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I started with JS Bach`s Mass in B minor and Palestrina`s missa Papae Marcelli 20 years ago, both would be good starters.
Always good, I think I was 15 years that my mother took me to see the "St Matthew Passion"
 

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I started with Herreweghe/Collegium Vocale Gent's versions of Bach's Mass in B Minor, and Monteverdi's Vespro Della Beata Vergine. Both delightful. Herreweghe seems to have a slightly lighter 'touch' than others which works for me. Might be the same for you.
 

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I mentioned Bach cantatas (in general and a few specific ones) in #4 in favor of his longer choral works for a beginner. The motets could be added to that and also some Psalms or the funeral music (Musikalische Exequien) by Schütz. But most people find early mid-17th century music a bit tougher than late baroque.
 

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Always good, I think I was 15 years that my mother took me to see the "St Matthew Passion"
:rolleyes: Wonderful kind of pilgrimage. I always remember the old theatre of my town which is demolished now, where my childhood was condensed with movies and musical performances(The screen was an oldtyle large piece white curtain, a stage for actual performance is behind it when lifted up).
 

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I don't think I've seen a mention of Bach Cantatas.
Bach cantatas are varied in styles and individual pieces in numbers, so probably no one can be sure which to recommend. Me too, I would always recommend large scale pieces like masses or Te Deum of Marc Charpentier.
 
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:rolleyes: Wonderful kind of pilgrimage. I always remember the old theatre of my town which is demolished now, where my childhood was condensed with movies and musical performances(The screen was oldtyle white curtain, a stage for actual performance is behind it).
Mine was a church, wooden seats .:(
 

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Mine was a church, wooden seats .:(
Nobody dares to ruin the church then, it could be the most wonderful property of the church, those wooden benches and old scratches are a part of the romance. Chinese billionaires are buying up protected by govt old houses with old wooden stuffs and selling us concrete skyscrapers. :eek:
 

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Many pieces like large scale oratorios are a bit long and can try ones patience if one is not used to them. So I'd try shorter pieces around 30-40 mins.

Bach: Magnificat, also try some of the famous cantatas like BWV 80 (A mighty fortress/Ein feste Burg...) or 140 (Sleepers, awake!/Wachet auf...) that have the eponymous chorale tune as "frame" and a good mix of choral and solo movements.

Handel: Dixit dominus, Utrecht Te Deum, Chandos anthems

Pergolesi: Stabat mater

Mozart: "coronation mass" K 317, Mass in c minor (a bit longer but you can split it up in parts)

Haydn: Nelson mass (in angustiis) and Mass in time of war (in tempore belli)
I second that. Bach's Magnificat and BWV 80 Cantata feature some of his best chorales and solo arias and it's not as long and demanding (and gloomy) as the Passions.

And in the two mentioned Haydn masses, we get to know Haydn's most dramatic side, from the time of the Napoleonic wars. Quite different from most of his symphonies and the cliché of "happy Haydn / serious Beethoven"

From 20th century choral music, I recommend you to check Ligeti (Lux Aeterna) and Messiaen (Trois petites liturgies)
 

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I'd politely suggest trying:
Allegri: Miserere
Pergolesi: Stabat Mater
Beethoven: Mass in C major (then move on to the other mass, which is quite good!)

I'd also recommend the Janáček Glagolitic Mass, but a wildly unconventional mass by a confirmed agnostic is maybe not the best place to start, even if it is one of the great choral works of the last century.
 

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Messe de requiem: Prélude - Requiem aeternam (Live)

Les Pages et Les Chantres, Orchestre des musiques anciennes et à venir, Olivier Schneebeli

Campra: Messe de requiem & In convertendo
 

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I have to admit: for a very long time, I've generally found most vocal music somewhat dull. I expressed that sentiment from the start of my love of classical music, as a kid. Why exactly, I can't say.

But recently, I've been dipping my toes into the immense depths of that genre. And I've found myself most attracted (so far) to sacred or sacral-based music. The only problem is I'm a bit lost as to what would be a good piece for a newbie like myself, to start with as a first. First piece here, as in a first to listen through completely. I've so far only been sampling bits here and there.

If I sound a bit naïve here, I'm sorry about that. I guess it's what happens when you ignore something as expansive as this for so long.
Bach's Magnificat would be a good starting point. In this video you're provided a translation of the text in subtitles.
 

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Brahms A German Requiem [Focuses on comforting the living-- doesn't follow Requiem text]

Dvorak Stabat Mater

Janacek Glagolitic Mass [In Old Czech not Latin. The composer was an atheist but you wouldn't be able to tell from the music]

Berlioz Te Deum [Grand]

Arvo Part-- Credo (Summa) [Short and beautiful]

Schnittke Requiem [avant-garde]

Ligeti Requiem [eerie, used in 2001: A Space Time Odyssey]

Rutter Requiem

Brunel Earthquake Mass

Monteverdi Vespers [One of my favorite choral works]

Monteverdi Missa in illo temporae

Schubert Mass No 6

Mendelssohn's Elijah [One of my favorite works because of its storyline]

Stravinsky's Mass

Byrd Mass for Four Voices

Beethoven Heiliger Dankgesang [A movement from a string quartet; depicts praying for relief and being healed of an illness and feeling new strength]

CPE Bach's Magnificat
 
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