Eminent American choral conductor and arranger Robert Shaw was born on this date in 1916. Famous for his work with his namesake Chorale, with the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus, and with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Shaw often collaborated with his colleague Alice Parker. Together, they produced an amazing catalog of choral repertoire that is sophisticated and timeless. Their arrangements of American hymns and spirituals are particularly renowned. Here are just a few examples:
Parker’s arrangement of the early American hymn Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal uses a strong walking pulse and juxtaposed motives to infuse energy and exhilaration into your performance. Also available for women’s and men’s choirs.
The dynamic spiritual My God Is a Rock is one of the most enduring selections from the Shaw/Parker collection. The baritone solo is a classic.
Ride On, King Jesus is a triumphant a cappella setting of the Palm Sunday hymn. From the opening unison line to the full choral writing of the middle section and the unexpectedly subdued ending, this piece will challenge your singers and captivate your audience.
Vive l’amour is one of the most well-known and oft-performed works for male chorus of the last thirty years. This fun-filled arrangement deserves an active place in any male chorus library!
Planning ahead for Christmas? Robert Shaw’s carol arrangements are incomparable! Try Angels We Have Heard on High, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, The Holly and the Ivy, Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella, Deck the Halls, Fum, Fum, Fum, or his unrivaled Many Moods of Christmas (Suites 1, 2, 3 and 4).
Shaw is also well-known for his extensive and successful discography, for which he was honored with 14 Grammy awards. Many of the pieces above are featured on Amazing Grace, recorded with the Robert Shaw Festival Singers. Other illustrious recordings include: Angels On High, Grand & Glorious, Absolute Heaven, A Cappella, Songs of Angels, and The Power and the Majesty.
Robert Shaw’s contributions to the world of choral music are matchless and unsurpassed. Check out his biography by Joseph A. Mussulman, Dear People…Robert Shaw, and contact us for more repertoire suggestions from this master of the choral idiom. Shop Stanton’s for all your sheet music needs!