Sacred music for clarinet and choir

Last week I was invited to play a few solo pieces with the choir of First Community church in Columbus. The music minister, Ronald Jenkins, is also the chorus master for the Columbus Symphony chorus, one of the best all volunteer choruses in the country.

The two pieces I played were written for 4 part choir, organ and clarinet obbligato. They were The Lord is My Light and My Salvation by John Rutter, and Be Filled with the Spirit by Craig Courtney.

Here is my recording of the Rutter with the First Community Church choir.

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I have always liked John Rutter's music for orchestra and chorus, and I have played much of it with Ron Jenkins, who hires a full orchestra several times a year to do such repertoire.

Rutter writes well for the clarinet. The soaring lines and hushed pianissimos of The Lord is My Light and My Salvation lay well on the clarinet, and the scherzo middle section shows off the clarinet's ability in perky staccato.

When playing with such a strong singing group as this one, I had to use a full orchestral tone to project, especially since Rutter writes much of the clarinet part in the middle range of the instrument.

The Courtney piece is also well written, with a similar tessitura and style; soaring melismatic lines, appropriate for the clarinet with its legato tone. I'll see if I can get a recording to post here.

Both these pieces are appropriate for good amateur clarinetists to play. If your church has a decent choir, ask your music director about performing them.

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9 comments for “Sacred music for clarinet and choir

  1. March 1, 2010 at

    David, I can't thank you enough for your blog, inspiration and the music recordings too! I'm a member of a good church choir, and an amateur clarinetist — I know my choir director will love working on these pieces! So glad I started following you on Twitter! 😀

    • March 1, 2010 at

      Thanks Jules. I hope to put up a recording of the Courtney soon. Thanks for your comment and support!!

  2. James Langdell
    March 1, 2010 at

    Until you post a recording of your own performance of Courtney's "Be Filled With The Spirit" (which I look forward to hearing), it can be heard at the publisher's web site:

    • March 1, 2010 at

      Thank you for that link James. It's a lovely recording. Who is playing clarinet?

      • March 1, 2010 at

        I agree, David. That is a beautiful anthem! Thanks for the link, James!

      • James Langdell
        March 7, 2010 at

        I don't know. I didn't see any performer credits for this recording at the Beckenhorst publisher's web site.

      • March 8, 2010 at

        Thanks James. I assumed you might work there. I'll write to them.

        — Sent from my Palm Pre

  3. willliam wendt
    February 27, 2010 at

    that was a beautiful performance. Too bad more churches do not have music like this played in their services. Nice idea to share this with the rest of us. William Wendt Pinehurst, NC

  4. Arne
    February 26, 2010 at

    I really enjoyed this, David. A beautiful performance all around—and certainly from you.

    There are many characteristics to enjoy with your Hawkins B/Legere setup. I do like the breadth of the sound, as well as the round mellowness. It is very much the modern international sound. And I am a fan of that, as you know.

    I know we both also have one foot in the Marcellus camp, and it is tempting to want to try and put the other foot back there as well. But a decision needs to be made, doesn't it? And wonderful music can come from many different campsites!

Comments are closed.