Top 10: Vocal Collections

March 15, 2012

1. Twenty-Four Italian Songs and Arias of the 17th and 18th Centuries

Twenty-Four Italian Songs and Arias

This classic anthology from Schirmer is an outstanding collection intended to introduce the student of singing to the bel canto style. The material in this collection comes from the early operatic repertoire and is suitable for singers both young and experienced. To better reflect the needs of modern singers, Schirmer recently published an updated edition of this collection titled Twenty-eight Italian Songs and Arias. All the original songs are included plus four new selections. The new publication also includes newly written historical information about the music and translations of the text. Each piece has been re-engraved and five different transpositions are available, with or without accompaniment CDs.

2. Arias for Soprano

Arias for Soprano is part of Schirmer’s new operatic anthology that includes volumes for each voice type. This first volume for soprano includes many famous excerpts from the literature and is suitable for advanced students or professionals preparing for concert recitals. The book is organized chronologically and includes selections from the early 18th century to the late 20th. The focus of this book is on the repertoire for lyric soprano; singers interested in the demanding repertoire by Verdi, Wagner and the like should consider other publications while collaratura sopranos should get this companion volume. Anthologies for other voice types can be found here.

3. Teen’s Musical Theatre Collection – Young Women’s Edition

This collection from Hal Leonard is especially intended to match the vocal abilities of young singers. The repertoire includes selections from early stage musicals of Broadway, classic films from Hollywood, and newer selections from recent stage and film productions up to the 1990s. The book is available with or without an accompaniment CD which is useful for young singers who do not have ready access to an accompanist. Guitar chords are also provided. A similar collection for men’s voices is also available.

4. 26 Italian Songs and Arias

This outstanding collection from Alfred is a great introduction for the singer to the early operatic repertoire of the 17th and 18th centuries. The aim of the editors in preparing this volume was to present some of the famous arias of this period in editions that better reflect the style of the composer’s time rather than the styles of the editor’s time. Facsimiles of original sources are shown, historical notes about the music give contextual information, and translations of the text with pronunciation suggestions are included. Two transposition (medium-high and medium-low) are available, each with or without an accompanying CD.

5. Oratorio Anthology for Soprano

Hal Leonard’s Oratorio Anthology for Soprano brings together classic arias from the repertoire of sacred oratorios. With selections ranging from the late 17th century (Purcell) to the late 19th century (Fauré), the book offers a wide range of styles within its 30 selections. Given his vast output of oratorio, J.S. Bach is given a full quarter of the collection. Anthologies for other voice types can be found here.

6. Best Songs Ever: 76 Great Songs (7th Edition)

Hal Leonard’s extensive collection contains the 72 greatest songs ever written since music was invented in 1925. Represented are famous shows from Broadway, songs from Hollywood films, jazz standards, and hits from the biggest names in rock and pop. Each song is cleanly and spatiously engraved with straight-forward piano accompaniments and guitar chords. If you are looking for a hit from the 20th century, it likely will be in this collection.

7. Sing Out!: All Time and Old Time Favourites

Sing Out! is a book produced in Markham, Ontario, for use in Ontario’s seniors’ residences. The collection includes songs that seniors would likely know pitch at low keys that should be comfortable to sing. Most represented are songs from the early 20th century with which seniors (in the 1970s when the book was produced) would have grown up. The music is arranged for simply piano accompaniment with the vocal line in the stop staff of the keyboard rather than on its own line. This feature makes Sing Out! an accessible collection for amateur players. A handbook with words only is also available for distribution to seniors residences.

8. The Best of Cole Porter

This exciting collection brings together Cole Porter’s greatest Broadway hits and popular songs. All the standards are here including: “I Love You”, “It’s De-Lovely”, “What Is This Thing Called Love?”, and “Brush Up Your Shakespeare”. The piano doubles the vocal melody at all times making the book very useful for amateur singers and chords symbols are included for guitarists or combo playing.

9. Highlights Edition: Irish Country Songs

This book compiles many classic arrangements of Irish folksong from the pen of Herbert Hughes, one of the prominent musicologists who studied this repertoire in the early 20th century. The book includes many favourites including: “Down by the Salley Gardens”, “Innisfree”, “The Star of the County Down”, and “The Black Ribbon-Band”. The songs are arranged for voice and piano making this collection suitable mainly for recital performance by concert singers; this is not an “urtext” edition which should instead show the songs as melodies only with variations documented. Hughes’ four volumes of Irish Country Songs , from which the present volume’s contents are collected, are analogous to folksong settings by contemporaries like Zóltan Kodály, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Benjamin Britten rather than musicological source books.

10. English Songs: Renaissance to Baroque

Edited by Steven Stolen and Richard Walters, this volume in Hal Leonard’s Vocal Library collects favourite songs by English composers of the 16th to 18th centuries, including: Thomas Arne, Thomas Campiano, John Dowland, George Frideric Handel, and Henry Purcell. The editors have included optional ornamentation in small notes and suggested dynamics. Notes about the composers are included in the preface. This is a straight-forward songbook for the student of singing who is seeking a good introduction to this repertoire. The collection is available for high or low voice, either with or without an accompanying CD.
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