Finding Great Choral Music 5: Self Published Composers and Their Compositions Part 2


Finding Choral Music 5

*** Many of the websites have changed in this series, and while the principles are still valid, the specific methods and links may no longer be relevant. However, the posts on composers and their compositions should still be quite relevant. ***

In the first three posts of this series, we examined ways to find great self-published pieces and the composers who write them. In the previous post and in this one we are considering some composers with quality self-published music.

Post 1: The Search For Self-Published Choral Music and ChoralNet Part 1
Post 2: The Search For Self-Published Choral Music: Using Music Distributing Websites
Post 3: The Search For Self-Published Choral Music and ChoralNet Part 2
Post 4: The Search For Self-Published Composers and Their Compositions Part 1
Post 5: The Search For Self-Published Composers and Their Compositions Part 2

I have purposefully not included my own pieces in any of the posts, for my goal is not direct self advertising, but rather to demonstrate what music can be found when searching “outside” the traditional publishing box.

Although I am not showcasing any of my own compositions in this series, you are welcome and invited to peruse them on this website.

* It should be noted that I do not receive any compensation for promoting these composers and their compositions. Some of the composers I have had personal contact with via email or internet forum, but I have met none in person.

9. Timothy Tharaldson – I See His Blood Upon The Rose, TTBB a cappella

I became acquainted with Timothy’s music by perusing the MusicSpoke website. “I See His Blood Upon The Rose” weaves in the familiar “Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming” and “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” with original material in way that does not seem gimmicky, but rather natural. Together it creates a reverent and beautiful reflection on the birth and death of Jesus Christ.

Link for I See His Blood Upon The Rose

10. Hildigunnur Runarsdottir – Psalm 150, SATB a cappella, cymbals

I became familiar with Hildigunnur and her music through the choralnet Composer’s Community and the Composition Showcase. “Psalm 150” was part of the group of compositions that received the first Silver Platter awards back in April of 2012. I conducted “Psalm 150” with my select highschool choir in 2013 and it’s exciting nature was well received. Her short piece “Vorlauf,” which is also on the Showcase is very beautiful and could be a relatively easy way to introduce singing in Icelandic to a choir. I have consistently found her compositions to be high quality.

Website: (The music page is currently down, but will hopefully be working soon. If you contact her via email, which is listed on the Composition Showcase, she is quick to respond and easy to communicate with)
Link for Psalm 150 (a soundcloud recording for Psalm 150 is also available here)

11. Linda Kachelmeier – Rise Up To Greet The Morning Dawn SATB a cappella

I became familiar with Linda Kachelmeier somewhat serendipitously. While following a thread about the first readings project in the Composer’s Community on choralnet and then perusing the first readings project’s site, I happened upon Linda’s spiritual. I found the composition very appealing. While checking out her site, I noticed that while not a lot of choral pieces were being promoted, everything was of the highest quality. Interestingly, the recording for “Rise Up To Greet The Morning Dawn” is not on her site at this time, though the piece is still available for purchase. Her excellent SSA piece “Aer Enim” and her SSATBB piece “Nomina Animalium” which includes elements in the style of Notre Dame polyphony, are worth your examination also.

Link for Rise Up To Greet The Morning Dawn (3rd recording in the list)

12. Gordon Thornett – Gather Ye Rosebuds SSA, a cappella

Gordon Thornett wrote this little gem and has made it available via Swirly Music. I became familiar with Mr. Thornett through the choralnet Composer’s Community. However, I discovered this skilfully crafted piece while browsing Swirly’s site for women’s choir music. I think it sets the poetry well and could find a place in many programs.

Link for Gather Ye Rosebuds

13. Larry Nickel – I Know My Jesus Lives SATB a cappella

I first became acquainted with Larry Nickel’s music at an ACDA division conference interest session on choral music by Canadian composers (Northwest Division, Vancouver, BC 2008). Though Larry has since become the owner of Cypress Choral Publishing, huge amounts of his fantastic choral compositions remain self-published and available on his website. I have sung and conducted several of his pieces since 2008. “I Know My Jesus Lives” has to be one of the most sublime and spiritually moving pieces I’ve had the privilege of conducting.

Link for I Know My Jesus Lives (recording)


Free Music

When I finished the first post in the series, composer Susan Partlan left a message about searching for new music on the Choral Public Domain Library, which includes a large number of self-published scores (including some of hers).

There are some fantastic self-published scores on CPDL. However I have a experienced very low efficiency in my success rate in finding the quality self-published scores amongst the thousands available. Granted, I have found some poorly put together self-published pieces on various distributing sites as well, but my experience at finding gems on these has been much more efficient than CPDL (and fairly similar in success rate to my search for gems in traditionally published music). I usually search CPDL for pieces for which I am familiar. With this said, if you are willing to spend the time, you can find free gems on CPDL and other websites. The next two composers offer high quality choral scores that are free.

14. Sally DeFord – The Lord Is My Shepherd Shepherd SATB piano, violin

While on CPDL I saw Sally DeFord’s name listed by a piece of music. On a whim, I clicked one of her scores and was taken to her website. I found her music lovely and well written on a consistent basis. Perusal scores are almost always available, as well as recordings. She generally writes songs, but very often has a choral arrangement (often for several voicings) of them. Her setting of James Montgomery’s paraphrase of the 23rd Psalm I found to be exquisite, with a simple but interesting piano part and accessible choir writing. I would say the piece (and many of her available choral pieces) reminds me of some of the writing of Craig Courtney or Mary McDonald.

Link for The Lord Is My Shepherd

15. Gwyneth Walker – More Love SATB (also available for SA), Piano

Gwyneth Walker likely needs no introduction to most choral conductors. However, many may not realize that she has self-published scores. Most of her self-published choral scores are free. She requests that you include no more than one of her free pieces in a program. “More Love” is a fun setting of Shaker texts (and not “Simple Gifts”) that embodies a lot of the qualities that have come to be associated with Walker’s music: joyful, melodic, and earthy; and an interesting, approachable, but not boring or easy piano part. A string quartet accompaniment version is also available.

Link for More Love (scroll down the alphabetical list, it is listed as SA, but is first promoted as SATB)


This concludes the five part blog series! I hope it has proved both informative and helpful.

Happy searching and God bless you!



Finding Great Choral Music 5: Self Published Composers and Their Compositions Part 2 — 2 Comments

  1. Michael–thank you so much for your recommendation! I heartily admit that I am often poor at self-promotion, so I especially appreciate you including my music in this list. I will try and get the recording of “Rise Up” on my website, along with another piece of mine that I’d like to see more choirs sing, “Veni Creator Spiritus”.

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