Selected Larger Choral Works of F. Melius Christiansen (1871-1955)
Toliver, Nicki Lynn
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F. Melius Christiansen (1871-1955) composed four larger choral works between 1917 and 1925. The Reformation Cantata, composed in 1917, commemorates the 400th anniversary of Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation and the merger of three church synods into the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America. The cantata is scored for baritone, tenor, and soprano soli, chorus, and orchestra. Christiansen’s oratorio, The Prodigal Son, was composed in 1918. The performing forces include SATB soli and SATB chorus with orchestra or keyboard accompaniment. In 1922, Christiansen composed a multi-movement a cappella work for the St. Olaf Choir entitled Psalm 50. The Norwegian-American Centennial Cantata was written in 1925 in commemoration of the Norwegian immigrants who sailed to America and established their homes. The cantata is scored for soprano and baritone soli, mixed chorus, and orchestra. A general analysis of these four larger choral works was performed. This document, with structural analysis and historical background of selected works, is intended to provide conductors with insights into Christiansen’s repertoire. The literature selected displays the composer’s diversity of genres and compositional techniques. For each work, the document includes the identification of melodic and thematic material, musical examples, text sources, vocal ranges, and details regarding form.