pop, rock, folk, jazz, country… and all the rest

Pop:

NEW 2024 ”Used to be young”: By Miley Cyrus from 2023. A great song about ”getting older” – and hopefully wiser as well ;). I combined it in a Mash-Up with Thomas Rhett’s wonderful country song ”Remember you young”. You can listen to the Mash-Up here.

NEW 2024 ”The Boy in the Bubble”: As far as I’m concerned, one of the very best tracks from Paul Simon’s 1986 album ”Graceland”. Typically of Paul Simon’s poetry, it combines some rather dark lyrics in the form of a lullaby (”don’t cry, baby, don’t cry”) with a somewhat ironic optimism (”These are the days of miracle and wonder”). I guess, both perspectives can be true at the same time, can’t they? Since I couldn’t find any vocal arrangement of it so far, I thought it was time to provide one. In this setting the solo part can be sung either by a male or female singer, but also by the whole group of tenors or sopranos.

NEW 2024 ”Forever Young”: Alphaville biggest hit was released in 1984. Solid lyrics, great melody. This setting focuses mainly on the atmospheric aspect of the piece rather than the rhythm, which brings out choral qualities especially well.

NEW 2023 ”The Bridge”: Sting’s strong and memorable title song from his 2021 album.

”Fields of Gold”: Sting’s beautiful autumnal love song. Also available in a setting for SSAA.

NEW 2023 ”Stuck with You”: This is Huey Lewis and the News from 1986. Such a good song! Here it starts with a mellow bass solo until the melody switches to the sopranos and later even to the altos and tenors.

NEW 2023 ”You Win Again”: by the Bee Gees (from 1987). With its powerful refrain the song is one of the best in its era. With great lyrics as well. My arrangement starts with the basses presenting the verse. Later on, the melody wanders through the alto and tenor parts until finally the sopranos take the lead in the chorus section.

”Hiking Song/Highway to Hell”: A Scottish highland tune in combination with the Scottish Hard Rock band AC/DC. What’s going on? Or rather going down… For this arrangement you can either use a medium high solo voice or let all the tenors sing the solo part. Tune your bagpipes and take it away!

”Money For Nothing”: Written by Sting and Marc Knopfler from the Dire Straits. The famous riff is now played on an a cappella air guitar – so at least you won’t get ”blisters on your little finger”.

”Under Attack”: An extraordinary song from ABBA’s last album ”The Visitors”. You’re listening to a live recording by the Czech choir ”Antifona” (dir.: Jan Richter).

”I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”: One and only hit by the The Proclaimers from 1987. Such a simple song, but all the more effective! It has some tongue-in-cheek moments in it and works very powerful as a concert piece.

”Man in the Mirror”: We all know Michael Jackson’s version. Originally, it’s a song by the equally fantastic Siedah Garrett. To avoid the high ”G” in the soprano part and the a-flat in the tenor’s I’ve made an alternative version. Not worse – just different. 😉

”Wake Me Up”: Finally more House Music for a cappella choirs! This one’s by Avicii. It starts off in a lyrical way and shifts into the characteristic up tempo later on.

”Our Sweet Love”: The Beach Boys’ most beautiful love song.

”God only knows”: Obviously the other most beautiful love song by the Beach Boys 🙂

”In My Room”: Once more the Beach Boys, but no love song this time. Just Brian Wilson having a good time at home.

”Pipes of Peace”: Paul McCartney at his best. Holding a torch for world peace!

Silly Love Songs”: McCartney again – wonderfully ironic. A great concert piece for choirs that have a couple of ”silly love songs” in their program. A big favorite of my choir!

NEW 2024 ”Wanderlust”: Just another epic McCartney song from his time with the Wings. One of my favorites actually. Surprisingly, the main melody is inspired by C. Saint-Saens’ 3rd Symphony. But beware: you will get addicted to it!

”New”: McCartney from 2013! He’s coming home to a familiar Beatles style. It’s perfect a cappella singing: a groovy walking bass, a catchy melody – what else do you need?

”With a little help from my friends”: A slightly surprising approach to this all time favorite. Not difficult at all. Don’t worry – be happy! 😉

”Penny Lane”: A transcription and adaption of the wonderful arrangement sung by the Kings’ Singers. Since I couldn’t come up with anything better…

NEW 2023 ”Imagine/What a Wonderful World”: By John Lennon and Bob Thiele. I thought those two songs needed each other somehow. Maybe they can create something special together.

Country:

NEW 2024 ”Remember you young”: From Thomas Rhett’s 2019 album that I like a lot. It’s simply about the fact that we’re all getting older. Here’s the original version with Thomas Rhett: https://youtu.be/f5pHiXBt8UU?feature=shared Since it’s the same topic I coupled the song with ”Used to be young” by Miley Cyrus. Listen to the Mash-Up here.

”Sand”: Another song from Thomas Rhett’s 2019 album. It’s a relatively easy choir piece providing perfect summer vibes. Listen to the original version here: https://youtu.be/qNBQosj5R08

NEW 2023 ”5 foot 9”: In 2022 country singer Tyler Hubbard wrote this wonderful song to his wife. For me it already feels like a classic. ”Jack makes good whiskey, but God makes the good stuff!” You might want to listen to the original version: https://youtu.be/RK9rT1ck90E

”Always On My Mind”: This beautiful ballad became famous by Elvis, Willie Nelson and The Pet Shop Boys.

”Seven Bridges Road”: Originally by Steve Young, but more memorably covered by artists like Dolly Parton, Allan Jackson and The Eagles it became a country classic. Here you can listen to the enthusiastic Illustrakören from Stockholm singing the arrangement in a concert.

”9 to 5”: Being the ’Queen of Country MusicDolly Parton even wrote an anthem for the Labour Union. Who would have guessed?

”Forever and ever, Amen”: Randy Travis’ classic country love song.

Singer-songwriters:

”Both Sides now”: Joni Mitchell’s wonderful classic in a lyrical approach featuring all the four voices equally. This is a rather popular arrangement of mine that also exists in a SSAA and SSAB setting.

”Make You Feel My Love”: From Bob Dylan’s huge song catalogue . It has been covered by a number of great artist – like Billy Joel, Garth Brooks and most recently Adele.

”Tuesday’s Dead”: By Cat Stevens. One of the great songs of his album ”Tea for the Tillerman” from 1970. Stevens achieves a beautiful combination of poetic lyrics and a captivating calypso groove.

NEW 2022 ”Why Walk When You Can Fly?”: This is a touching, little song by Mary Chapin Carpenter. From her album ”Stones in the Road” (1994).

”Oh, What a World”: Can life be beautiful even if straight men are reading fashion magazines? Rufus Wainright definitely thinks so, letting Ravel’s ”Bolero” take over more and more – out of pure inspiration!

”Time in a Bottle”: A milestone for every singer-songwriter. Jim Croce wrote it – probably because ”there never seems to be enough time to do the things you wanna do”. I’ve made an alternative, slightly lower version as well (in d-minor). That one has recently been wonderfully performed by the Vocal Ensemble of the Brighton Secondary School in Australia. You can listen to it here. (Their performance is 1 hour and 19 minutes into the video.)

”Lights are on but Nobody’s Home”: Tom Rosenthal’s soothingly meditative song works beautifully for mixed choir. The repetitive piano part of the original is here distributed to alto and tenor voices. The soprano part is occasionally divided. An easy piece for an outstanding and calm moment in a concert program. Watch the original music video here: https://youtu.be/p_sXz5IL2kI

”Il nous faut regarder”: An early Jacques Brel song, still as relevant as in his time. I made a Swedish version as well, with a wonderful translation by Lars Forssell. It’s called ”En enkel visa”.

”Les Champs Elysées”: Joe Dassin’s wonderful chanson you always wanted to sing it in the choir. Just brush up your French and there you go! If you’d rather sing it in English, there’s a beautiful version for that, too.

Folk:

NEW 2023 ”Wild Mountain Thyme”: An old British folk melody.

The Parting Glass”: My version of this famous Irish folk tune. First, the tenors take the lead, then things are getting pretty wild! The perfect way to end a concert with. I also made an easier version, just in case. 😉

O Waly, Waly”: An arrangement of the beautiful British folk song ”The water is wide”.

”My Lord, What a Morning”: This traditional spiritual came to my mind on a beautiful summer morning at home in Ingarö. I hope the arrangement’s capturing the atmosphere. 🙂

”How Can I Keep From Singing?”: An arrangement of the lovely old Quaker hymn answering the rhetorical question with a glorious crescendo at the end. Here you can listen to the Illustrakören from Stockholm singing the arrangement.

”Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer”: This seems odd – but just hear me out! After a slow introduction the famous British hymn takes off into a completely different groove. Have fun!

Musical and Film:

”America”: From Leonard Bernstein’s musicalWest Side Story” is aging well and getting even more relevant as the years go by. You’re listening to a live recording by the Czech choir ”Antifona” (dir.: Jan Richter).

NEW 2023Somewhere: Another great song from ”West Side Story” and a testimony of Bernstein’s and Sondheim’s genius.

NEW 2023 ”Some Other Time”: Leonard Bernstein’s dreamy song from the musical ”On the Town”. Nice and slow with jazzy harmonies, but not too difficult – just perfect as a encore piece.

NEW 2023 ”Ein Tag wie Gold”: Composed by Max Raabe and title track from season 4 of hit series Babylon Berlin (2022).

NEW 2023 ”My Cup Runneth Over”: Originally from the Broadway musical ”I do! I do!”, this number has been sung by classic crooners like Ed Ames, Bing Crosby or Robert Goulet just to name a few. Personally, I’ve always loved the simplicity of it, touching the line to sentimentality but never crossing it.

NEW 2023 ”Sunrise, Sunset”: From the Broadway musical ”Fiddler On the Roof”. For the more ”mature” choir! 😉

NEW 2023 ”Sunrise, Sunset/My Cup runneth Over”: This is a medley of the two pieces above. The first being a melancholic slow waltz. The second one also a waltz but comforting and much less nostalgic. It reminds you that the endless sunrise/sunset monotony can after all be filled with love. 🙂

NEW 2023 ”As Time Goes By”: The famous song from the movie ”Casablanca”. It has been covered by countless artists, among them Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong and Tony Bennett. While most of them directly start with the refrain, Tony Bennett also includes the witty verse of the song. I’ve decided to do so, as well.

NEW 2024 ”American Songbook Medley”: ”When in Rome”, ”If I Were a Bell” and ”I Won’t Dance”.
Here these three pieces are connected by a simple story line:
A new romance has been started in France. The sopranos and altos would like to develop the relationship further on the dance floor, but despite of a lot of persuasive effort the tenors and basses just ”won’t dance”. And although the men try to present a good reason for that, it still might be the end of a fine romance. 😉
At a certain point there’s also an opportunity for a little dance, scat or kazoo improvisation!

”My Ship”: Kurt Weill’s most famous song (composed for the movie ”Lady in the Dark”, in which it’s strangely enough never been sung.)
But since then it ha been sung all the more. By classical singers like Dawn Upshaw and Anne Sophie von Otter as well as icons like Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Hartman or Julie Andrews. But my favorite one remains Gertrude Lawrence from 1941. (https://youtu.be/zzg_8SZz-L4). I also made a Swedish version based on a beautiful translation by Lars Forssell.

”This is the Moment”: From the musical ”Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. I made a SATB adaptation based on the famous male barbershop version by Fred King.

”O, what a beautiful mornin'”: From the musical Oklahoma”. This version turns the song into an up-tempo jazzy 6/8-groove.

”Eatnemen Vuelie”: A Silesian folk melody combined with Sami music by the Norwegian composer Frode Fjellheim. Very powerful and well known from the movie ”Frost”.

Jazz:

”Straighten up and fly right”: The swinging jazz standard by the Mill’s Brothers and the great Nat King Cole. This arrangement is inspired by the version of vocal group Cadence. During the chorus section there’s plenty of opportunity for scat or kazoo improvisations! Fly safe! 🙂

”O, what a beautiful mornin'”: From the musical ”Oklahoma”. In this version the song gets very jazzy vibes in an up-tempo 6/8-groove.

NEW 2023 ”Some Other Time”: Leonard Bernstein’s dreamy song from the musical ”On the Town”. Nice and slow with jazzy harmonies, but not too difficult – just perfect as an encore.

NEW 2022 ”My Ship”: Kurt Weill’s most famous song (composed for the movie ”Lady in the Dark”, in which it’s strangely enough never been sung.)
But since then it had been sung all the more. By classical singers like Dawn Upshaw and Anne Sophie von Otter as well as icons like Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Hartman or Julie Andrews. But my favorite one remains Gertrude Lawrence from 1941. (https://youtu.be/zzg_8SZz-L4)

NEW 2023 ”As Time Goes By”: The famous song from the movie ”Casablanca”. It has been covered by countless artists, among them Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong and Tony Bennett. While most of them directly start with the refrain, Tony Bennett also includes the witty verse of the song. I’ve decided to do so, as well.

Classical:

”Sehnsucht”: The original is a Lied for voice and piano by Johannes Brahms. Listen to the original song here: https://youtu.be/7fxXJrR8BWo
It has a melancholic melody accompanied by romantic hunting horn motives. I think this choral version can do it justice and help making this wonderful song a bit more known.

”Die Nacht”: With this adaptation of the marvelous German Lied by Richard Strauss, I try to enrich the small number of choral works that this composer wrote with an additional piece. The song has an enchanting atmosphere and the most beautiful poem. There is also a slightly easier version available (where the sopranos don’t have to sustain the high f).

NEW 2022 ”Music for a While”: Henry Purcell’s most beloved song. In this SATB arrangement all the voices are participating equally in the melodic lines. Even the accompanying parts are sung on the words of the poem.

”My Lovely Celia”: Basically, the British baroque composer George Munro (1675-1731) is only known for this wonderful song. If that had been his only achievement in music it would have been completely worth it, I think!