Home 9 Composers 9 Larry Nickel 9 ART SONG

Through the Valley of the Shadow - the original

by the original singer

Through the Valley of the Shadow - as art song

by soloist, violin, clarinet, cello and harp

Fratres in unum - as art song

by Ray Harris (tenor), Betty Suderman (piano), Calvin Dyck (violin) | Songs of Ascents

Fratres in unum - for chamber choir and chamber instruments

by Vancouver Chamber Choir - directed by Jon Washburn | Songs of Ascents

Fratres in unum - for chorus and orchestra

by University of BC - directed by Bruce Pullan | Songs of Ascents

Thoughts on Art Song by Dr. Larry Nickel:

I’ve written six song cycles over the years, starting with “Songs of Isaiah” in 1987 (eight songs); recorded for CBC radio by soprano, Ingrid Suderman and pianist Linda Lee Thomas. Several of those songs were later arranged for choir – and are still being performed today. (But the original art-song is very rarely heard anywhere) I have found that writing art song is a great way to get started – to explore ideas which I might not attempt while composing a choral commission. (My writing for choir is generally more conservative because of standard vocal limitations)

Unless you are employed like Mozart, writing for the Prince’s tea-time guests, one would have a hard time making a living writing art song/chamber music. From a publisher perspective, art song does not sell well and often fades away into obscurity. But using those fresh ideas for choral music makes good sense. Then the song can become more viable in the marketplace.

Fratres in unum (Brothers in Unity) began with art song (from my song cycle called “Songs of Ascents”). This was expanded for small choir and chamber orchestra and also for the full forces of large chorus and orchestra. Please listen to the progression; from an acorn to an oak tree.