O Joy! (2008)

A celebration of song, singing & utterance
with Psalm 77:1-6
Dedicated to those amazing Ensemble Singers
and Philip Brunelle ║ Happy 40th!

O Joy! was composed by Kitty Brazelton as part of the Sixth Annual Essentially Choral Program. Designed by VocalEssence and the American Composers Forum and funded by the Jerome Foundation, Essentially Choral seeks creative and innovative works in a wide range of styles as an opportunity for emerging composers to hear and develop their └works in progressö in a supportive, professional environment. Works commissioned through this program contribute to the expansion and strengthening of the choral repertoire. Essentially Choral affirms the ongoing commitment of VocalEssence and the American Composers Forum to the work of today│s composers and the performance of their music.

Premiered by VocalEssence Ensemble Singers, pianist Charles Kemper and director Philip Brunelle for the choir's 40th anniversary celebration, September 14, 2008, Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, Garrison Keillor, emcee. Later broadcast on NPR. Reviews Minneapolis Star-Tribune, St. Paul's Pioneer Press.

Excerpts from Psalm 77 re-translated from original Hebrew & Latin versions by Kitty Brazelton. Other text by Brazelton.

O Joy! was publshed in Boosey & Hawkes' "Sing A New Song Series" in 2011. Click on the cover on the right to go to Boosey's website where you can "find your local music shop"!

  • SATB choir
  • piano

O Joy! cover

3 min.


The Adjective (2012)

Mark Twain’s:

“As to the adjective: when in doubt, strike it out”

for my spring choral composition class to sing. Though the round is very simple, the class's learning curve was large and I didn't want to take away from preparation of their own compositions so we didn't end up performing it.

In June, I posted it on Wikipedia's Choral Public Domain Library, or ChoralWiki, foregoing copyright, in hopes someone will have fun with it.

Click to access FREE pdf score and MIDI mp3 for "The Adjective" on ChoralWiki

  • easy round for SAB, a cappella
1 min.

Ti Nene’ (the Newborn) (2008-2009)

Commissioned by the Texas Infant Mental Health Association for a conference in Dallas in January 2010, I created a setting of words my father insisted he‘d heard from the Mayan-descended Zinacantecos in Chiapas, Mexico when he and I worked there the late ’60s.

I wrote to an old friend, Tzotzil lexicographer Robert Laughlin at the Smithsonian, who replied no, this was not a Tzotzil saying, but that my father had always been creative.

So I translated my Dad's “Mayan saying” into Tzotzil, learned when I was 14 with him in Mexico. I then set both songs to music, the English and the Tzotzil, for a middle school SAT competition choir.

The young voices sang my two songs with 3 high school percussionists and a pianist in honor of my father and his work with newborn babies around the world. The Richardson North Junior High Chorale led by Melissa Roth performed these beautifully January 7, 2010, and were roundly applauded by a large audience of pediatricians, nurses and child healthcare providers.

for youth choir with piano and percussion:
  • SAT choir
  • Rainstick and maracas
  • Triangle and cymbal with mallets
  • Conga
  • Piano

8 min.

“Essential Prayers” Project (2009-ongoing)

I am setting short, well-known prayers, words that everyone might know. Mantras they one might use in daily life, or word-strings which bestow relief, peace or protection in hard times.

My settings are mostly a cappella, with deliberately memorable internal melody, free of extremes of range and thus accessible to more singers. Vocal meaning and interactivity are more important to me here than virtuosic vocal behavior. (I'm not against the latter. That's just not what this project is about.) My wish is that anyone who wants to sing, could sing these with just a little work putting the parts together.

I see these short pieces being used individually. I do not intend them as a suite. If you choose to perform more than one, then I urge you to intersperse them with other music, speaking or activity.My hope is that they are performable enough to be inserted into any concert, religious service or spiritual occasion with relative ease. My dream is to serve your purpose.

Father Myke's Prayer (2012)

Setting of Father Mychal Judge's prayer for choir. Father Myke was chaplain for the New York City Fire Department, first casualty September 11, 2001.

Lord take me where you want me to go
Let me meet who you want me to meet
Tell me what you want me to say
and keep me out of your way.

Towards a collection of “essential prayers.”

  • SAAB, a cappella

3 min.

Our Father (2010-2012)

Setting of the “Our Father” for choir.

Our Father
who art in heaven
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day
our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
Fo thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory
forever and ever, amen.

Towards a collection of “essential prayers.”

  • SATB, a cappella
4 min.

Serenity Prayer for Chuck (2009)

I made a setting of the Serenity Prayer for my friend Chuck Holland who died in November ’09.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change
the courage to change the things I can
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Towards a collection of “essential prayers.”

for small or large group of singers, amateur or professional, no extremes in range, easily memorized:
  • SSA a cappella
2 min.

Psalm 23 (2012)

Two settings of the 23rd psalm for choir. Towards a collection of “essential prayers.”

  • • SAT, a cappella
  • My voice (C below middle C to E morethan an octave above)
  • Church organ, or humming

3 min.

2 min.

Candle Blessing for Shabbat (2012)

Setting of a Shabbat brucha for choir. Towards a collection of “essential prayers.”

  • round for 4 voices, a cappella

4 min.

Love, I Know Beyond A Doubt (1997, 2007)

Motet including text and melodies from traditional & Occitans chants and a monophonic chanson roial from the Rémède de Fortune by Guillaume de Machaut (c. 1300-1365), in memory of Professor Peter Gram Swing (1923-1996).

Revised for Essentially Choral 2007, choral composition contest funded by Jerome Foundation and administered by American Composers Forum. Winner of reading by VocalEssence, director Philip Brunelle, Minneapolis, May 2007.

Translation & interpretation of Machaut & plainchant texts from Medieval French, Latin and Occitans by Kitty Brazelton.

  • SATB choir
  • 5 soloists: 3 sopranos, alto & tenor
  • jazz quartet:
    • baritone saxophone
    • piano
    • double bass
    • drums
14 min.

Ave maris stella (2005, 2006)

Monophonic & polyphonic settings of Marian plainchant hymn Ave maris stella for a cappella women's choir. Includes staging suggestions. Performances by Bennington College Women's Choir, director Mary Montgomery, spring 2005 & winter 2006.

Translation & interpretation of Ave maris stella hymn verses from Medieval Latin by Kitty Brazelton.

  • SSAA a cappella
9 min

Motet (2002)

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 15

Part of ecclesiastes: a modern oratorio, Innova Recordings. Originally commissioned & premiered by Gina Gibney Dance for time remaining (2002). Premiered by the Time Remaining Band in concert version, June 2004, Nuyorican Poeets Café, New York City.

Re-translation & interpretation of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 15 from original Hebrew & Latin versions by Kitty Brazelton.

The Time Remaining Band (David Bryan, John Brauer, Keith Borden, Mark Lin, Matt Geoke, Alex Vittum)
  • TTBB
  • cello
  • hammered dulcimer
  • concert bass drum
7 min

Xmas Carol & Fuguetta (1998)

Originally a Musica Orbis song. Revised in 1998 for SATB choir. Fuguetta is added. Old piano accompaniment absorbed into choral parts. Enjoyed the simple syncopation of the old song. Have tried to bring it out in the singing and the simple percussion. Should be fun to sing I'd think.

  • SATB a cappella choir
  • celebratory percussion
7 min.

Passed Away Is The Piano Girl (1998)

Collage of songs about love and transience by women composers: Kitty Brazelton, Hildegard von Bingen, Mme. Bayon-Louis, and Luise Reichardt with improvised addenda of the performers' choosing.

Written for and performed at College Music Society Conference on Teaching Women & Gender In Music, Austin, Texas, February 1998.

  • SSAA
  • piano
7 min.

Shoal (1973, 1995)

Polyphonic song with surreal imagistic text which opens into untexted improvised baritone solo against semi-improvised choral background.

Premiered in original version for soprano, tenor, melodica, pipe organ, cello, tenor saxophone, and guitar by Musica Orbis in April 1973. Revised for voices in 1995.

Poetry by Kitty Brazelton.

  • for SSAATTBB
    a cappella choir
  • improvising baritone soloist
10 min.