Choral Top 10: Erik Christiansen

by Sam Kjellberg, Minnesota Public Radio
April 25, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. — As part of our Voices of Spring Choral Month, we've asked prominent voices in the Minnesota choral community to tell us their top 10 choral pieces so we could share them with you!

Dr. Erik Christiansen is the grandson of the great F. Melius Christiansen and one of several Christiansen family choral figures responsible for the deep choral tradition we have here in Minnesota. However, his influence is far greater than we might immediately grasp.

We know about our wonderful choirs from the many great collegiate institutions, and our professional/semi-professional ensembles such as VocalEssence, Cantus, The Singers, National Lutheran Choir, etc. But where does this talent come from? Who cultivates the choral sound, the voice, and technique?

The truth is, high schools, middle schools, community children's choirs, and church choirs are instrumental in training these young voices long before colleges or professional choirs get a hold of the singers. Dr. Christiansen is a crucial part of this process, and has been responsible for developing the voices of countless young students.

Dr. Christiansen attended Concordia College, Moorhead and went on to receive his DMA at Arizona State University. He has taught at Southeastern Louisiana University, Capital University, and his alma mater, Concordia College. He has been teaching at the Stillwater Area Schools since 1974 and has been instrumental in making Sillwater one of the top choral districts in the state, and arguably the country.

I personally have many friends from Stillwater who are continuing to make great choral music, due in part to the work of Dr. Christiansen. Thank you "Doc" (as his students like to call him)!

In no particular order...

1. Knut Nystedt: O Crux

2. Alberto Ginastera: Lamentations of Jeremiah

3. Johannes Brahms: German Requiem, Op. 45

4. Johannes Brahms: O Savior, Throw the Heavens Wide, Op. 74, no. 2

5. Randall Thompson: Peaceable Kingdom

6. Krzysztof Penderecki: Stabat Mater

7. Johann Sebastian Bach: Singet dem Hern, BWV 225

8. Johann Sebastian Bach: Komm Susser Tod, BWV 478

9. Arnold Schoenberg: De Profundis

10. Frances Poulenc: Any and all of his motets!

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