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To listen to specific songs, see the high lighted songs * below.

Alternatively visit:
www.youtube.com/celebrationsongs



Funeral - Memorial Singer - Marianne Lihannah - Celebration Songs

 


You can also purchase my CD, ‘There is my Love’,
Songs for Special Occasions for Harp and Voice.
I can send it to you directly upon payment.

Alternatively you can buy the CD as an MP3 Album or individual tracks via CD Baby, Itunes and Amazon:
www.cdbaby.com/cd/mariannelihannah

www.itunes.apple.com/pg/album/there-is-my-love

www.amazon.co.uk/d/Digital-Music/My-Love-Marianne-Lihannah-Charlotte-Poulter

 

Funeral Songs:
Religious/Sacred     (Early Music, Baroque, Classical, 20th C. & Contemporary)
 
Nunc Dimittis
(Now you are Dismissing):
SOLO + TRUMPET/PIANO/ORGAN
This song was used as the closing theme of the BBC television series; ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’, a dramatization of John Le Carre's popular detective novel. A choir boy was singing this beautiful song by Geoffrey Burgon, with a trumpet heard in the background. The words are from The Song of Simeon from St. Luke's Gospel.
 
The Lord is my Shepherd:*
View on YouTube click here »
SOLO/DUET + PIANO/ORGAN
Theme from the BBC series ‘The Vicar of Dibley’. The composer Howard Goodall has written many other memorable themes, incl. those from the ‘Black Adder’, and the ‘Red Dwarf’ series. The words are from one of the most famous psalms in the Bible: no. 23.
 
Ave Maria *
(Gounod/Bach, Schubert, Caccini and
Mascagni's Sancta Maria, also known as Intermezzo)

View on YouTube

click here » 
for Bach/Gounod's Ave Maria

click here »
for Schubert's Ave Maria with piano accompaniment

click here »
for Schubert's Ave Maria with harp accompaniment

click here »
for version attributed to Caccini/Vavilov
SOLO WITH PIANO OR ORGAN FOR ALL VERSIONS.
THE BACH/GOUNOD VERSION COULD
ALSO BE SUNG A CAPPELLA.
(CD ACCOMPANIMENT FOR THE SCHUBERT & BACH/GOUNOD VERSIONS IS ALSO POSSIBLE)
A Marian antiphon which is one of the best-known Classical songs, often sung both at Weddings and Funerals. I include 3 different versions, The so-called Caccini version is the least well-known. No one knows for sure who wrote it.
 
Lauda V - Altissima Luce * :
(Exalted Light)

View on YouTube
click here » 
for Gavin Bryars' Lauda V - Altissima Luce
SOLO A CAPPELLA
Gavin Bryars Laude' are based in spirit and feeling on a collection of unaccompanied Laude found in 13th C Cortona.
The Latin texts are mostly Maryan, yet they were not associated with any church or liturgy.
Gavin Bryars' Lauda V is written in 2002 and ancient chant somehow emerges as engagingly contemporary.
About his Laude he says, “I relish the challenge of writing something so exposed, so naked and unadorned, where I cannot hide behind, say, a skilfully orchestrated accompaniment.
Like a painter who has hitherto had the luxury of painting massive canvases with dense oils, being obliged to work in pen and ink, in black and white, on a simple piece of paper”.
 
Pie Jesu SOLO + PIANO/ORGAN
This divine aria is from Maurice Durufle's Requiem, which was written in 1947 and Durufle's most famous piece. He set this aria to the well-known Latin words which means: “Holy Jesus, our Lord! Give them rest, everlasting rest, everlasting, everlasting.”
 
Pie Jesu SOLO/DUET AND PIANO/ORGAN + CD ACCOM.
Pie Jesu is from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Requiem Mass. It is dedicated to his father who had died a few years earlier (in 1982).
Andrew was inspired to write this Requiem after having read an artile in the New York Times. It was about a Cambodian boy who had the option of killing his mutilated sister or being killed himself.
The subsequent death of a journalist in the Northern Ireland conflict who had just interviewed Andrew, also provided a muse.
Perhaps surprisingly given the classical nature of the work, the Pie Jesu from Requiem climbed to the top of the popular music charts in Great Britain.
 
Panis Angelicus   (Bread of the Angels): SOLO + PIANO/ORGAN
Any journey through Cesar Franck's music is deeply rewarding. And yet, he is far and away remembered for this one piece of music, Panis Angelicus, which has been recorded hundreds of times and is still performed frequently the world
 
Ave Verum Corpus: SOLO A CAP. OR DUET + PIANO/ORGAN
A very famous choir piece by Mozart written 6 months before his death. He wrote it while he was in the middle of writing his famous opera, ‘The Magic Flute’ in 1791. The title means ‘Hail, true body’, and it was written to celebrate ‘Corpus Christi‘. This is an arr. by A. L'Estrange.
 
All is Fulfilled: SOLO + PIANO
From Bach's St. John's Passion. This beautiful reflective aria comes in Bach's passion immediately after Jesus is nailed to the cross and sings ‘It is Finished‘.
 
Deep Peace: SOLO/DUET + PIANO/ORGAN
An old Gaelic Blessing (verse 1). Verses 2 and 3 are by the well-known composer Andrew Carter as well as the arrangement. The words were made famous in 2003 when a recording by Aled Jones was released.
 
O Rest in the Lord: SOLO + PIANO ACCOM. OR CD ACCOM.
From Mendelssohn's oratorio ‘Elijah’. This song is sung by the Angel, to Elijah as he languishes in the wilderness, comforting him with a paraphrase of words from the 37th psalm. ‘Elijah’ was first performed in Birmingham in 1846 with Mendelssohn conducting. He died just over a year later at the age of 38.
 
Vergnügte Ruh, - beliebte Seelenlust
(Pleasant Rest, - beloved Soul's Desire):
SOLO + PIANO ACCOM.
From Johann Sebastian Bach's Cantata BMW 170.
Composed in Leipzig in 1726 using a text by Georg Christian Lehm. Divine alto aria which speaks of the desire to lead a virtuous life and so to enter heaven. It says that only in heaven can ‘pleasant rest’ be attained.
 
Have Mercy (Erbarme Dich): SOLO + PIANO ACCOM. OR CD ACCOM.
From Johann Sebastian Bach's St. Matthew Passion, written in the 1720's. The passion is a retelling of the story of Christ's crucifixion set to music. This aria is one of the finest arias ever written, with a haunting beauty and emotional power, it is the highpoint in the passion.
 
Beata Viscera: *
View on YouTube click here »
SOLO A CAPPELLA
A divine processional Marian hymn which couldn't have been composed before year 1220 by ‘Perotin’ also known as ‘Perotin Magister’ or ‘Perotin the Great’.
The words are by Phillip de Chancellor a French Theologian and Latin Medieval Lyric Poet.
‘The King of illustrious name, concealing in another guise the power of his divinity, has sealed a pact between God and Man’. ‘O Wondrous Novelty!’.
 
Abide with me: *
View on YouTube click here »
SOLO A CAPELLA OR SOLO + PIANO/ORGAN
Henry Lyte was inspired to write this hymn as he was dying of tuberculosis;
He finished it the Sunday he gave his farewell sermon in the parish he served so many years. He survived only a further 3 weeks after its completion. Later, the hymn was discovered by William H. Monk (1823-1889) choir director and organist at King's College, London. Monk composed a new melody for Lyte's text in less than half an hour, the tune was named “Eventide.” Monk was inspired by the beauty of a glorious sunset while yet experiencing a deep personal sorrow. This later version is the tune with Lyte’s poem which has gone all over the earth.
 
Make me a Channel of your Peace: *
View on YouTube click here »
SOLO + PIANO/ORGAN ACCOM.
A very beautiful prayer attributed to St. Francis. This very famous prayer was adapted and set to music by Sebastian Temple and sung at Princess Diana's funeral. It is an anthem of the Royal British Legion and is usually sung every year at the service of Remembrance in November at the Royal Albert Hall, London. This is one of those songs which is also sung at weddings.
 
Lead, Kindly Light: SOLO A CAPELLA OR SOLO + PIANO ACCOM.
Lead, Kindly Light is a very beautiful hymn that was sung by a soloist on the RMS Titanic during a hymn-singing gathering led by Rev. Ernest C. Carter, shortly before the ocean liner struck an iceberg on April 14, 1912.

Lead, Kindly Light was written in 1833 by John Henry Newman as a poem titled “the Pillar of Cloud”. In some hymnals, one may find a fourth verse added by Edward H. Bickersteth, Jr. It is usually sung to the tune Lux Benigna, composed by John Bacchus Dykes in 1865; or to Alberta, by William H Harris.
 
Alma Redemptoris Mater
(Loving Mother of our Saviour):
SOLO A CAPPELLA
This beautiful Latin Gregorian Chant is one of 4 liturgical Marian antiphons, prescribed to be sung after night prayer (Compline, Vespers).
Hermannus Contractus (1013 – 1054) is said to have authored this hymn which is mentioned in ‘The Prioress's Tale’, one of Chaucer's ‘Canterbury Tales’.

 

Funeral Songs
(Baroque, Classical, Pre-Romantic, Romantic, 20th Century, Contemporary)
Secular
 
Lascia ch'io Pianga (Almirena's Lament): *
View on YouTube click here »
SOLO + PIANO/ORGAN
( OR WITH CD ACCOMPANIMENT)
From Handel's Opera ‘Rinaldo’. This Italian Opera is an heroic story about battle and love, set in the time of the first crusade. Almirena's well-known aria is very beautiful and full of deep emotion. She laments her fate. ‘May the pain mercifully shatter the chains of my torment’. This aria is simultaneously a prayer and an answer to it, intertwined and indistinguishable from each other. - Longing for solace while receiving it, - ingeniously expressed by Handel.
 
Goin' Home (Also known as ‘Going Home’): PIANO/ORGAN
( OR WITH CD ACCOMPANIMENT)
The famous Theme from the ‘Largo’of Antonin Dvorák's Symphony no.9 (from the New World) was adapted into the spiritual-like song ‘Goin' Home’, by Dvorák's pupil William Arms Fisher, who wrote the lyrics.
Fisher described his song as: “a moving expression of that nostalgia of the soul all human beings feel. Thus, it might be suitable for a funeral or any other somber occasion of the soul.”
The ‘Largo’is the outpouring of Dvorák's own home-longing, with something of the loneliness of far-off prairie horizons.
Several themes from the New World Symphony have been used widely in films, TV shows, anime, video games, and advertisements.
 
Bist Du Bei Mir (Be Thou with Me): *
View on YouTube click here »
SOLO + PIANO/ORGAN
Composed by Gottfried H. Stölzel, used by Johann Sebastian Bach in his piano book for his second wife Anna Magdalena Bach. An aria with a hauntingly beautiful melody made grippingly memorable by the poem's directly spoken words. This piece has become very popular for special celebrations & ceremonies, both for weddings and funerals alike. It was featured in the French film ‘Joyeux Noel’
 
When I am Laid in Earth (Dido's Lament): SOLO A CAP. OR SOLO + PIANO/ORGAN
( OR WITH CD ACCOMPANIMENT)
A famous aria from England's oldest opera ‘Dido & Aeneas’ written by Henry Purcell (1659-1695). Purcell has been called England's finest native composer. This song is one of the most beautiful ’songs of sorrow‘ in opera, sung by the main character Queen Dido, on her deathbed.
 
To Joy: *
View on YouTube click here »
PIANO/ORGAN
( OR WITH CD ACCOMPANIMENT)
This song is from the period of Finzi's life where he tried to set any poem to music with the word ‘Joy’ in it. The name of his wife. This song was one of Finzi's favourite compositions.
However ‘To Joy’ is far from a joyful song. Instead it is a sad and touching story of the poet Edmund Blunden's baby, called ‘Joy’ who was lost to death.
“I like music to grow out of the actual words and not be fitted to them”, Finzi wrote to his poet friend Edmund Blunden.
 
You'll never walk alone: SOLO + PIANO/ORGAN
From the Rogers and Hammerstein musical ‘Carousel’.
The song is also sung at association football clubs around the world, where it is performed by a massed chorus of supporters on matchday. This tradition began at Liverpool Football Club in the early 1960s.
 
Du bist die Ruh: SOLO + PIANO/ORGAN
(OR WITH CD ACCOMPANIMENT)
This is one of Schubert's most popular songs.The words are by Rückert written in (1820) and due to the ambiguity of the words and music this song can be sung either at a funeral or a wedding.
 
An die Musik SOLO + PIANO/ORGAN
(OR WITH CD ACCOMPANIMENT)
Another song by Schubert, perhaps his best-known song. The words are by his good friend Franz von Schober and one of the most beautiful ‘thank you‘ notes written to the ‘Art of Music‘.
 
Ombra mai Fu (Under your Shade): *
View on YouTube click here »
SOLO/DUET + PIANO/ORGAN
(OR CD ACCOMPANIMENT).
From Handel's Opera ‘Serse’ (Xerxes). The first aria in the Opera sung by the main character Serse, in praise of a tree's shade as he sits underneath it. It is commonly known as ‘Handel's Largo’, although the original tempo was larghetto.
 
Lasciatemi Morire (Arianna's Lament): SOLO + PIANO/ORGAN
(OR CD ACCOMPANIMENT)
From Claudio Monteverdi's Opera ‘Arianna’. As Arianna is left behind on the Island of Naxos, she feels alone, frightened and homesick. She calls out to Theseus to come back and not to leave her. This famous and hauntingly beautiful aria is considered by many to be the first aria ever composed.
 
Mondnacht (Moonlight) SOLO + PIANO OR CD ACCOMPANIMENT
By Robert Schumann from his ‘Liederkreis’, Opus 39. A cycle of 12 poems by Eichendorff, set to music. ‘Mondnacht’, the best-known, is the 5th song, and in this we hear Schumann's haunting lament to the moon. ’Thus the night shone bright with stars and my soul expanded its wings, through quiet lands, as if it were flying homeward’.

 

Funeral Songs
Folk style Religious/Sacred:
 
Amazing Grace: SOLO A CAP. OR DUO + PIANO/ORGAN
John Newton, the author of the lyrics to this famous song began his career in slave trading. The turning point in his life was a violent storm one night at sea. Moments after he left the deck, the crewman who had taken his place was swept overboard. Although he manned the vessel for the rest of the tempest, he realized his helplessness and concluded that only the grace of God could save him. This was the inspiration behind the words of this song that was written many years later. He still carried on with slave trading but made a point of treating everyone with respect and gentleness. It wasn't until 40 years after the incident that he openly challenged the trafficking of slaves.
 
English Folk
The Dream Song of Olav Ásteson
(Draum Kvadet)
SOLO A CAPELLA
The words from this song come from an extraordinary Norwegian Poem (Draum Kvadet). It is the story of Olav Ásteson who fell asleep on Christmas Eve and did not wake up until the 13th day of Christmas. He then relates his dreams, about his journey through the Underworld and describes the battle between good & evil. This song, is in many ways, reminiscent of Dante's Divine Comedy and is also thought to originate in the 13th Century, although Rudolf Steiner dated it back further to, approximately, the 9th Century. Steiner took a deep interest in the song and recognized it as a description of real initiation.
 
Died for Love:
Arrangement by Percy Grainger
SOLO A CAP. OR SOLO + PIANO
Sung by Joseph Taylor, a wonderful English folk singer and recorded and notated by Percy Grainger in 1908 on wax cylinders.
‘Died for Love’ is perhaps the most beautiful of the many variants of the important British Folk Song, most familiar to us” - Frank Kidson.
 
Leaves of Life: SOLO A CAPPELLA
Spring-time Folk Carol tells a story based on the Apocryphal Gospel. The opening recalls the handsome illuminations in the Arundel Psalter, showing the sombre tree of death and the dazzling tree of life. They are a parallel to the death and the resurrection of Christ.
 
Irish Folk
Sairiu: SOLO A CAPPELLA
A Gaelic keen which originally was sung at gravesides in Ireland by keening women. Women who were paid to cry and lament at funerals. This keen is about a mother's loss of a child.

 

 

Secular songs
 
My Love is like a Red, Red Rose: *
View on YouTube click here » 
SOLO A CAP. OR SOLO + PIANO
This song was composed by Robert Burns (1759-1796) 2 years before he died. It is based on traditional sources and has been inspiration for many composers, e.g. Alexander L'Estrange who has arranged it.
 
She moved through the Fair: *
View on YouTube click here » 
SOLO A CAP. OR SOLO + PIANO
A very famous Irish folk song, recorded by many singers, Classical - as well as Folk singers. The words are re-written by Padraic Colum, the author of the famous children's book ‘The King of Ireland's Son‘. He seems to have reworked the words of an old Ballad and put them to an ancient Donegal air.
 
Good Night: *
View on YouTube click here » 
SOLO A CAP. OR SOLO + PIANO
A very lovely Russian lullaby taught to Doreen Rao by Dimitri Kabalevsky in 1966, arranged by Doreen Rao. ‘Hear the wind whispering, whispering to you, sleep, sleep, sleep, good night my sweet one’.
 
The Last Rose of Summer: SOLO A CAP. OR SOLO + PIANO
The words of this song are written in 1805, by the Irish poet Thomas Moore. Friedric von Flotow uses the song in his opera ‘Martha‘. It is the favourite song of the main character Lady Harriet. This song helped to popularize the opera.
 
Shenandoah: *
View on YouTube click here »
SOLO A CAP. OR SOLO + PIANO
According to Lomax, “Shenandoah, the most beautiful of all sea songs in English, probably began as a voyageur song on the rivers west of the Mississippi, taking its title from the Indians for whom the great valley of Virginia was named. It became, somehow, a capstan chantey and then a favourite song of the regular cavalry who sometimes fought the Indians out west, but also fell in love with and married Indian women.”
 
Manx Folk
The Sea Invocation: *
View on YouTube click here »
DUET A CAP. OR SOLO + PIANO
Collected by Mona Douglas from Mrs Shimmin of Foxdale, arrangement by Fenella Bazin.
A uniquely beautiful prayer, perhaps originally sung by the wives of the fishermen who were out at sea. This song features a refrain of meaningless syllables, which has often been used in lullabies. They were originally thought of as protective spells. Songs of this kind penetrate deeply into the racial subconsciousness, reflecting the ancient association of music and magic. Perhaps that is part of the function of the meaningless refrain; to communicate with the other world you must use a different and secret language.
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