music for accomplished choirs

Home 9 Special Collections 9 The Canadian Chamber Choir Series

Noted choral specialists, Dr. Julia Davids and Dr. Joel Tranquila, are co-editors and curators for this special Canadian choral series:  “Welcome to our collection of choral music which offers a worthwhile challenge to fine mixed choirs. My own choirs have delighted audiences with this music. Please click on the audio links below. You can listen to quality recordings as you read through the scores.” J.D. and J.T.

read Julia’s biography here
read Joel’s biography here

And Einstein Said

by Trent Worthington

These short pieces, based on quotes by Albert Einstein, demonstrate the wittiness of the scientist and the brilliance of the composer. One can purchase individual movements or the booklet containing all six vignettes. Listen to the great recordings – by Chronos Vocal Ensemble. Study the scores while you listen.

SATB $6.00 – CP 1491 – And Einstein Said – the COMPLETE collection   – 20:50
SATB – – CP 1492 – And Einstein Said #1 – “Two Ways to Live Your Life”
SATB – – CP 1493 – And Einstein Said #2 – “That’s Relativity”
SATB – – CP 1494 – And Einstein Said #3 – “My Idea of God”
SATB – – CP 1495 – And Einstein Said #4 – “The Unleashed Power of the Atom”
SATB – – CP 1496 – And Einstein Said #5 – “Everything That Can Be Counted”
SATB – – CP 1497 – And Einstein Said #6 – “The Simplest Way”

Brier - (Good Friday)

by Jeff Smallman
poetry by Emily Pauline Johnson

SATB a cappella – KH 009 – duration 2:40

Jeff has created an exciting and worthwhile challenge for an accomplished choir. With deeply profound subject matter, Jeff uses compelling and sometimes dissonant harmonic language to fit the text. Choirs will enjoy the contrapuntal passages and sumptuous sonorities.

Emily Pauline Johnson (10 March 1861 – 7 March 1913), also known by her Mohawk stage name Tekahionwake, was a Canadian poet, author, and performer who was popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Her father was a hereditary Mohawk chief of mixed ancestry and her mother was an English immigrant. Johnson—whose poetry was published in Canada, the United States, and Great Britain—was among a generation of widely-read writers who began to define Canadian literature. She was a key figure in the construction of the field as an institution and has made an indelible mark on Indigenous women’s writing and performance as a whole.

Chanson d’automne

by Robert Ingari  

SATB  a cappella    –    CP 1189   – 2:00
Chanson d’automne is the beautiful sister piece to “Soleils couchants” .  Robert has given evocative impressionistic settings to the Paul Verlaine poetry.  The Vancouver Chamber Choir toured with these two pieces in 2012. 


by Marie-Claire Saindon
poem by Jocelyne Verret

SATB a cappella – CP 2062 – duration 3:45
“Emmène-moi” is a plea to a lover : to be taken to a place where the sun, rain, and storm of their passion cleanses them of everything superfluous, and where nothing remains but their joined essence.
“Emmène-moi” est le cri de cœur d’un amant : de nous emmener vers le soleil, la pluie et la tempête de nos passions pour se laver des impuretés pour se retrouver seuls, ensemble.
Emmène-moi vers l’inédit,
le non-dit, le mal dit, le bien dit.
Take me to that unnamed place,
to the edge of the unbearable.


by Tobin Stokes

SATB a cappella – KH 036   –  duration 4:35
When the angels proclaimed good news to the shepherds, it must have been shocking and exciting.  Tobin’s rendition of Gloria  (in Excelsis) does a fantastic job of approaching that miraculous moment in the Christmas story – with multi-metric up-tempo rhythms and surprising dynamics.

I Asked of God

by Emily Walker

SATB a cappella    –    CP 1417   – 7:45
Listen to the marvelous recording by the Canadian Chamber Choir. Emily adds poignancy to Lucy Montgomery’s prayerful poem. What does God ask of us?  This wonderful composition challenges us to put things in perspective.
watch the special feature on this composition

I Cannot Dance

by Larry Nickel

SSAATBB    a cappella    –    CP 1340   – 4:50
A stunning piece with flamenco rhythms for an accomplished choir; it was premiered by the Salt Lake Vocal Artists at the National ACDA convention in 2015. The text was written by Mechthild of Magdeburg in the 13th century.
This piece was selected by Dr. Julia Davids to be part of the Canadian Chamber Choir Series.
watch the special feature on this composition

i carry your heart

by Scott Reimer
SATB a cappella  –   CP 1845   – 7:00
This famous poem by e.e. cummings illustrates love in its purest form. It expresses the compassionate, profound and warm feelings of the poet for his beloved. Scott’s sensuous music is the perfect marriage for the text.  This composition would be a good fit for accomplished choirs.
watch the special feature on this composition

In Paradisum

by Kathleen Allan

SSAATB a cappella  –    CP 1274   – 5:15
About this piece, Kathleen Allan writes: “In Paradisum was premiered by the UBC University Singers on their 2008 United Kingdom tour. A highly personal work, it was written during my first year in Vancouver and was inspired by my first encounters with the beautiful Pacific coast. Having grown up in a harsher coastal climate on the edge of the Atlantic ocean, I was struck by the calmness and serenity of Vancouver’s seaside. I was inspired to write a poem in honour of my grandfather, an amateur sailor and photographer, who at the time was beginning to succumb to his chronic lung disease in St. John’s. Writing the poem and setting it to music helped me to reconcile the distance between my homes on two coasts, and allowed me to musically express my awe at natural beauty, my grappling with transitions, life and loss, and the profound sense of hope the ocean, regardless of coast, represented to me.”
watch the special feature on this composition

Journey Song

by Mari Alice Conrad

SATB a cappella – CP 2063 – 6:10

Journey Song, is a piece set to a poem written by Canadian poet, Anna Marie Sewell.  The work captures the sacred moments of personal journey experienced in discovering a place for one’s own voice in the all-encompassing Great Song of Life.  The piece is about finding acceptance, moving forward, and making room for all voices that contribute to the interconnected harmonies of life.  From the beginning, the music invites a serene and contemplative atmosphere with a hopeful con moto middle section.  All voice sections have a moment to shine and overall, beautifully features the ensemble with subtle dissonances, long melodic phrases, and expressive dynamics.

I am the Silence Between Two Rivers 

and from this silence, let me follow the Song
O Great Song, at the rising of a well-spring
O Great Song, as I tumble
from this silence to the ceaseless singing sea
let me follow you, swallow you, and sing

Enough light for the journey, and breath enough
enough fire for the journey, and love enough
enough road for the journey, and will enough
and all along the way to hear the song that we are.

O Great Song, in which we all fly home
Great Song, a moment and we’re gone

O Great Song Great River of Song


by Jeff Enns

SATB a cappella  –   CP 1177   – 2:45
Rich harmonic sonorities permeate this piece – painting the poem by Phineas Fletcher (1582–1650).  The music  – with intuitive voice leading – is approachable for most mixed choirs.  Very fine groups have already performed Litany – including DaCapo Chamber Choir and the Canadian Chamber Choir. Appropriate for the church or the concert stage
watch the special feature on this composition

love is more thicker than forget

by Brad Richmond

SATB a cappella    –    – CP 1632   – 3:15
Evocative shimmering harmonies and nice long vocal lines in sweet spot registers bring this ee cummings classic poem to life.

The Lover's Chant

by Matthew Emery

SATB  a cappella  –   CP 1290   – 2:10
They say cream rises to the top and Matthew won the ACCC Diane Loomer award with this choral gem – a beautiful setting of the James Joyce poem. Directors and singers will appreciate the intuitive voice leading, long phrases and meaningful text. 

The Maple

by Garrett Krause

SATB  a cappella    –    CP 1613   – 4:30
This composition is written for accomplished choirs.  Listen to the presentation by the Canadian Chamber Choir. 
Nature lovers will appreciate this tribute to the maple tree – one of the true beauties in the forest.



by Kelly-Marie Murphy

SSAATTBB – cappella – –    CP 1418   – 4:25
“Have mercy” is the first thought in Psalm 51. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and create a right spirit within me.”  Kelly-Marie’s setting of the text is designed for accomplished choirs.  Allegri and Gorecki gave  classic renderings of this text.  Dr. Murphy’s setting is surely in their category of poignancy and excellence.

O Magnum Mysterium

by Jeff Enns

SATB a cappella  –   KH 078   – duration 3:30   
O great mystery, and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the newborn Lord, lying in a manger!
Listen to the exquisite rendition by one of Canada’s finest choirs: the Canadian Chamber Choir

Ring Out Wild Bells

by Stephanie Martin

SATB  a cappella  –  KH 090 – duration 3:30
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Shall I Compare Thee?

by Leora Joy Perrie

SATB a cappella – KH 092 – duration 4:35
Exquisite poetry with music to match; Leora’s rendition of a famous Shakespeare poem comes to life. Listen to the beautiful recording by the Canadian Chamber Choir (one of Canada’s finest choirs).

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.
    So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
    So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

She's Like the Swallow

arr. Jeff Enns   

SATB a cappella –   CP 1276   – 3:50   
This timeless Canadian folk song is arranged for advanced choirs.  Full lush chords bring the text to life.
This composition was chosen to be the first entry into the Canadian Chamber Choir Series.

Soleils couchants

by Robert Ingari  

SATB  a cappella    –    CP 1168   – 2:00
SSAA  a cappella    –    CP 1588   – 2:00
Soleils couchants is a four-part a cappella setting of one of Paul Verlaine’s most famous poems from the collection Poèmes saturiens published in 1866. In his setting of this poem, Robert Ingari uses a simple form where the alto melody accompanied by a vocal ostinato in the soprano, tenor and bass alternates with a four-part section where the melody is taken by the sopranos. The rhythmic repetition of the ostinatocreates a background for the melancholic melody of the altos.    

Song of the Land

arr. Jeff Enns   

SATB with piano  –   CP 1411   – 4:45   
SSA with piano  –   CP 1634 
Several song writers created this wonderful song: Brown, Emerson and Morrison.  Susan Aglukark brought it all to life and popularity with her spirited recording.  Now Jeff has created a setting that will be meaningful and great fun for any choir.

The Song My Paddle Sings

by Matthew Emery

SATB  a cappella  –   CP 1304   – 3:55
SSAA  a cappella  –   CP 1375 
The famous poem by E. Pauline Johnson comes to life with Matthew’s fine choral inclinations. If you’ve ever paddled a canoe – and even if you’ve only seen a mountain lake – you’ll love this poignant composition.
watch the special feature on this composition

Songs are Thoughts

by Lavinia Kell Parker

SSAATB    –    CP 1311   – 7:45
Songs Are Thoughts was selected to be part of the Canadian Chamber Choir Series. This work, winner of the 2010 ACCC Choral Composition Competition for Original Composition, addresses the nature of music and the potential it creates within us. Inuit inspired rhythmic motives juxtaposed with flowing melodic lines mirror the text in both English and Inuktitut.  Written for a fine choir and a skilled piano player, Songs Are Thoughts can be deeply moving.  The piece can be characterized by Orpingalik’s poignant words:
Songs are thoughts, sung out with breath when people are moved by great forces and ordinary speech no longer suffices. . . .
I sing as I draw breath.

Sonnez les Cloches (Frères Jacques)

arr. by Timothy Corlis

SATB – a cappella  –   CP 1277   – 2:15
SSAA – a cappella  –   CP 1716
Never has this simple delightful folk song received such sophisticated treatment. It would be impossible to sleep through this one!

Sonnez les Cloches is a fun twist on the children’s song Frère Jacques. The choir begins with the familiar nursery rhyme and then sounds the bells of Matins with an extended bell ringing session on the words “din dan don!” The piece was commission by the Vancouver Chamber Choir and is dedicated to Michiko Asami, the Canada Friendship Association and the people of Shunan in grateful memory of the choir’s collaboration during their tour of Japan in the autumn of 200

Tabula Rasa

by Don Macdonald

SATB (with divisi) – –  –  CP 1169   – 3:40
Tabula Rasa  – This Latin phrase translates as “Blank Slate” in English.  The composer had a specific image in mind when composing this music. A quiet moment between a mother and child when the mother sees, as she has never seen, the potential of the precious life she holds in her arms. A silent acknowledgement of her child and every child as a “blank slate” with seemingly limitless potential.

This emotionally uplifting work relies on gentle dissonances that ebb and flow with the Spanish text. It has been performed by youth choirs as well as professional ensembles and would make a great choice for festival competition. TABULA RASA was the winning composition of the 2010 DaCapo Chamber Choir NewWorks competition.
watch the special feature on this composition

Tread Softly

by Benjamin Bolden, poem William Butler Yeats

SATB a cappella  –   CP 1407   – 3:30
Winner of the Choral Canada Composition Award (Diane Loomer Award) and premiered by the Canadian National Youth Choir at Podium in 2016, Ben really hit the sweet spot of meaningful and beautiful music for mixed choirs.
watch the special feature on this composition

Vision Chant

by Andrew Balfour

SSAATTBB – a cappella   –   CP 1888   – duration 3:30
Vision Chant incorporates the Ojibway word, “babamadizwin”, which means “journey”.
This is an excerpt from a larger work, Bawajigaywin, commissioned by the Kingston Chamber Choir.
Listen to the convincing rendition by the Canadian Chamber Choir (director – Dr. Julia Davids)
watch the special feature on this composition

Based on an Indigenous chant style, this work is striking for both its stillness and its intensity.  The journey that is evoked begins and ends with a soprano melody, at first divided and then, symbolically perhaps, unified. What takes place in between these musical bookends is the vision itself. The vision described in the title and painted in the music is somewhat fearsome at its climax. For comfort, Grandmother (Nokomis) and Grandfather (Mishomis) are called upon. By the conclusion, there is resolution, and perhaps of awakening to a sunrise.