Composer's Notes

I. by Topic

Opportunity: Are you interested in giving the Premier performance of a new choral work?

I'm looking for choirs interested in giving premier performances of new works! Use the Contact page to inquire or express your interest!

Conductor Tip #1 - Use instruments to double voices that need support

Sopranos having difficulty with some high notes? Add a flute, oboe or clarinet to play the soprano line. Altos losing their way? Add a clarinet or cor anglais for support. Don't have the tenor section you need to perform an SATB work? A bassoon or bass clarinet can fill in for missing tenors.  Basses need a boost on those low notes? Try adding a trombone, euphonium, bassoon or bass clarinet.  

Consider using an instrument to double missing voices or parts that need support! There's a good chance you have some instrumentalists in your choir, school or community. 

Conductor Tip #2 - Use available instruments to substitute for instruments that aren't available

You don't have to pass on performing a piece accompanied by handbells just because you don't have handbells.  Substitution is perfectly acceptable, and can result in some interesting, creative new sounds!

Recordings, Videos and Performances

I am always interested in hearing recordings, viewing videos or hearing about performances of my works.  Conductors and performers are invited to contact me through the Contact page on this website.

II. by Title A-Z

ALONE / TOGETHER  ★ New in 2020

"Alone / Together" was written in 2020 for accomplished SATB choir accompanied by an electronic soundtrack! The lyrics describe feelings resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, moving from "alone in an unfamiliar landscape", to "reaching out" to each other, then closing with working "together". The soundtrack is quite musical, combining natural sounds such as birdsong and wind, electronically modified and electronically synthesized instrumental sounds.  The effect has been described as "orchestral".

This piece has not been premiered yet.

Available for purchase from the composer using the Contact page.

CANADIAN SEASONS SONG CYCLE

The Canadian Seasons Song Cycle is a set of four works for two-part treble choir accompanied by piano and melody bells.

Handbells, glockenspiels, xylophones or other melodic bells can be used.

The four works are:

Snow and Ice 

Mist and Rain - click here to hear an excerpt
Sun and Thunder

Leaves of Red and Gold

The cycle can be performed starting with any season, but the seasons should be sung in the order that they occur in nature.  Although two of the four seasons have been performed, the complete cycle has not had its world premier. 

I am looking for a choir to give the premier performance of the full work!

COME WITH ME ON HORSES

The original two-part version is published by Alliance Music.  ★ New SSAA and SATB versions are now available for purchase from the composer using the Contact page.

THE HELIOS TRIPTYCH

I was one of three composers selected to participate in the INTERPLAY 2017 workshop offered by Jon Washburn and the Vancouver Chamber Choir.  This work was thoroughly rehearsed and scrutinized, with feedback provided by the conductor and members of the choir.  I was privileged to attend the world premier performance by the Vancouver Chamber Choir that spring.

Click here to hear the concert performance.

MISSA BREVIS

The Missa Brevis was written at age 21 for my Senior Composition recital.  In 1981 it was recorded by the St. Mary Magdalene Singers, (conducted by Robert H. Bell) for the Celebration program on CBC-FM, produced by John Reeves.  That recording resides in the CBC Radio archives. The 2020 edit updates the text slightly to make it all-inclusive.

It is performed here by a student choir from the University of Calgary.

SEARCHING  ★ New in 2020

When I started writing “Searching”, I was thinking specifically of two groups: members of the LGBTQ community; and young people who are trying to make sense of the world, to find their place in the world, and to make a meaningful, positive difference.  Very quickly, I realized that so many people are often marginalized by mainstream society; people living with significant issues like homelessness, domestic violence, or mental illness; being a member of a First Nations community; an immigrant or refugee; or being part of any group that has been and still is treated unfairly. The list goes on and on.

 

“Searching” gives voice to our personal quest for answers in modern life. It provides an opportunity for thoughtful dialogue about real issues that many people face in their daily lives. I hope that it also gives singers and audience members pause for thought; a gentle reminder to be kind, and to consider that the words and actions of others are driven by circumstances in their own lives.

 

Performance notes:

Instrument substitutions are perfectly acceptable.  If you don’t have a glockenspiel/orchestra bells or ‘cello, other melody bells, a bassoon, or a piano will work just as well. (Note that glockenspiels sound an octave higher than written.) Some electronic keyboards have reasonable facsimiles, too.  Feel free to get creative and do what works for you.

Virtual "At Home Choir" performance - audio only

Virtual "At Home Choir" performance - YouTube slideshow

SHE'S LIKE THE SWALLOW

This arrangement is for SATB choir accompanied by piano and flute, or string quartet and flute.  I was honoured to attend the world premier performance by London Pro Musica, with the piano and flute accompaniment.  You can hear an excerpt form their performance here.

I'd love to hear a performance with a string quartet!  You are invited to use the Contact page if you have a recording or video to share.

SONGS OF LOVE AND DESPAIR

This is a brand new setting of four poems by Sarah Teasdale.  Together, they tell a story that begins with the exhilaration of love, followed by heartbreak, leading to despair. The subtext opens the possibility of discussion about mental health issues and support available today.  You are invited to use the Contact page if you are interested in giving the premier performance of this new work.

THREE HAIKU

I would like to thank the teacher who introduced me to Japanese Haiku, along with another teacher who invited members of my high school Psychology class to each bring a piece of music that had personal significance.  A classmate brought “Japanese Koto Classics”, (Nonesuch H 72008), opening up a whole new world of music for me!  My thanks go to teachers everywhere, who may never know how significant their work can be to the lives of their students!

 

The piano part of my “Three Haiku” is meant to evoke the sound of the koto, and the flute to be reminiscent of the Japanese wooden flute.  Any choir that has access to a harpist or koto player is invited to use these instruments instead of the piano.  A wooden flute would certainly add another dimension of authenticity! 

 New SSAA and SATB arrangements of Three Haiku are now available! Contact / Order

 

Performing rights administered by SOCAN
   

© 2020 D. Geoffrey Bell