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andrew's avatar

Questions about epic choral pieces...

Asked by andrew (16479points) March 29th, 2009

I’m talking about epic choral pieces like the theme from Planet Earth—or that piece that’s used in various large fantasy movies: doo doo dit dooo..(ba bum!) doo doo dit dooo (ba bum!) doo doo dit dooo dooooo doo dooo—what is that called?

Is there a name for this style of piece? Are there other ones in the canon?

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11 Answers

KrystaElyse's avatar

Aren’t they called musical/orchestral scores?

jackley's avatar

They can be called whatever the composer wants.

Verdi’s Requiem is a good example, as is Mozart’s. Beethoven wrote a piece called Missa Solemnis, that’s another good example.

Many composers wrote Masses intended for orchestra and large chorus. Mozart’s “Great Mass” in C minor is very good.

And then operas and oratorios….the list goes on.

cwilbur's avatar

The one you’re thinking of is the movement “O Fortuna,” from Carmina Burana by Carl Orff. He was really a style unto himself, which is probably not the answer you want to hear.

J0E's avatar

I think they call them “scores”

andrew's avatar

I’m wasn’t really talking about the technical term of a “score”, more about the specific style of orchestral pieces, like “O Fortuna”.

bea2345's avatar

Would you be thinking, perhaps, of the last movement of Beethoven’s Ninth?

fireside's avatar

I would probably call them Symphonies, but that may not be all encompassing enough.

cwilbur's avatar

“Symphony” is a fairly narrow term, though—Carmina Burana, for instance, is not a symphony. It has too many movements, and they don’t have even a passing resemblance to the traditional structures.

If you like Orff, you might want to check out Richard Strauss, Mahler, Wagner, Holst, and Stravinsky—they’re all composers who have made good use of large orchestras, although they’ve all got styles of their own rather than being Orff-like.

asmonet's avatar

Dude, I was just wondering this. GQ.

breedmitch's avatar

There isn’t one blanket term to describe what you mean. I think if anything, your phrase “epic choral piece” covers it. Congrats, you just coined a new phrase.

Check out movement 6 of the Brahms’ Requiem. About 4 minutes in is a section that is quite Orff-like. (this video/recording seems to take that section rather tamely. I have heard performances of it that were so loud and forceful, it made my hair stand on end.)

basstrom188's avatar

Bach, Handel, Haydn and Mendelssohn called them oratorios
The most famous oratorio by Bach is probably the St. Matthew Passion; Handel’s Messiah, The Creation by Haydn and Elijah by Mendelssohn. Edward Elgar rounded off the age of the oratorio in 1900 by his mighty Dream of Gerontius

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