Please recommend some special choral music.

Many years ago (1998/99) I was walking past the Toronto Eaton Center. It was pretty late (after midnight) during the christmas season, and I was feeling a bit down and out at the time.
As I approached the window displays I heard what I can only describe as some of the most beautiful music I have ever had the priveledge of hearing.
Unfortunately due to circumstances I was never able to ask at the store what the piece was, and by the time I was able to do so (MUCH later) the store was in the process of being sold off and no one could help.
I’ve spent a large amount of time in libraries and university music areas listening to choral pieces with no luck yet, but I still hope I will someday stumble on whatever piece I had heard. (It really brought me out of the depression I was in).

With that preamble, can anyone suggest/recommend some choral music?
Something that they found to be particularly beatiful/moving? It doesn’t have to be christimas related or even religious, but it should be uplifting, even if melancholy.
I’m hoping someone else will have loved that piece and I will stumble on it as a recommendation, and even if I don’t I hope to be introduced to pieces I can enjoy.

For what its worth, the piece I’ve been looking for was I’m fairly certain religious in nature and sung by children (ya, I know, narrows it down a bit eh? :smiley: ).

“Ode to Joy” comes to mind, naturally. (I like the version included in the Immortal Beloved soundtrack.)

After that…Jisas Yu Holem Hand Blong Mi and God yu Tekkem Laef Blong Mi from the album Melanesian Choirs: The Blessed Islands (Chants from The Thin Red Line). As you may have guessed, they’re from the soundtrack to The Thin Red Line. Not European choral music, if that’s important, but damned beautiful.

In the same vein, Baba Yetu from the Civilization 4 soundtrack is outstanding, as well. It’s a Swahili version of the Lord’s Prayer, I understand.

And of course, I have to reccomend a number of songs from the soundtrack to Alexander Nevsky. “Plescheyevo Lake;” “Arise, People of Russia,” and the Final Chorus, to name but a few. Not pure choral pieces, but with a signifigant vocal element.

The Verdi Requiem and the Rachmaninoff Vespers are some of my more mainstream favorites. If you want to go off the eaten path a bit, check out the Rustavi Choir. Or for something a bit more contemporary, Benjamin Britten or Francis Poulenc or Arvo Part.

P.S. The piece you mention - could you tell us more about it? What style/period? What language was it sung in? Other instrumentation, or a cappella? Now that I think of it, a number of Britten’s choral works are either for, or include, children’s choir.

I wish I could provide more. It was pure vocal (no instruments at all) and it was a children’s choir (I’ve spent a large amount of time listening to th Vienna’s boy choir). Other than that I THINK it was religious (made me think of a church choir I once heard), but I couldn’t tell you the language at all.
I was very low at the time I heard it and all I remember is how uplifiting it was. Actually embarrassed to admit it but it made me weep some when I heard it. Other than that, I’ve nothing to go on. Wish I did, I really do.

(And just in case anyone needs to be told, this is the last movement of Beethoven’s 9th symphony).

And if you like that, check out his “Choral Fantasy.” It starts out as a solo piano work and morphs into a big, Ode-to-Joy-ish choral finale that, in a good performance, can really get your blood pumping. (But it’s not the specific piece the OP heard.)

Could it have been Barber’s Adagio? It could have been re-voiced for a children’s choir.

Arvo Part will blow your mind away. Start with Te Deum and go from there.

Choirs in the Scandinavian-settled regions of the US (Minnesota, Wisconsin, et al), raised in a tradition of the choral music of Olaf Christiansen and F. Melius Christiansen, tend to perform the kind of exquisitely beautiful choral music that makes everyone who ever sang in a choir wish they were in one now.

Until I read “no instruments”, the first things that came to mind were “Balulow” and “There is no Rose” from Britten’s “Ceremony of Carols”. That has harp accompaniment.

Other than that, it could have been almost anything. Just to start, you’d have to go to Amazon and listen to samples of all the seasonal songs on CDs for boys choir or children’s choir. It’s possible it was a Toronto area choir. You might find the same piece done by the women of a mixed choir.

Non-seasonal, harp accompaniment, usually done by women rather than children: Holst, “Hymns from the Rig Veda”, group three.

Probably not precisely what you’re looking for, but I have a really cool recording of Bach’s cantata no. 140 (Wachet Auf) with, in part, a boys chorus singing the first movement, along with some adult basses. The “hallelujah” part just makes me topple over and turn into a pile of twitching jello on the floor, from sheer ecstasy.

(The third movement duet will also make you wet your pants and cry from joy.)

I don’t suppose you remember the melody, do you? If so, could you whistle or hum any of it?

I was listening to some of the choral music on my iPod today, and I thought about your post when I heard Morten Lauridsen’s “O Magnum Mysterium.”

I get chills whenever I hear it.

Reminds me of my High School choir :slight_smile: