New Vocal Repertory: An Introduction

New Vocal Repertory: An Introduction

New Vocal Repertory: An Introduction

New Vocal Repertory: An Introduction


The first volume of New Vocal Repertory identified a genuine need, among singers and their teachers, for expert help in choosing contemporary repertoire from the often bewildering volume and variety of music available. It is now in regular use in teaching institutions and many works featured have found a wider audience. This has prompted Jane Manning to produce a further personal selection of over 60 vocal works, recommended for general repertoire. As before, pieces are graded according to their demands on vocal techniques and musicianship. Each is given detailed treatment from both performing and teaching viewpoints, with music examples, programming suggestions, and practical information. The stylistic range is even wider--composers from Norway and New Zealand are featured, there is also a strong contingent from Great Britain and North America including early pioneers as well as young talents. Works in foreign languages are now included, as are pieces for solo voice, and voice and tape. Jane Manning's persuasive advocacy is reinforced by over 30 years' international experience and over 300 world premieres. This invaluable guide will be warmly welcomed by amateurs and professional alike.


This re-issued edition, after a relatively short period out of print, has been prompted by a most heartening response from singers, teachers, and composers. Requests for further supplies have continued to follow me on my travels; a good number of the works featured now crop up regularly in programmes, and publishers report having had to increase stocks to satisfy demand. It appears that the categorisation of levels of vocal and musical difficulty has proved particularly helpful. This has also excited the interest of the composers themselves, intrigued by their personal 'ratings'. Many have told me that the articles have given them valuable insights from the performer's viewpoint. All this is more than I dared hope for when launching the project.

Much of the practical information contained in the final sections has had to be up-dated. Sadly, some composers have died. Radical changes in the music publishing world, especially in Britain and the usa, has meant that tracking down scores can still be a tortuous business. An account with a specialist music shop is often the best option, and a list of these is provided. Music Information Centres have been taking a more active promotional role of late, and the most important ones are listed.

Since the first edition, there has been a surge of popular interest in the singing voice. Certainly, more composers seem to be writing vocal music, and current financial constraints in the concert world have led to a need for more works for smaller forces. Modest recital opportunities for young artists appear to be growing, and the piano is now looked on more favourably by today's composers. the stylistic conservatism now fashionable is not perhaps an unmixed blessing. in our media-conscious society, with the enormous influence of the record industry, specialisation has intensified, and contemporary music itself has become subject to extreme polarisation. Minimalist and 'complexity' schools have their strong admirers, and many good artists and composers have been lost somewhere in the middle ground. Those of us committed to the music of our time as part of a normal repertoire have found that we have to work even harder to maintain a balance, especially now that the music of earlier periods is almost entirely left to specialists. It's interesting to note the return of the 'new-music specialist' singer first heard in the sixties. a rise in popularity of youthful 'untrained'-sounding female voices has sometimes limited the range of dynamics, colour, or emotion expected in live performance, and obsessive use of recordings may dull the edge of the appetite for risk, challenge, and surprise. There will always be room, however, for the adventurous and versatile individual, with the imagination and vision to create, communicate, and maintain the highest standards into the next century: a privilege and a responsibility that I hope will be relished by users of this book!

Jane Manning, September 1993 . . .

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