In this jam-packed festive issue...

We bring you top tips for Carol Singers and our latest pick of singing related sites and events on the world wide web.

We introduce you to Baritone, Paul Hindemith, who tell us he probably IS a relation, and why he felt that the world needed a website dedicated to the pursuit of a deeper understanding of art songs.

We also take a look at Sting's new album in which he reinvents a number of well loved Winter songs and we channel the latest offering from Welsh bass-baritone, the very dramatic but hardly very nasty at all, Bryn Terfyl, to inspire the potential bad boys among you to connect with your dark side.

And, naturally, we bring you a round up of all the additions to the Your Accompanist catalogue since our last communication.

Tomorrow's the last recommended day for UK customers to order the Christmas Carol Accompaniments CD... so if you've not ordered your copy yet, please hurry! But don't forget you can still get instantly downloadable versions of all the Chrismas songs it contains, and more!

Festive Greetings from the Your Accompanist team

PS: If this is the first time you've received a newsletter from us, you might like to take a look at the Newsletter Archive. All our back issues available to view online. You can view them in the original format, or browse the article archive.


New to the catalogue

New Christmas songs
Piae Cantiones Puer Nobis (Unto Us Is Born A Son)
Terry Sir R R Myn Lyking
Traditional Gloucestershire Wassail
Traditional Rejoice And Be Merry (A Gallery Carol)
Traditional Wassail Song
Traditional Yorkshire Wassail
Warlock Adam Lay Ybounden
New songs
Delius Wiegenlied
Fauré Gabriel Puisqu'Ici-Bas Toute Âme
Fauré Gabriel Cantique De Jean Racine (SATB)
Fauré Gabriel Pavane (Choral Version)
Handel Recit: E Pur Così
Purcell If Music Be The Food Of Love (low)
Schumann Eichendorff Liederkreis - 07 - Auf Einer Burg
Schumann Eichendorff Liederkreis - 04 - Die Stille
Schumann Eichendorff Liederkreis - 12 - Frühlingsnacht (1:20)
Schumann Eichendorff Liederkreis - 12 - Frühlingsnacht (1:14)
Schumann Eichendorff Liederkreis - 11 - Im Walde
Schumann Eichendorff Liederkreis - 01 - In Der Fremde (mezzo)
Schumann Eichendorff Liederkreis - 01 - In Der Fremde (orig)
Schumann Eichendorff Liederkreis - 08 - In Der Fremde (orig)
Schumann Eichendorff Liederkreis - 08 - In Der Fremde (mezzo)
Schumann Eichendorff Liederkreis - 02 - Intermezzo (orig)
Schumann Eichendorff Liederkreis - 02 - Intermezzo (mezzo)
Schumann Eichendorff Liederkreis - 06 - Schöne Fremde (mezzo)
Schumann Eichendorff Liederkreis - 06 - Schöne Fremde (orig)
Schumann Eichendorff Liederkreis - 03 - Waldesgespräch
Schumann Eichendorff Liederkreis - 09 - Wehmut
Schumann Eichendorff Liederkreis - 10 - Zwielicht
Bizet Vieille Chanson
Delius Verborgne Liebe
Martin Easthope All For You (mezzo)
Martin Easthope Carillion (mezzo)
Martin Easthope How Wonderful! (mezzo)
Martin Easthope To A Bygone Spring (mezzo)
Tosti Mattinata (low)
Tosti Mattinata (high)
Tosti Segreto
Fauré Gabriel Cantique De Jean Racine (Duet Version)
Messager André Le Duo De LÂne (De-Ci, De-Là?)
Mendelssohn If With All Your Hearts
Mendelssohn If With All Your Hearts (low)
Excell Edwin.O. Count Your Blessings
Scarlatti Alessandro  Se Florindo È Fedele
New hymns
Stainer Sir John Author Of Life
Gill W.H. Singing, The Reapers Homeward Come
Knapp William Wareham (Creation's Lord, We Give Thee Thanks)(Jesus Where'er)
Musicalisches Handbuch Winchester New (On Jordan's Banks)(Creation's Lord)
Traditional Dutch Kremser (We Gather Together)
Various Thanksgiving Collection
Cruger J Nun Danket (Now Thank We All Our God)
New collections
Schumann Liederkreis Opus 24 High (Original) Collection
Schumann Liederkreis Opus 24 Low Collection
Various Thanksgiving Collection
New learning packs
Fauré Gabriel Pie Jesu (Song Learning Pack)(low)
Handel Where'er You Walk (Song Learning Pack) (low)
New vocal exercises
Sieber Ferdinand Thirty-Six Vocalises for Alto (Opus 94)

Latest additions: www.youraccompanist.com/latest

Collections: www.youraccompanist.com/collections

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Singer Profile: Paul Hindemith

Baritone Paul HindemithWe're always out and about on the web keeping an eye out for sites of interest to classical singers, singing students and those wishing to gain a deeper understanding of songs, and we recently came across the very inspiring An Art Song a Day blog whose creator, Baritone Paul Hindemith, is a Minneapolis-based singer and teacher who has performed in opera, operetta, musical theatre, oratorio, and recital settings. Through his blog, Paul set out to help students absorb and perform the songs more effectively by developing a deeper understanding of both the lyrics and context. He holds a doctorate in Voice Performance from the University of Minnesota, where his doctoral thesis was entitled The Singer as Communicator (PDF). We really liked what he was doing, so we asked him if we could get to know him a little bit better...

We're in a very festive mood at the moment so we'd love to know: what sort of singing do you get up to at Christmas?

My first holiday singing is always the singing I do around the house. I love crooning along with Bing Crosby, Perry Como, and Andy Williams while I go about my business.

Ever since I started studying voice, singing O Holy Night on Christmas Eve has been one of my favorite traditions. Until several years ago, I sang the solo both at my father's small Lutheran church, and then at the Midnight Mass at my High School; this was the one time of year when my parents and I would worship together, and it was always a special moment for us.

How did you get into singing? What’s your earliest recollection of singing?

When I was ten, my mother suggested I audition for the children’s choir for the Omaha Symphony’s “Magic of Christmas.” I told her I didn’t know what to sing, and she said, “Just sing ‘Joy to the World,’” which I did. I ended up singing with that group for three years, and got my first taste of opera with the children’s chorus of La Bohème and Carmen with Opera Omaha. I also had a chance to work on George Crumb’s Ancient Voice of Children at that time; looking back on it, it makes me appreciate the naiveté of childhood, because I had no idea at the time how difficult that piece was!

What do you like to sing? Do you have a favourite composer?

My favourite music tells a story, and delights all the senses. I am especially drawn to music of the late Romantic period and tonal portions of the Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries because of the complexity, richness, dimension, and immediacy of both the musical writing and the texts. Hugo Wolf’s Auf ein altes Bild remains a favourite for its simple yet evocative depiction of the Virgin and Child.

My favourite composer changes by the day, but I think the composer for whom I have the most respect is Mozart. The more I study his music, the more I learn about musical construction, about singing, and about humanity. Even the simplest songs are a treasure trove – just today, I was working on Oiseaux, se tous les ans with a student and discovered a whole subtext written into the music I had never noticed before. He was a genius, and I think I will never tire of his music.

How did you come to start an Art Song a Day?

Last spring, I began An Art Song a Day to distract me while I was writing my doctoral thesis. When I started teaching, I realized very quickly that despite having heard literally hundreds of songs through the course of my education, I hadn’t really “absorbed” them.

In the case of recitals, pieces come and go so quickly that they are difficult to absorb, and in literature and history classes, they are learned more for their importance than for their meaning and suitability to teaching and performing. Some people have a knack for knowing the literature intimately.

I hope the site is useful to performers, teachers, and music lovers alike. I'm hoping to really get the site really running in the new year, so please feel free to contact me with suggestions and comments!

Read the full interview, and hear some sound clips

Would you like to be our featured singer? Contact us for more information.

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Unleash your inner bad boy!

Where would opera be without its 'Bad Boys'? Scarpia, Iago, Mephistopheles, Satan himself? One of Wales' favourite sons, Bryn Terfyl, acclaimed Bass-Baritone, has just finished his tour in the UK and released his new Deutsche Grammophon album of this name, celebrating these infamous operatic characters.

Bryn Terfyl's Bad Boys The album includes the arias that made Grand Opera's villains notorious for their dastardly deeds like Mephistopheles' Golden Calf aria from Gounod's Faust and Sono Lo Spirito Che Nega from Boito's 'Mefistofele'.

So boys... why not take inspiration from Bryn's album and unleash your dark side with these more demonic, furious and dramatic arias?

It also includes other favourites like Kurt Weil's 'Mackie Messer's famous hit from 'The Threepenny Opera' (aka Bobby Darrin's 'Mack The Knife') and 'Udite, Udite, O Rustici' sung by Donnizetti's naughty Dottore Dulcamara in 'L'elisir D'Amore', which is coming soon to Your Accompanist...

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Let's make beautiful music together

Find YourAccompanist on YouTubeWe love to see how people all over the world are singing along to our rehearsal tracks. While we cannot give permission for use of our tracks in commercial recording projects, if you'd like to make a recording and post it on YouTube, all we ask is that you make friends with us, and refer to the full web address of our website in the description of the video.

Then, drop us a line to let us know it's there, and we'll add you to the playlist. If you don't have a YouTube account, we'll upload it for you.

Whatever kind of singing you enjoy, alone or with others, you'll find your favourite public domain songs in our catalogue. We cover a wide range of singing styles: classical to traditional; lullabies to lieder; operetta to art song; nursery rhymes to shanties and sea songs; oratorio to music hall. We've got over 1300 titles to choose from. So, get rehearsing and recording, and get in touch!

http://www.youtube.com/YourAccompanist

Here are a few hints for getting great results from your video: Tips on making a YouTube Video

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Your Accompanist Piano Accompaniment MP3s Newsletter Xmas 2009

Issue 10
December 2009


In this issue:
Catalogue update
Top tips for carol singing
Singer profile: Paul Hindemith
Send free festive musical e-cards
Sting: If On a Winters Night
Singing on the web
Inspirations: unleash your inner bad boy
---
Let's swap links!
Revised terms and conditions
How are we doing?
About Your Accompanist


Tell a friend!

Do you know someone who would enjoy this newsletter? You can pass it on by simply forwarding the email you got from us to their inbox, or copying the address of this page and pasting it into an instant messaging software, or social network site.


Top Tips for Carol Singing

Memorise the words so that you can meet your listeners with a smile. No 'lah-lahing!'

Have a run through before you set off (even if you're with seasoned campaigners - there's always somebody who's not been before) and preferably do it outside to get used to the difference in the sound.

Use pitch pipes or a harmonica (unless one of the crew has really reliable pitch). There's not much festive cheer in finding you can't finish your carol because you started too high.

Work out a running order for what you're going to sing - easy to forget when enthusiasm kicks in - to avoid decision-making huddles in between each carol. Try to be flexible - you may get requests.

Practise singing and walking at the same time.
It can be quite hard if you're not used to it. Pick a carol where the rhythm helps - like O Come O Come Emmanuel, (say with minim [half-note] = 60 beats per minute) otherwise you'll find yourself going 'at the double'.

Organise the look of your group. Informal is good and a semi circle is practical. Try to sing without your conductor standing in front if possible. Don't stand in one long row or you won't be able to hear each other.

Give some thought to lighting. Lanterns are traditional and lovely, but headband lights could be very useful if you do need to see the music.

Wear light colours to be road-safe in the dark - reflectors on your coats can look very festive.

Be sensible about your safety. Alert as many people as you can about your carolling visit and go in as large a group as possible - it's more fun anyway and you'll get a better audience.

Avoid offers of hot chocolate or milky drinks to heat you up - good for the toes but not for the top notes - and stay off the very strong stuff!

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Singing on the web

This edition's pick of the most interesting singing related sites and web events:

History of Opera one Tweet at a time
The San Diego Opera has launched a Twitter project in which it will tweet about everything from Monteverdi to Mozart to Philip Glass on a daily basis. With more than 400 years to cover - and at a rate of two tweets per day - the project could take years to finish. The project can be found at #operahistory.

Sing Halleluja for Children in Need (BBC)
A veritable smorgasbord of resources relating to Handel, the Messiah and the Hallelujah Chorus, provided by the BBC to support the coordinated performances which took place this autumn to raise money for Children in Need.

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir

Eric Whitacre has harnessed the power of YouTube to create a rather magical collaboration version of some of his original composition, Sleep.

There's a new project, Lux Aurumque, in progress as we speak. To take part, download your part and tune in to the conductor track on YouTube.

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Send a festive musical e-card

We've expanded our selection of free musical greetings cards to include four more favourite carols for you to send last minute festive wishes to friends and family across the globe!

Choose from:
Veni Immanuel
Good King Wenceslas
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
The Holly and the Ivy
O Holy Night (Minuit Chrétiens)
In the Bleak Midwinter
Patapan (Guillaume, Prends Ton Tambourin)
Humility (See Amid The Winters Snow/See In Yonder Manger Low)

Each e-card contains a specially recorded arrangement and performance not available anywhere else.

Find them on our website

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Sting: If On a Winters Night

It's wonderful to see how standard 'classical' vocal repertoire is being given a fresh interpretation by some of today's best selling artists. Apart from Barbara Streisand's delightful version of Debussy's 'Beau Soir' and Alison Moyet's compelling rendering of 'Dido's Lament', another very recent release that's worthy of mention is Sting's album,'If On A Winter's Night...'

Sting: If on a winter's night

It's an imaginative and eclectic selection of fifteen seasonal songs appropriately including 'Hurdy Gurdy Man' - Sting's version of Schubert's 'Die Leiermann' from 'Winterreise' and the album also features favourites like Balulalow, Gabriel's Message and Michael Preatorius' carol 'Er Ist Ein Ros'.

His version of Purcell's 'Now Winter Comes Slowly' - from 'The Fairy Queen'  has a subtle ground bass (basso ostinato)  very similar to the famous one in the aria 'When I Am Laid In Earth' (Dido's Lament) - clever and inventive stuff!

More info from stingwintersnight.com


Sing something new today!

If you'd like to try out singing some of the songs from this article yourself, you'll find the following accompaniment mp3s at YourAccompanist.com:

Dido's Lament, Purcell
Balulalow, Warlock
Gabriel's Message, Traditional Basque Carol
Beau Soir, Debussy
Die Leiermann from Schubert's 'Winterreise'

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Feedback please

If you've enjoyed this issue of the newsletter, if there's something you'd like us to talk about in the future, if you've got a question you think we could answer or a singing tip you'd like to share with others, please let us know. Use our online contact form:
www.youraccompanist.com/
newsletterfeedback

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Revised terms and conditions

We've recently revised our terms & conditions to increase the flexibility you have in using our tracks for non-commercial use. This means that you can now perform or record yourself using Your Accompanist tracks for personal use, or charity and not-for-profit projects without having to ask our permission. We'd still love to hear about what you're doing with them, and we'd be happy to publicise your charitable work in our newsletter and online networks.

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Let's swap links!

Do you have a singing-related website that you'd like to share with more people? Drop us a line and we'll include you on our links page.

It could be your personal singing portfolio, a blog about singing, your voice studio, choir or association website of some kind.

We don't mind where you are in the world, all we ask is that it's singing-related and you link back to us.

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About Your Accompanist

We make real piano rehearsal tracks for singers.

All tracks are recorded by a real pianist on a real piano in a single take. You download them directly to your PC in MP3 format. They can then be transferred directly to any portable MP3 player (such as an iPod or, Sony MP3 walkman, Archos box or iRiver), or burned to CD.

They are ideal for soloists, ensembles, choirs and classrooms, for those who sing professionally, recreationally or secretly.

The quality of the musicianship and sensitivity of the performances means that the accompaniments make great listening, even for those who don't sing along.

Our catalogue covers a large part of the standard repertoire and is growing all the time. We bring you a wide variety of genres and composers, and aim to cater for all vocal ranges and levels of proficiency. Each track can be sampled on the site so you can be sure you've got the piece you want.

We believe very strongly in the importance of music in education, and have a great deal of experience in the field. We hope to support music teachers, promote singing in the classroom and provide an effective low cost solution for singing teaching situations where good quality live accompaniment is not readily available.

All of our tracks are available for instant download, so if we've already got the piece you want, there's no need to wait for a CD via post. If you'd like something we don't already have, or you need it in a different key, let us know. If it's in the public domain and we can get hold of the music, we could have it online for you quite quickly.

Read more in our User Guide: www.youraccompanist.com/userguide.

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