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"Weird" music recommendations for High School Treble Choir

I have a group of High School Girls who is pretty decent, and we recently worked on some of "Suite de Lorca" by Rautavaara, and they (surprisingly to their director, anyway) really enjoyed/responded well to the real weirdness of it.     It was at the top end of our difficulty level, that's for sure, but I was wondering if anyone else had ideas of 'weird' music that could be done at a High School Level.  
 
To be clear, I'm not thinking 'cute' or 'snaps sound like the rain' kind of stuff.   That's fine.  I mean what our audience of parents and friends would think is either 'ugly' or 'weird' or maybe, on a good day 'thought-provoking' or 'interesting'.    Maybe even one day, 'cool'.    
Replies (31): Threaded | Chronological
on February 3, 2016 9:02am
Derek Holman's "Rattlesnake Skipping Song" is totally accessible to learn and weird at the same time. It's a great piece--I recommend it. 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 3, 2016 11:26am
AGLEPTA…………………………….… Arne Mellnäs
        Walton Music HL08500328
 
IN TABERNA QUANDO SUMUS…………………………….… Damijan Močnik
        Astrum Music Publications AS 33.031/14
 
 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 3, 2016 11:43am
An Immorality - Aaron Copland - SSA and piano.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQ80OhD41sc
 
 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 3, 2016 12:44pm
Libby Larsen's "Jack's Valentine" is challening but short and fun.  I programmed it several years ago for a program that centered on music about love and romance.  My students decided that it was instead a "creepy stalker" song and came up with a hilarious zombie-based interpretation.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 3, 2016 2:47pm
Hi Andy,
 
If you like it then I will gladly send you perusal copies.
 
Best
Mårten
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 11, 2016 4:20am
That's awesome!! I'd love to see that!!
on February 3, 2016 6:13pm
If you get a chance, you might look through some YouTube clips of the Tapiola Children's Choir (Finland), Gondwana Voices (Australia) and The Australian Voices (SATB, but worth a look). Each of these choirs has repertoire that includes suitably "weird" techniques.
Applauded by an audience of 3
on February 4, 2016 3:16am
Hi Andy - if your girls are comfortable with chromatics and unusual harmonic progressions, this SSA setting of "Drop, drop, slow tears" should be right up their street:
http://www.hutchingsmusic.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/DropDropSlowTears-watermarked.pdf
(there is a recording but it had some wrong notes so I've not put it online yet - let me know if you'd like to hear it.)
 
"Thou Knowest, Lord" (SSAA), might also be of interest: http://www.hutchingsmusic.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/8-thouknowestlord-watermarked.pdf
(recording at https://soundcloud.com/hutchingsmusic/thou-knowest-lord-the-secrets - this was a featured piece on the Showcase a few weeks ago)
Again, the main "weirdness" is in the harmonies - the chords move from A major to Eb major and back again quite swiftly.
 
Hope these are of interest - please email me (chris(a)hutchingsmusic.co.uk) to order copies or discuss further.
 
Chris
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 4, 2016 4:42am
Mulligatawny Macbeth by John Govedas
We Will Find Each Other by Ryan Lott (YPC Radio Radiance commissioning series)
A Pentatonic Alleluia by Ross Whitney
Miniwanka by Murray Schafer
 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 4, 2016 6:11am
Please check out the website www.eastendwomenschoir.com. We have been performing as a group for almost 3 years and our repertoire is quite unusual. 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 4, 2016 1:07pm
Here are some of the novelty songs that we have performed over the years:
Fruitcake - Hagemann  (Christmas season)
Mary Had a Little Blues - Collins (nursery rhyme)
The Breakfast Fugue - DeCesare (great for Mother's Day)
The Kazoo Koncerto - Donnelly
Bittersweet Tango - Barnes (about chocolate)
Caffeine Overload Polka - Barnes ( a hymn to Starbucks)
 
Bill Paisner
Director, Southwest Women's Chorus
on February 11, 2016 4:23am
Thanks, everyone! These are some great suggestions. I'm glad to know there's stuff like this out there-thanks for making the hunting easier!
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 15, 2016 5:40pm
Fülemüle by Orbán György
Definitely weird and difficult, but something your girls could grow to love.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 16, 2016 7:34am
Hi Andy. This is definitely wierd– my setting of J.A. Linden's clever palindrome "Widows ate wives once, that believe I well..." However, it ends "Well, I believe that once... wives... ate...widows."  In the setting it is folowed by a polite little hiccup. It is for four groups of singers of any sex, the performance in the clip being by males & females. About a minute and a half long. Available from A Tempo at <donaldpatriquin(at)gmail.com>
 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 16, 2016 7:36am
Hi Andy,
 
You might look at Tjak! by Stephen Hatfield.  
 
Trish Joyce
New Jersey Youth Chorus
Applauded by an audience of 3
on February 16, 2016 8:41am
She Rises is a strong piece for high school women's choirs, celebrating light and illumnation, the Celtic sun godess, Brigid, and St. Brigid of Kildare. It also incorporates "sun sounds" stomping and some other vocal techniques.  
 
 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 17, 2016 10:17am
We did an arrangement of "Jabberwocky" by David Brunner, that was weird and fun with Middle School.  It was a challenge for them, would be relatively easy for a HS group, if you wanted to learn something quickly.
 
Craig Bader
Delphian School
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 18, 2016 5:54am
Hi, Andy,
 
I suppose my setting of the Spanish proverb "Martes, ni te cases, ni te embarques, ni de tu casa te apartes" ("On Tuesdays, don't get married, don't embark on a trip, and don't leave your house") would qualify as weird.  It's published by Walton (visit http://www.giamusic.com/search_details.cfm?title_id=26779&artist=1h0kjk05K038&brand=wm to see/hear/purchase); though it's challenging, it's not out of reach of a good SSAA ensemble.  Matthew Curtis of ChoralTracks has made practice tracks of this piece as well -- visit http://choraltracks.com/review/product/list/id/2372/category/3/
 
Martes makes a good closer; the Cornell University Chorus (Robert Isaacs, cond.) recently included the piece in their repertoire during their recent tour to Mexico and Guatemala, and the Atlanta Young Singers Youth Chorale (Paige F. Mathis, cond.) performed it at the World Choir Games (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEAXjmff-vY).
 
Thanks for taking a look!
All best,
Joseph Gregorio
www.josephgregoriomusic.com
www.aretemusicimprints.com
 
 
 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 20, 2016 7:29am
Joseph, we own Martes!    We haven't been quite ready for it yet, but I was actually thinking about programming it soon!  What a relief to know that someone made practice tracks so I don't have to!  My girls LOVE to make fun of my practice tracks!    Great writing, Joseph!
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 22, 2016 9:04am
Thank you, Andy -- enjoy the piece, whenver you ultimately do it!
All best,
Joseph Gregorio
www.josephgregoriomusic.com
www.aretemusicimprints.com
on February 18, 2016 8:17am
Hi Andy,
Glad to see your students are up for the challenge.  Great job.
The only thing I know about "weird," is we all have a different idea.
Certainly there is nothing weird about spoken voices though the
way I utilize - and to the extent - in a composition entitled: HOPE,
text by Emily Dickinson, may be considered unusual by some.
It is 5 minutes, SSAA a cappella, with some divisi in all parts.
If you'd like to see a perusal copy, please contact me at:
Best of luck in your search,   
Frank
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 19, 2016 10:08am
Hi Andy Stephen Hatfield has a lot of interesting and challenging music for accomplished Treble Choir. Also check out Christine Donkin http://www.christinedonkin.com/music-for-choirs/   We did Rainstorm ( no snapy fingers I promise)
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 20, 2016 7:06am
Oh Stephen Hatfield and our choir are long time friends! Not as familiar with Donkin, though. Thank you!!!
on February 20, 2016 7:08am
There is a set called Three Hungarian Folksongs by Matyas Seiber that are definitely in the weird category. They are also quite fun to do!  
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 20, 2016 8:11am
One man's 'weird' is another's 'mainstream'. Terrific thread, with a lot of fine repertoire listed. From my own works, I'll throw in:
 
MOONPLAY, SSA, flute and marimba, publ by Boosey & Hawkes, invented text deconstruction, arch form
 
AD AMORE, SSAA, a cappella with 'found' unpitched bells.  also publ. Boosey & Hawkes.    a short, brassy fanfare with Dante text.
many youtube performances
 
Thanks,
 
Lee Kesselman
ww.kesselmanpress.com
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 20, 2016 10:05am
Thank you! You conducted the ILMEA 910 chorus this year! My students loved you and the whole day !!!!
on February 24, 2016 2:49pm
My girls loved Ad Amore....it's a fabulous piece! 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 23, 2016 7:30am
Hello, Andy.
 
I have some of suggestions for you - not necessarily weird but definitlely very unique, interesting and engaging (and, in come cases, quite challenging) - all by Moira Smiley. They were written for and recorded by her ensemble of female singers and cello, VOCO:
 
BARTOK #148 (From Bela Bartók’s “Mikrokosmos”, Piano Works, Vol. 6, #148 “Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm”)
A STO CEMO (SERBO-CROATIAN LOVE SONG)
DANCE WITH S'LOYFN, S'YOGN (VOCAL DANCE AND YIDDISH SONG)
 
The scores and others by Moira can be found on her web site at: http://moirasmiley.com/store/?download_category=sheetmusic
 
Good luck.
 
Michael
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 23, 2016 8:59am
If you have a concert venue with live acoustic, you might like Aurora by Nicholas Fairbank.  Gorgeous, lush and sometimes eerie harmonies.  Here's a recording of us doing it in a cathedral (see if you like it!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTC1gospQMI
 
You might also want to check out Ngana by Stephen Leek!
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 24, 2016 2:50pm
This would be a great topic for the Repertoire lists.  So much of the treble repertoire is lyric, slow, and lovely, but we want variety for our trebles!  
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 25, 2016 6:08am
Try Pinkham's In the Beginning of Creation. It's out there.
 
Also movements from the Schnittke Requiem would be cool. 
 
Good luck! 
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