The I’ll get on with the rest of the

The composer that I have chosen to write about is Stephen Paulus. I didn’t know anything about Stephen Paulus before you told me I should write about him. I don’t usually research any choir composers or choir pieces on my own unless it’s a choir assignment so this is pretty different to me. I personally have never written any papers in choir and I don’t really understand why, especially a 3 page paper, cause it’s choir. I understand a small one page paper or so about the class but I don’t really see the point of it. I mean I haven’t even written this long of a paper in my English class, but of course that’s just my opinion. But anyways that’s my little rant about this paper so I’ll get on with the rest of the paper. Stephen Paulus was an American composer of classical music. He wrote over 600 works for choirs, opera, orchestra, chamber ensemble, solo voice, concert band, piano, and organ, playing and being heard  throughout and around the world as well as a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Classical Composition in 2015 and 2016, which he won in 2016. His musical style has been described by The New York Times as “lush and extravagant”. Beginning in 1979, fresh out of graduate school with a Phd. from the University of Minnesota, he was employed and starting working with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and later went on to write a total of 12 operas with performances coming from the Boston Lyric Opera, and many others. Paulus was a very passionate advocate for all of the works and careers of his colleagues and partners throughout his music career. In 1973 he co-founded the Minnesota Composers Forum, now known as the American Composers Forum, the largest composer service organization in the U.S. Stephen Paulus passed away in October, 2014 from complications of a stroke, but his music continues to be frequently performed all over and I don’t see it going away anytime soon. Stephen Paulus was not just a choral writer, he also wrote pieces for symphonies and orchestras. He also had some collaborations with orchestras in his choral pieces (those are some of his most famous ones). My personal favorite is out of some of the songs by him that I listened to was The Road Home. I personally love a choir song with a really good and strong bass part and this song definitely shows that. This piece also has very good balance in the song, such as the basses and tenors have a part and then pass it off to the Sopranos and Altos and they trade it back and forth between choruses. I don’t really like choir songs where only one section or the male or the females have the melody the whole time so this is perfect, the balance in the song is spectacular. This piece is written for SATB, SSAA, and TTBB. I believe it sounds the best in TTBB just because of the depth of the basses voice and the height of the tenors voice balance very good, and how well the piece flows. The best mens piece of this selection that I have found is this one. This certain piece is moderately slow. I don’t think it is neither sad nor happy, it is more of a ballad that is telling a story in my opinion. When I hear it I think of someone or something telling a story and this either playing in the background or they are singing it. The particular choir that I have chose that are singing this is the Baylor University Men’s Choir and they are having a pianist playing it with them, but I am sure that there can be some other instruments that would go along very well with it such as a harp and flute, or a big string bass and violin or viola. THe Road Home is sung and written in English. The second piece that I have chosen is Pilgrims’ Hymn, according to Stephen Paulus’ website these two pieces were written very closely to each other in the timespan that he was writing and brainstorming them. This piece is very close to to the first piece that I chose in the style in which they are sung and written.. They are both more slowly played and sung, they both only usually have a piano with them, and they both aren’t really that happy or sad, they just tell a story or a tale. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir does the best arrangement of this piece in my opinion. We have listened to the MTC (Mormon Tabernacle Choir) before in choir cass and they are a pretty professional and well known large group choir. But anyways this piece is written in SATB and is best sounded in that arrangement. Pilgrims’ Hymn is written and sung in English. I shall put the link to this song sung by the MTC right here. Here is the long story behind the piece. (I’m not using this to get me to three pages I just found it very interesting.)  “In April, 1997 I had a one-act opera called The Three Hermits (based on a short story by Leo Tolstoy) premiered at The House of Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Paul, MN.  That organization also commissioned the work which was written for a small cast, an orchestra of 11 players and the church’s Motet Choir. Thomas Lancaster was the conductor and the one hour work received four sold-out performances.  My friend and colleague, Kathy Romey, conductor of the Minnesota Chorale and also the Head of Choral Activities at the University of Minnesota, saw one of the premiere performances and encouraged me to have the final chorus in the opera published as a separate work.  I thanked her for her interest and put off the task.  I really like to move on to the next commission and not dwell over any past work.  She persisted and eventually I sort of grudgingly adapted and extracted a short choral work from the opera consisting of just the final chorus.  I printed up a 1000 copies at a local print shop and decided that this would be the first work to be published by my own company – Paulus Publications, Inc.  I did it as a favor to Kathy and never expected it to garner any great results.  The first 1000 copies sold out quickly and we eventually started printing up 3000 copies and then 10,000 copies at a time.  To date the work has sold over 160,000 copies and is the lead seller in our choral catalogue.  It has also been sung at the funeral services of both Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan.  It pays to listen to your conductor!  –Stephen Paulus” The third and final piece that I have chosen is Hymn to the Eternal Hymn. It was made in 2005 as a  sacred Holocaust memorial oratorio, and to be rooted in themes and subjects of mutual interest to the Jewish and Christian faith communities. It is a three minute song, so one of the shorter pieces that he does, and it is also written and sung in English just like all of the other pieces that he does. Some of the notable groups that have sang this piece are the  Basilica of Saint Mary, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Basilica Cathedral Choir, and the Basilica Children’s Choir. The certain arrangements that are for this piece are SSATBB chorus, children’s chorus, soprano solo, and a cappella. The certain group that is featured on his biography website ( is this one. I personally really enjoyed listening to this piece and they way everyone flows with the different sections of the choir during the rising and falling parts of this song. I overall thought that Stephen Paulus was a very good choir composer. The only thing that I would do differently would be to change his style up a little bit every once in a while. In my opinion all of the songs of his that I listened to sound the exact same. But that is probably his style so that’s all I’m going to say about that. I did enjoy listening to his pieces that I chose though, they were all pretty soothing and they did calm me down for the most part. I’m sure he does it on some other of his pieces but it would be really cool if he would include some more orchestral accompaniments to counterpart the loud choirs and I believe it would go very well with that. As I had in my last paragraph I will include a link to his website once again just for good measure so here it is. Here ends my paper about Stephen Paulus, I hope you enjoyed reading it.