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The Crown of Praise


The Crown of Praise

SSATTB Chorus A Cappella

A setting of three of the Holy Sonnets of John Donne.

Composed: 1962
Text by: John Donne
Duration: 11:00
Publisher: Pear Tree Press Music Publishing distributed by Subito Music
Catalog Number(s): PTM 461
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The Crown of Praise 2017-10-03T00:10:56+00:00

Music for the Anglican Service


Music for the Anglican Service

Unison (with Optional Descants) with Organ Accompaniment

A setting of the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei for both Rites I and II, and the Rite II Fraction Anthem. Intended for unison singing by both choir and congregation, with optional simple descants for the choir. Composed for St. John’s Church, Northampton, MA.

Composed: 2000 (rev. 2001)
Publisher: Pear Tree Press Music Publishing distributed by Subito Music
Catalog Number(s): PTM 451
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Music for the Anglican Service 2017-10-03T00:10:56+00:00

The Garden Hymn


The Garden Hymn

SATB or TBB A Cappella

A Southern Folk-Hymn. Commissioned by the Harvard University Choir.

Composed: 1961
Text by: John Donne
Duration: 3:00
Publisher: E. C. Schirmer Music Company
Catalog Number(s): SATB Version, 2715
TBB Version, 6217
The Garden Hymn



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The Garden Hymn 2017-10-03T00:10:56+00:00

Mass


Mass

Solo Soprano, Tenor and Bass, SATB chorus and Flute (doubling piccolo), oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, tenor trombone, bass trombone, percussion (2 players), harp, strings

A setting of the complete five-part Latin Mass. First performed in Washington National Cathedral in 1973 in memory of ZeBarney Thorne Phillips, former Dean of the Cathedral. NOTE: Can be ordered with a piano-vocal score, with a full orchestral score, with orchestral parts only, or with a two-piano accompaniment.

Composed: 1967
Text by: John Donne
Duration: 25:00
Publisher: Pear Tree Press Music Publishing distributed by Subito Music
Catalog Number(s): Study Score, PTM 401
Two Piano Vocal Score, PTM 401a
Vocal Score with Piano Reduction, PTM401b
Full score and parts are available for rental.


Reviews:

Perera’s score is that incredible combination of lush orchestration and solemn choral passages which go straight to the heart.

Washington Star-News 5/10/73

The score is very attractive, with its articulate command of intriguingly sophisticated yet simple and fresh harmonic movement, nice melodic lines and well handled contrapuntal textures.

The Washington Post 5/10/73





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Mass 2017-10-03T00:10:56+00:00

Did You Hear the Angels Sing


Did You Hear the Angels Sing

Soprano solo, SATB chorus, and Organ

Commissioned in memory of Samuel H. Miller by the Harvard University Choir for its annual carol service. The text is Christmas Carol by Samuel H. Miller.

Composed: 1968
Text by: Samuel H. Miller
Duration: 6:00
Publisher: E. C. Schirmer Music Company
Catalog Number(s): 2914


Reviews:

Samuel H. Miller’s poem is dramatically stated by Perera within contemporary sonorities. An independent organ part elevates itself as an equal to the more chordal lines. Organist as well as singers should be experienced in this Christmas work. Recommended for the better adult church choirs.

The Choral Journal 3/75

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Did You Hear the Angels Sing 2017-10-03T00:10:56+00:00

Three Night Pieces


Three Night Pieces

Soprano and Alto solo, SSAA chorus, Solo cello, percussion and piano

A work for the more advanced college- or university-level chorus. The texts are drawn from three woman poets of vastly different times and cultures, the Greek poet Sappho, the American imagist poet Adelaid Crapsey, and the Chinese poet Tzu Yeh. The second piece is a cappella.

Movements:

  1. Alone
  2. Triad
  3. I Am the North Pole
Composed: 1974
Text attributed to: Sappho
Duration: 12:00
Publisher: E. C. Schirmer Music Company
Catalog Number(s): Choral Score, 2834


Reviews:

Composed in 1974, the “Three Night Pieces” are settings of poems by Sappho (“Alone”), Adelaid Crapsey (“Triad”), and Tzu Yeh (“I am the North Pole”). Together their total duration is about twelve minutes. Though difficult and highly dissonant, the choral parts are not be yond the capacity of a well trained college ensemble; indeed the work is a worthy addition to the twentieth-century repertoire for women’s voices…. College-age singers can and probably should strengthen their musicianship on contemporary compositions such as this.

Music Library Association, NOTES 3/80

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Everything that Hath Breath


Everything that Hath Breath

Two-part chorus (men’s, women’s or mixed) and Tape

The text is drawn from Psalms 148 and 150.

Composed: 1976
Duration: 6:00
Publisher: E. C. Schirmer Music Company
Catalog Number(s): 3048
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Everything that Hath Breath 2017-10-03T00:10:56+00:00

Earthsongs


Earthsongs

Soli and SSA/SSAA or SATB chorus with
2 flutes (2nd doubling piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, percussion (one player), harp, strings or piano

A celebration of some of E. E. Cummings’ most vivid nature poetry. Commissioned by the Smith College Glee Club, Theodore Morrison, director.

American Music CD cover Earthsongs is available on American Journey, a CD collection of Unusual choral works in exciting performances. Performed by New Amsterdam Singers, Elizabeth Rodgers, piano, Clara Longstreth, conductor. On Albany Records, Troy108.

Available from Albany Records
Available on iTunes

Movements:

  1. O sweet spontaneous earth
  2. in Just-spring
  3. as is the sea marvelous
  4. All in green went my love riding
  5. when god lets my body be
  6. i thank You God


Reviews:

Composed in 1974, the “Earthsongs” are settings of poems by Sappho (“Alone”), Adelaid Crapsey (“Triad”), and Tzu Yeh (“I am the North Pole”). Together their total duration is about twelve minutes. Though difficult and highly dissonant, the choral parts are not be yond the capacity of a well trained college ensemble; indeed the work is a worthy addition to the twentieth-century repertoire for women’s voices…. College-age singers can and probably should strengthen their musicianship on contemporary compositions such as this.

Music Library Association, NOTES 3/80

Ronald Perera, born in 1941, excels in choral music, and Clara Longstreth is doing a great service in bringing his work to the public. On the present disc we hear his Earthsongs (1983) on texts by e.e. cummings. These are sublime pieces, and immediately advance to the front rank of cummings’settings. “In Just-spring” and “as is the sea marvelous” are particularly fine, but in fact I like all six pieces.

Fanfare Magazine, Winter 1994 (review of Albany CD, Troy 108)

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SSA/SSAA Version Audio Excerpts:

No. 1 O sweet spontaneous earth

No. 2 In Just-spring

No. 3 As is the sea marvelous

No. 4 All in green went my love riding

No. 5 When God lets my body be

No. 6 I thank You God

SATB Version Audio Excerpts:

No. 1 O sweet spontaneous earth

No. 2 In Just-spring

No. 3 As is the sea marvelous

No. 4 All in green went my love riding

No. 5 When God lets my body be

No. 6 I thank You God

Earthsongs 2017-10-03T00:10:57+00:00

The Canticle of the Sun


The Canticle of the Sun

Narrator, SATB chorus, Synthesized accompaniment (CD) or Keyboard

A dramatic cantata in which the narrator sets forth, in English, events from the life of St. Francis, and the chorus sings, in Italian, the sections of his famous poem. Commissioned for the 100th anniversary of Groton School. St. Francis of Assisi’s poetry praises the creation of the sun, moon, earth, wind, water, fire. Very appealing synthesized accompaniment, excellent historical/performance notes. (Italian text in Umbrian dialect.)

The Outermost House CD cover The Outermost House: The late Robert Lurtsema narrates these colorful, melodic works. Includes Robert Perera’s The Outermost House performed by Chatham Chorale, Margaret Bossi, conductor, Nancy Armstrong, soprano, Robert J. Lurtsema, narrator and The Canticle of the Sun performed by Chatham Chorale, Margaret Bossi, conductor, Robert J. Lurtsema, narratorand .

Available on:
Albany Records
iTunes

Movements:

  1. Processional
  2. Reading No. 1
  3. Chorus, “Altissimu omnipotente bon signore”
  4. Reading No. 2
  5. Chorus, “Laudatu sie, mi signore”
  6. Reading No. 3
  7. Chorus, “Laudato si’, mi signore, per quelli che perdonano”
  8. Reading No. 4
  9. Chorus, “Laudato si’, mi signore, per sora nostra morte corporale”
  10. Reading No. 5
  11. Hymn, “Laudate et benedicite mi signore”
  12. Recessional
Composed: 1984
Text by: St. Francis of Assisi
Duration: 21:00
Publisher: E. C. Schirmer Music Company
Catalog Number(s): Complete Choral Score, 4280
Electronic Media, 4280A

Mvt. 5 Laudato sie, mi signore available separately:
Choral Score, 4084
Electronic Media, 4084A
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Reviews:

Perera’s ability to set text to memorable music is very much in evidence but, perhaps influenced by both his principal text being in Latin as well as his chosen accompaniment, there is a feeling of pastiche, albeit one of very high quality, that comes into play. There is, if you will, a Monteverdi-meets-Philip Glass sensibility about a lot of the music. Still, there are beautiful moments, such as the entire ninth movement, set for unaccompanied choir.

John Story, Fanfare Magazine, May/June 1999 (review of Albany Troy CD 314)

The Canticle of the Sun 2017-10-03T00:54:28+00:00

The Light Here Kindled


The Light Here Kindled

Solo Baritone and SATB chorus with Brass Quintet, Timpani and Organ

Commissioned for the 350th anniversay of Harvard University. The text of the piece is from William Bradford’s Of Plimoth Plantation. Following an opening solo baritone setting of Governor Bradford’s thanksgiving text, the chorus develops a motet out of a moving passage that starts “out of small beginnings.”

Composed: 1986
Duration: 8:00
Publisher: Pear Tree Press Music Publishing distributed by Subito Music
Catalog Number(s): Full Score, PTM 411
Piano/Vocal Score, PTM 411a
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The Light Here Kindled 2017-10-03T00:10:57+00:00

The Outermost House


The Outermost House

Narrator, Soprano solo, SATB chorus with Flute (doubling piccolo), 2 oboes (2nd doubling english horn), 2 horns, piano, percussion (one player), 2 cellos, contrabass

Based on The Outermost House by Henry Beston, which recounts the experience of living for a year in a two-room cottage on the beach in Eastham, Cape Cod. With one exception, the odd-number movements are for the narrator, while the even numbers are usually for the chorus with and without the soprano.

Commissioned by the Chatham Chorale, Margaret Bossi, director, in honor of its founder, Marjorie Bennett Morley.

The Outermost House CD cover The Outermost House: The late Robert Lurtsema narrates these colorful, melodic works. Includes Robert Perera’s The Outermost House performed by Chatham Chorale, Margaret Bossi, conductor, Nancy Armstrong, soprano, Robert J. Lurtsema, narrator and The Canticle of the Sun performed by Chatham Chorale, Margaret Bossi, conductor, Robert J. Lurtsema, narratorand .

Available on:
Albany Records
iTunes

Movements:
1. East of America
2. My Western Windows
3. A New Sound on the Beach
4. The Sea Has Many Voices
5. Now Come the Sea Fowl
6. Glorious White Birds
7. A Year Indoors
8. That Multiplicity of Insect Tracks
9. The Wreck of the Montclair
10. Night on the Great Beach
11. It Was Still Night
12. My Year Upon the Beach
13. Hold Out Your Hands Over the Earth

Composed: 1991
Duration: 40:00
Publisher: Music Associates of New York
Catalog Number(s): Vocal Score, MANY 001
Conductor’s score and parts available on rental.
Hold Out Your Hands Over the Earth available separately:
SATB Version, MANY002MX
SSAA Version, MANY 002SA
TTBB Version MANY 002TB


Reviews:

Inspired by the 1927 writing of Henry Beston when he spent a year in virtual solitude at Eastham Beach, “The Outermost House” is a remarkable composition that possesses the musical power to reveal and communicate the many faces of nature when sea, land, sky, wind, and sand collide together in one expansive area. The Saturday night performance was breathtaking, the audience seemingly held spellbound by the unfolding musical drama.

Cape Cod Times 10/16/95

The final piece was “The Outermost House,” for chorus, soprano soloist, narrator and small instrumental ensemble, by Ronald Perera. This lovely work is a setting of the glowing prose of Henry Beston, from his book which recounts the year spent by the author dwelling in a small Cape Cod beach house. The book is a masterpiece of highly evocative nature writing, full of wonderful word pictures and impressions, which Perera beautifully enhanced with his music.

William Warfield, hale and ever-impressive at 81, narrated with dignity and feeling. Alison Chaney’s lovely soprano was a delight. The net effect was that of a masterful tone-painting in praise of one of the world’s very special places.

The Post and Courier, Charleston, South Carolina, 6/3/01

When he is on form, Ronald Perera is among the finest living combiners of words and music alive. The major work here, The Outermost House, is as fine as the best pieces on the CRI disc. Writing on a commission from the Chatham Chorale of Cape Cod, Perera was persuaded to take as his text excerpts from The Outermost House by Henry Beston, which recounts the experience of living for a year in a two-room cottage on the barrier beach in 1925-26. Perera sets his excerptsfor narrator, soprano, chorus, and a small orchestra. With one exception, the odd-number movements are for the narrator (again the very musical Robert J. Lurtsema) while the even numbers are usually for the chorus with and without the soprano (the radiant Nancy Armstrong). As I mentioned in my earlier review, as Perera entered the 90s his idiom was becoming progressively more tonal in orientation. This is also to be found here. The music is simply lovely. Perera’s exquisite ability to set English words is everywhere in evidence as well as his extreme sensitivity to instrumental and vocal color put to service in a text. This is a major addition to the choral repertoire. For choirs able to field the modest additional forces required it should become something of a staple of their repertoire. Albany has put us in their considerable debt by making this marvelous music available to the larger CD-buying public in such a fine performance and recording.

John Story, Fanfare Magazine, May/June 1999 (review of Albany Troy CD 314)

Elegantly crafted, musically appealing, and stirring to the imagination as well as to the heart… Perera has created a musical setting that is more than just worthy of Beston’s masterpiece. It is a work that deserves to be heard often and not just on Cape Cod.

Cape Cod Times 11/18/91

Perera’s music supported graceful vocal writing with warm, embracing sonorities, vibrant rhythms, and (often a distinctive feature of his composition) effectively pictorial use of percussion. The succession of scenes hung together by virtue of returning motives or accompaniment figures which provided clear musical links between sections. The variety in its modes of expression always provided engagement for the ear. Perera had constructed a musical setting perfectly conceived for the diaristic nature of his chosen text, reflecting a barrage of stimuli being interpreted, ordered, and set forth by a single intellect.

Springfield (MA) Union-News 2/18/92

Although wisps of Samuel Barber, Gian Carlo Menotti, and Vincent Persichetti can be heard, Perera’s compositional style is fluent and singular… The last chorus, “Hold Out Your Hands over the Earth,” is a real tour de force. More tonal than the other movements, its universal theme makes it performable as a fine independent work.

Choral Journal 3/94

Perera’s emphasis on the essential elements of melody and harmony — the stuff of which all truly affecting music is made — provides the ideal chamber for the artistic amplification of Beston’s eloquent reflections on nature, compiled during a year spent alone on a Cape Cod beach. While the music is not based strictly on functional principles (standard chord progressions contained within a given key), it is woven persuasively out of the fabric of traditional triadic harmony and unified through the recurrence of seminal motives and key centers. The product is a persuasive marriage of form and content.

Milwaukee Sentinel 2/28/94

The combination of narrative and musical effects make “The Wreck of the Montclair” portion of “Outermost House” a truly powerful experience. Listeners last weekend actually felt the impact of the huge waves and the terror of their fury through Mr. Lurtsema’s dramatic reading of the events that took place in 1927 on a lone stretch of Atlantic beach. We were transported back in time to watch helplessly as the tragedy unfolded. We felt the terror of the sailors caught in an inescapable death trap as the ship was pounded to pieces in the tumultuous surf.

“The Outermost House” remains as a sort of lone witness to both the power and inscrutability of nature. After the tempest, Mr. Perera brought us back to the gentle ebb and flow of life at the beach, and the chorale gave a sublime rendering of the final “Hold Out Your Hands.” We were left with a wonderful sense of acceptance and peace.

The Cape Codder 10/17/95

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The Outermost House 2017-10-03T00:10:57+00:00

Hold Out Your Hands Over the Earth


Hold Out Your Hands Over the Earth

SATB, SSAA, or TTBB and Piano

The final movement of The Outermost House.

The Outermost House CD cover The Outermost House: The late Robert Lurtsema narrates these colorful, melodic works. Includes Robert Perera’s The Outermost House performed by Chatham Chorale, Margaret Bossi, conductor, Nancy Armstrong, soprano, Robert J. Lurtsema, narrator and The Canticle of the Sun performed by Chatham Chorale, Margaret Bossi, conductor, Robert J. Lurtsema, narratorand .

Available on:
Albany Records
iTunes

Composed: 1991
Duration: 4:00
Publisher: Music Associates of New York
Catalog Number(s): SATB Version, MANY002MX
SSAA Version, MANY 002SA
TTBB Version MANY 002TB
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Hold Out Your Hands Over the Earth 2017-10-03T00:10:57+00:00

Psalm 126


Psalm 126

SATB and Brass quintet, timpani and organ

Composed for the 100th anniversary of St. John’s Church, Northampton, MA.

Composed: 1992
Based on: Psalms 126
Duration: 4:00
Publisher: E. C. Schirmer Music Company
Catalog Number(s): 5187


Reviews:

This sophisticated setting will require solid brass players. Their music is well crafted and included for optional use by the organ in the absence of brass. The choir parts are challenging, but have been structured so that exposed lines occur in two unison parts, making them easier. Excellent music for advanced choirs. Brass parts are available separately from the publisher.

The Diapason, November 1998

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Psalm 126 2017-10-03T00:10:57+00:00

A Fondness for Music


A Fondness for Music

SSA and Piano

The text for this piece is drawn from 19th-century etiquette books. Commissioned by the Smith College Glee Club, Lucinda Thayer, director.

Movements:
1. If You Intend to Sing
2. Few Ladies Adopt the Violin
3. A Fondness for Music

Composed: 1993
Duration: 9:00
Publisher: Pear Tree Press Music Publishing distributed by Subito Music
Catalog Number(s): PTM 421




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A Fondness for Music 2017-10-03T00:10:57+00:00

The Golden Door


The Golden Door

Speaker and SATB chorus with Flute (doubling alto flute), clarinet in Bb (doubling clarinet in A, bass clarinet, alto sax), violin, viola, cello, bass, piano, percussion

A cantata based on archives of interviews with immigrants who passed through Ellis Island in the early years of the 20th century. Commissioned by the New Amsterdam Singers.

Island of Hope CD cover Island of Hope: A collection of new American choral music. Includes Ronald Perera’s The Golden Door performed by the New Amsterdam Singers, Clara Longstreth, conductor. On Albany Records, Troy545.

Available on:
Albany Records
iTunes

Movements:
1. What is your number?
2. America, I wish I was going
3. The fastest and securist transportation
4. Steerage
5. The Lady with her hand up
6. Island of hope; island of tears
7. Names

Composed: 1998
Duration: 23:00
Publisher: Pear Tree Press Music Publishing distributed by Subito Music
Catalog Number(s): Piano/Vocal Score, PMT 431

Study Score, PMT 431A

Performance materials available on rental only


Reviews:

Island of Hope, the New Amsterdam Singers’ second compact disc recording, offers an eclectic array of contemporary choral music by American composers…. This recording highlights two works with chamber orchestra commissioned by the ensemble. The first of these, set in seven movements by Ronald Perera, is titled The Golden Door. The texts, though diverse in origin, focus on many perspectives regarding immigration. In the opening movement, an incessant agitation of sixteenth notes is used to symbolize the growing frustration of one poor immigrant as the long list of questions posed by the immigration officers takes its toll. In the final movement, a spoken roll call of the names and occupations of recent immigrants is interspersed with the singing of words from the famous Emma Lazarus poem, The New Colossus, found on a plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty. The work, as a whole, humanizes for the listener many experiences of the people who have come to this country seeking a greater quality of life since the late eighteenth century. It is inspiring and powerful, and admirably performed.

Choral Journal
(ACDA), Scott R. Buchanan

The Golden Door . . . is the inspiration for the disc’s title. It is the only substantial work (about 25 minutes) I’ve heard that seeks to evoke the varied experience of immigration to America. Ronald Perera (b. 1941) — whose rewarding music I have reviewed in concert — is a skilled and imaginative musical documenter of aspects of the American experience. He cobbled his own text together from first-hand accounts of immigrants, name-lists, and other “officialese” from Ellis Isalnd archives. It is by turns dramatic, poignant, whimsical, and horrifying — like the section dealing with ship passage in “steerage.” But the piece is finally celebratory and exultant, leaving the listener newly sensitive to — and proud of — our multicultural origins. A small instrumental ensemble offers imaginative support.

Lindsay Koob, American Record Guide

Ronald Perera’s seven-movement work, “The Golden Door,” is based on oral histories of immigrants who entered the United States through Ellis Island… Mr. Perera’s work, for choir and a small ensemble of strings, winds, piano and percussion, is an invitingly consonant and occasionally dramatic overview of the varied paths that the immigrants of several nationalities took to Ellis Island, and those immigrants’first moments here. One movement, essentially advertising copy for a German cruise ship, had a lilting, salon quality; it was offset by a starker, more lushly harmonized description of the sounds, smells and general discomfort of traveling in steerage.

New York Times 6/14/99

Sunday afternoon’s “American Voices” program by the Chatham Chorale Chamber Singers was just such a powerfully evocative program. Therex was probably not a dry eye in the house as, at the close of a seven-part cantata vividly depicting the arrival of immigrants at Ellis Island, the names and professions of their immigrant ancestors were read aloud by individual chorale members over a soft instrumental underscoring. Premiered in Manhattan just last year by the New Amsterdam Singers, “The Golden Door” was written by Yarmouthport summer resident Ronald Perera, whose “The Outermost House” (based on Henry Beston’s book about Cape Cod) was commissioned and presented by the Chatham Chorale in 1991…no matter if one felt Finch’s pleasing, alternatively thoughtful and playful settings, could have used some of the incisive dramatic touches Perera so skillfully weaves into his musical tapestries, or that “The Golden Door” perhaps needed a few more reflective (shall I say “lyrical” or “memorable”?) passages to balance its teeming, headlong forward momentum. It is enough if the concerted result stirs our imaginations and feelings, leaving us at once excited and teary-eyed, with plenty of food for after-thought.

Cape Cod Times 5/23/2000

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The Golden Door 2017-10-03T00:10:57+00:00

Three Love Lyrics


Three Love Lyrics

SA, SA, SATB (three choir version); SATB; SSAA with Six trumpets, two trombones (three choir version) or keyboard only (SATB and SSAA versions)

Commissioned by Five Colleges, Inc. for the 2000 Five College Choral Festival. It is available in several versions, including for three choirs (SA, SA, and SATB) and brass ensemble, for SSAA chorus and keyboard, and for SATB chorus and keyboard. The text is from The Song of Solomon.

Movements:
1. Behold, thou art fair
2. Rise up, my love
3. Set me as a seal

Composed: 1999
Duration: 5:00
Publisher: Pear Tree Press Music Publishing distributed by Subito Music
Catalog Number(s): Three Choirs (SA, SA, SATB) Version Choral Score, PMT 441
Brass Ensemble Parts, PMT 441A
SATB Chorus and Keyboard Version, PMT 442
SSAA Chorus and Keyboard Version, PMT 443
Three Love Lyrics 2017-10-03T00:10:57+00:00

Chanteys


Chanteys

Piccolo (doubling flute), 2 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, percussion (three players), celesta, harp, accordion, strings

Chanteys, a celebration of ships and the sea, was inspired by the 1976 gathering of tall windships from around the world in honor of the U.S. bicentennial. Supported by a grant from the NEA.

The piece consists of two movements. The first is a fantasy on the beautiful capstan chantey Lowlands, while the second introduces four short-drag chanteys, develops them independently, and then combines them in a quodlibet finale.

Composed: 1976, revised 1979
Duration: 12:00
Publisher: E. C. Schirmer Music Company
Catalog Number(s): Study Score, 0278
Full score and parts available for rental.


Reviews:

The final program of the ASUC (American Society of University Composers) conference presented the LSU (Louisiana State University) Symphony Orchestra in a program as varied stylistically as any we could have heard that weekend…. The most convincing works of the concert, however, were a taut, angular oboe concerto by Ursula Mamlock and a remarkably eclectic, coloristic study by Ronald Perera called Chanteys — integrating folk melody, minimalist repetition, many unsettling dramatic thrusts, and a sure hand for orchestration (including, appropriately, an accordion) into a satisfying whole.

Musical America 7/83

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Chanteys 2017-10-03T00:10:58+00:00

The White Whale


The White Whale

Baritone, flute (doubling piccolo), oboe, 2 clarinets (2nd doubling bass clarinet), bassoon, contrabassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, harp, piano (doubling celesta), percussion (two players), strings

The White Whale is a musical projection of Ahab’s madness as revealed in fragments of soliloquy and dialogue from nine different chapters of Moby Dick. The four movements do not attempt to mirror Melville’s continous narrative. Instead, they reflect some of the novel’s greatest discontinuities by juxtaposing paradoxical aspects of Ahab’s character — aspects which are revealed one by one in non-successive chapters strung out like beads on a chain throughout the book — in a radically compressed time frame. The compression heightens awareness of the depth and complexity of Ahab’s personality and of his relationship to the whale while creating a particular dramatic tension of its own. The text of this work was adapted by the composer from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.

Movements:

  1. The Prisoner
  2. In Nomine Diaboli
  3. The Symphony
  4. A Hump Like a Snow-Hill
Composed: 1981
Duration: 30:00
Publisher: E. C. Schirmer Music Company
Catalog Number(s): Piano/Vocal Score, 4098
Full score and parts available for rental.
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The White Whale 2017-10-03T00:11:11+00:00

Chamber Concerto


Chamber Concerto

Solo brass quintet, 2 flutes (2nd doubling piccolo), oboe, 2 clarinets (2nd doubling bass clarinet), bassoon, horn, trumpet, bass trombone, percussion (2 players), piano

Commissioned for ALEA III and the Empire Brass Quintet, Chamber Concerto does not follow the traditional three-movement Baroque concerto form, but is instead a set of six variations. It pays homage to the Baroque and Classical styles in its concern for symmetry, traditional chord structures, felt meters, uncluttered textures, and solo instrumental writing that demands virtuosity without recourse to the non-traditional playing techniques and special effects prevalent in much contemporary music.

Composed: 1983
Duration: 20:00
Publisher: E. C. Schirmer Music Company
Catalog Number(s): Study Score, 4096
Full score and parts available for rental.


Reviews:

Perera’s “Chamber Concerto” received its premiere Wednesday night. At 21 minutes it was by far the longest work on the program. It is actually a set of seven variations in which a brass quintet (The Empire) coexists, contentedly and otherwise, with an orchestra of woodwinds and percussion. Perera has an acute ear for sonority. There was a gripping opening dialogue between on and off-stage trumpets, vivid use of various mutes, some stirring bell sounds (Boris Godunov came to mind), wildly swirling wind writing, and floor-shaking bass. Despite a lack of subtlety (at least in this performance), and emphasis on sound per se, Perera’s instantly accessible music compels attention through its sheer visceral impact.

Boston Globe 3/21/84

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Music for Flute and Orchestra


Music for Flute and Orchestra

2 flutes (2nd doubling piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets (2nd doubling bass clarinet), 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, tuba, timpani, 2 percussion, harp, piano, solo flute, strings

Commissioned for ALEA III and the Empire Brass Quintet, Music for Flute and Orchestra does not follow the traditional three-movement Baroque concerto form, but is instead a set of six variations. It pays homage to the Baroque and Classical styles in its concern for symmetry, traditional chord structures, felt meters, uncluttered textures, and solo instrumental writing that demands virtuosity without recourse to the non-traditional playing techniques and special effects prevalent in much contemporary music.

The music that begins and ends Music for Flute and Orchestra is marked “very rhythmic; dancing” in the score, and it presents a shifting array of sharply etched melodic motives in rapidly changing meter. That edgy, jazzy music encloses a central core of calmer music, roughly twice as slow (or half as fast), which enlarges upon the same melodic ideas. This work was written for flutist William Wittig.

The New American Scene CD cover The New American Scene: Including Ronald Perera’s Music for Flute and Orchestra, performed by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, William Wittig, flute, Edwin London, conductor. On Albany Records, Troy298.

Available on:
Albany Records
iTunes

Composed: 1990
Duration: 10:00
Publisher: Music Associates of New York


Reviews:

Perera’s “Music for Flute and Orchestra” received its premiere Wednesday night. At 21 minutes it was by far the longest work on the program. It is actually a set of seven variations in which a brass quintet (The Empire) coexists, contentedly and otherwise, with an orchestra of woodwinds and percussion. Perera has an acute ear for sonority. There was a gripping opening dialogue between on and off-stage trumpets, vivid use of various mutes, some stirring bell sounds (Boris Godunov came to mind), wildly swirling wind writing, and floor-shaking bass. Despite a lack of subtlety (at least in this performance), and emphasis on sound per se, Perera’s instantly accessible music compels attention through its sheer visceral impact.

Boston Globe 3/21/84

A single movement sandwiching some delicate, contemplative “night music” between sections driven by rambunctious, angular motivic hijinks, Perera’s colorfully scored, tightly conceived work gave the orchestra an opportunity to enjoy greater extremes of expression than Mozart would allow. It also called into play a modestly sized but deftly employed percussion section, punctuating the musical conversation between flute and orchestra with a tam-tam stroke here, the pearly note of a crotale there, and carefully placed cymbal crashes of varying intensity. Smith and the SSO gave the Perera an enthusiastic, incisive reading. Its calculatedly capricious meter changes seemed well assimilated by conductor and orchestra, and the whole flowed with admirable organic smoothness.

Springfield (MA) Union-News 2/8/99

]Perera treats the flute as a seductive and temperamental protagonist, sending the soloist on fanciful flights and tuneful adventures that complement the sometimes grand rhetoric of the orchestra.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer
4/16/97

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Music for Flute and Orchestra 2017-10-03T00:11:11+00:00

The Saints


The Saints: Three Pieces for Orchestra with Audience Participation

2 flutes (2nd doubling piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets (2nd doubling soprano saxophone), alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (one player), optional banjo, piano, strings, tape playback system (cassette)

The Saints is based on When the Saints Go Marching In, a Dixieland classic that tradition holds was played at funerals in New Orleans around 1900 — slowly on the way to the cemetery and quickly coming back.

Each of the three pieces in The Saints is designed to explore and illustrate a musical idea. The opening piece, Choirs, shows off the musical families of the orchestra. The second, Joyful Noise, presents many extended instrumental sounds and special effects. The third, Marching In evokes the slow march to the cemetary and the jazzed-up procession home.

This work was commissioned by the 92nd Street Y in New York City for its Sidney A. Wolff School Music Series.

Movements:

  1. Choirs
  2. Joyful Noise
  3. Marching In
Composed: 1990
Duration: 10:00
Publisher: Music Associates of New York


Reviews:

A concise deconstruction of “When the Saints Go Marching In” spanning a pocket concerto for orchestra, electronics-enhanced compositional play, and some respectable symphonic second-lining (including a proficiently primed audience sing-along), “The Saints,” in design and performance, illustrated the evening’s other virtues: invention, craft, judicious renewal of commonplaces. As travel so often does, Perera’s New Orleans jaunt crystallized the virtues of home.

Boston Globe, April 1, 2017

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Five Summer Songs


Five Summer Songs

Mezzo-soprano with Harp, piano (doubling celesta), percussion (one player), and strings

A chamber orchestra arrangement of five songs on poems of Emily Dickinson. Original version (1972) was composed for medium voice and piano (E. C. Schirmer Music Company #0161). This arrangement was commissioned by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony.

Poems included:

  1. New Feet Within My Garden Go
  2. South Winds Jostle Them
  3. I Know a Place
  4. To Make a Prairie
  5. The One That Could Repeat the Summer Day.
American Music for Flute, Voice, and Strings CD cover American Music for Flute, Voice, and Strings: A collection of American music by various composers. Includes Ronald Perera’s Five Summer Songs performed by soprano Carole Wilson. On Albany Records, Troy519.

Available on:
Albany Records
iTunes

Composed: 1991
Duration: 12:00
Publisher: E. C. Schirmer Music Company
Catalog Number(s): Medium Voice, Piano Version, 0161
Mezzo-Soprano and Chamber Ensemble Version, 4096


Reviews:

Rec. lyric medium voice (b-f#2); 12:00; titles are: New Feet Within My Garden Go; South Winds Jostle Them; I Know a Place; To Make a Prairie; The One That Could Repeat the Summer Day; best kept as a set; excellent variety of mood and color; atonal, but with a strong feeling of tonality throughout; gentle dissonances; not difficult for the voice, but the colorful piano writing is intricate and requires dexterity; elegant, lyrical, compelling songs.

A Singer’s Guide to the American Art Song 1870-1980by Victoria Etnier Villamil (The Scarecrow Press, Inc., Metuchen, NJ & London, 1993)

Perera’s thoroughly pleasing and admirably written set of songs would grace any singer’s repertory. The unadorned style and clarity of the musical language make the set an attractive proposition for a beginner to the field. The “Five Summer Songs” could be put with other Emily Dickinson settings. They would not seem out of place in a traditional recital program because of their unpretentious and direct appeal. The set would form a good foil for late Romantic lieder with more exotic textures.

New Vocal Repertory by Jane Manning (Taplinger, 1987)

With detailed instructions for both the singer and accompanist these songs are wonderful for an accomplished, artistic, sensitive singer.

NATS Bulletin 5/78

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