orchestra include the following: the "Sirènes" movement from Claude Debussy's Trois Nocturnes is a truly ingenious composition for chorus and orchestra; as is Maurice Ravel's ballet Daphnis et Chloe, and Nikolai Tcherepnin's ballet Narcisse et Echo. Gabriel Pierne's ballet Cydalise et le chevre-pied is worthy of mention too (though I doubt his work would exist without Debussy, Ravel & Tcherepnin's examples to follow). I'm fascinated by how 'other worldly' these composers can write for chorus and orchestra (especially Debussy & Ravel).


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dq3cylIaVGI
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luz-_IlZvgg
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uz2H...MXLFszijKR1S_q

    Though it's not a symphony either, Beethoven's Choral Fantasia in C minor for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 80, should be mentioned; as should Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, which is a 'tour de force' for chorus and orchestra: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vG30Od_yK4I

    Otherwise, it's the usual suspects, among symphonies, & my personal favorites are Beethoven's 9th and Mahler's 2nd and 3rd. However, Mendelssohn's 2nd Symphony "Lobgesang", Liszt's "Faust" and "Dante" symphonies, Mahler's 8th, Vaughan Williams 1st "A Sea Symphony" and 8th "Sinfonia Antarctica", Sibelius' "Kullervo", Op. 7, Britten's Spring Symphony, and Shostakovich's 13th Symphony "Babi Yar" are worth hearing too. I'd also suggest Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, Rachmaninov's The Bells, Op. 35, and Szymanowski's Symphony No. 3 "Song of the Night".

    More off the beaten path:

    1. Jan Hanus, Symphony No. 7, "The Keys to the Kingdom", Op. 116 (I don't believe this work has ever been recorded? If anyone knows of a recording, I hope you'll mention it).
    2. Erkki-Sven Tüür, Symphony No. 7 "Pietas": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9D7r...N-xvN61zajJFJS
    3, 4, 5. Alan Hovhaness, Symphony No. 58 "Sinfonia Sacra", Op. 389, Symphony No. 23, "Majnun", and Symphony No. 12, "Choral":
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9Gd_tn5jgI
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUN2PrjAoWI
    6. Alexandre Tansman, Symphony No. 6 "In Memoriam": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6hfCM2an50
    7,8. Hilding Rosenberg, Symphony No. 4, "The Revelation of Saint John", and Symphony No. 5 "The Keeper of the Garden":
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=665i3ptVrBc
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMePqoRdIwA
    9. Charles Tournemire, Symphony No. 6: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKTRQXty4oE
    10. George Enescu, Symphony No. 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHFuCt1HIdU
    11. Peter Mennin, Symphony No. 4 "The Cycle": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3m4dyZVORc
    12. Kurt Atterberg, Symphony No. 9 "Sinfonia Visionaria": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNvRrYtMp8E
    13. Edmund Rubbra, Symphony No 9 "The Resurrection": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DV_8...854bdRScax_7eK
    14. Einar Englund, Symphony No. 6, "Aphorisms": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRbCpYHjtGw
    15. Howard Hanson, Symphony No. 7 "A Sea Symphony": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXpo...031BD&index=25
    16. Hans Werner Henze, Symphony No. 9: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIll...0CC54CF0BD8225
    17. Cyril Scott, Symphony No. 3 "The Muses": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVDuSrIPvGM
    18. Havergal Brian, Symphony No. 1 "The Gothic": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRdozy4l07g
    19. Krysztopf Penderecki, Symphony No. 7 "Seven Gates of Jerusalem": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaGqGEr2-dE
    20. Darius Milhaud, Symphony No. 3 "Te Deum":
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qn_1lwCXWHI
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBlSD835038
    Last edited by Josquin13; Oct-21-2018 at 20:20.

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    I'm very fond of the Villa-Lobos' Symphony No. 10 Amerindia, Langgaard's Symphony No. 2 (though he composed others with chorus such as the No. 15), Berlioz Symphonie funèbre et triomphale and Kabalevsky's Symphony No. 3. Weingartner wrote his 7th Symphony as a choral one, but it's not very interesting, rather generic.

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