If you’ve ever sung in a choir, you know there are certain pieces that bring out emotions you didn’t even realize you had! And even if you haven’t sung in a choir, we’re pretty sure after listening to these pieces, you’ll understand what we’re talking about. Enjoy the feels!

1. “Lacrimosa” – Mozart

The famous Requiem in D Minor, K. 626 is a requiem mass by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Part of the Dies Irae sequence in the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass, “Lacrimosa” has become widely known for its passionate and rich melody, as well as its mournful lyrics.

Originally written in Latin, the lyrics translate to English:

Lacrimosa dies illa (Full of tears will be that day)
Qua resurget ex favilla (When from the ashes shall arise)
Judicandus homo reus. (The guilty man to be judged.)
Huic ergo parce, Deus: (Therefore spare him, O God:)
Pie Jesu Domine, (Merciful Lord Jesus,)
Dona eis requiem. Amen. (Grant them eternal rest. Amen.)

2. “Sleep” – Eric Whitacre

Known for his clashing melodies and intricate voicings, Eric Whitacre has wowed audiences time and time again with his beautiful compositions. “Sleep” is one of Whitacre’s more popular pieces, gaining extra recognition for its “Virtual Choir” performance (Whitacre’s video projects, bringing individual voices from around the globe together into an online choir).

Lyrics:

The evening hangs beneath the moon
A silver thread on darkened dune
With closing eyes and resting head
I know that sleep is coming soon
Upon my pillow, safe in bed
A thousand pictures fill my head
I cannot sleep my minds a flight
And yet my limbs seem made of lead
If there are noises in the night
A frighting shadow, flickering light
Then I surrender unto sleep
Where clouds of dreams give second sight
What dreams may come both dark and deep
Of flying wings and soaring leap
As I surrender unto sleep
As I surrender unto sleep

3. “Sure on This Shining Night” – Morten Lauridsen

Morten Lauridsen’s “Sure on This Shining Night” is the third movement in Nocturnes. It’s beautiful moving vocal lines intertwine and overlap each other, creating a peaceful and pleasing atmosphere for anyone who listens.

Lyrics:

Sure on this shining night of star-made shadows round,
kindness must watch for me this side the ground,
on this shining night, this shining night
Sure on this shining night of star-made shadows round,
kindness must watch for me this side the ground,
on this shining night, this shining night
The late year lies down the north
All is healed, all is health
High summer holds the earth, hearts all whole
The late year lies down the north

All is healed, all is health
High summer holds the earth, hearts all whole
Sure on this shining night,
sure on this shining, shining night
Sure on this shining night
I weep for wonder wand’ring far alone
Of shadows on the stars
Sure on this shining night, this shining night
On this shining night, this shining night
Sure on this shining night

4. “Da Pacem Domine” – Arvo Pärt

Da Pacem Domine (Give peace, Lord) is a choral composition by Arvo Pärt on the Latin prayer for peace. The work was commissioned by Jordi Savall for a peace concert in Barcelona in 2004. Pärt began the composition two days after the 2004 Madrid train bombings, in memory of the victims. In Spain, it has been performed annually to commemorate the victims.

Lyrics from Latin to English:

Da pacem, Domine, in diebus nostris (Grant peace, Lord, in our time;)
Quia non est alius (for there is none else)
Qui pugnet pro nobis (who would fight for us)
Nisi tu Deus noster. (if not you, God.)

5. “Agnus Dei” – Samuel Barber

“Agnus Dei” (Lamb of God) is a choral composition by Samuel Barber based off of his own famous and hauntingly beautiful, Adagio for Strings. The lyrics are the Latin words of the liturgical Agnus Dei, a part of the Mass.

Lyrics from Latin to English:

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
(Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.)
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
(Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.)
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.
(Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace.)

6. “Crucifixus a 8” – Antonio Lotti

“Crucifixus a 8” (Crucifixus for 8 voices) by Antonio Lotti is a motet, part of the Credo in F, which in turn is part of a complete mass (Missa Sancti Christophori). This piece creates many cases of dissonance and resolution, keeping the listener hanging on to every note.

Lyrics from Latin to English:

Crucifixus etiam pro nobis, (He was crucified also for us,)
sub Pontio Pilato. (under Pontius Pilate.)
Passus, et sepultus est. (He suffered and was buried.)

7. “Bogoroditse Devo” – Sergei Rachmaninoff

“Bogoroditse Devo” by Sergei Rachmaninoff is one of the most popular and widely performed pieces in Russian Orthodox sacred music. Its graceful simplicity and pious reverence move and stir the soul and spirit in a way that few other pieces of sacred choral music are capable of doing.

Lyrics from Russian to English:

Bogoroditse devo, raduisya, Blagodatnaya (Rejoice O Virgin Theotokos, Mary full of grace,)
Mariye, Gospod s Toboyu. (the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among)
Blagoslovenna Ty v zhenakh, i blagosloven plod (women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for)
chreva Tvoyego, yako Spasa rodila esi dush nashikh. (thou hast born the Savior of our souls)

8. “Northern Lights” – Ola Gjeilo

When asked about “Northern Lights,” Ola Gjello said: “’Northern Lights‘ is my most Norwegian production in years; composed in an attic outside of Oslo at Christmas time in 2007… this piece and its text is about beauty. About a ‘terrible’, powerful beauty, although the music is quite serene on the surface.”

Lyrics from Latin to English:

Pulchra es amica mea, (Thou art beautiful, O my love,)
suavis et decora sicut Jerusalem,
(sweet and comely as Jerusalem,)
terribilis ut castrorum acies ordinata.
(terrible as an army set in array.)
Averte oculos tuos a me 
(Turn away thy eyes from me,)
quia ipsi me avolare fecerunt.
(for they have made me flee away)

9. “The Gallant Weaver” – James MacMillan

Composed by Scottish classical composer and conductor James MacMillan, “The Gallant Weaver” is full of clashing and resolving melodies, taking the listener on an incredible journey from start to finish.

Lyrics:

Where Cart rins rowin to the sea, 
By mony a flow’r and spreading tree, 
There lives a lad, the lad for me, 
He is the gallant Weaver. 
Oh, I had wooers aught or nine, 
They gied me rings and ribbons fine, 
And I was feared my heart would tine, 
And I gied it to the Weaver. 

I love my gallant Weaver.

10. “Amor De Mi Alma” – Z. Randall Stroope

“Amor De Mi Alma” is an incredible work by American composer Z. Randall Stroope. Set to an emotional 16th-century love poem, which translates “You are the Love of my Soul,” the piece contains a rich harmonic language and lucid vocal passages that are both expressive and masterfully written.

Lyrics from Spanish to English:

Yo no naci, sino para quereros (I was born to love only you)
Mi alma os ha cortado a su medida (My soul has formed you to its measure)
Habito del alma misma, del alma misma os quiero. (I want you as a garment for my soul.)
Escrito esta en mi alma vuestro gesto (Your very image is written on my soul)
Yo lo leo tan solo que aun de vos me guardo en esto. (Such indescribable intimacy, I hide even from you.)
Quanto tengo, confiesso yo de veros (All that I have, I owe to you)
Y por vos naci, por vos tengo la vida, (For you I was born, and for you I live,)
Habito del alma misma os quiero. (I want you as a garment for my soul.)
Y por vos e de morir, (And for you I must die)
Y por vos muero. (And for you I give my last breath.)
Por vos. (For you.)


We hope you love these choir compositions as much as we do! And don’t forget to grab all of your choir sheet music arrangements at Musicnotes. Happy performing!

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