a) Libera represented in 1 song? - b) Songs you'd choose to cover their musical range most completely?

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filiarheni
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a) Libera represented in 1 song? - b) Songs you'd choose to cover their musical range most completely?

Post by filiarheni » 2 weeks ago

When my Libera time started and I tried to explain to other people what kind of music that is, I realised that I needed a considerably high number of songs to present them Libera's wide musical range. This led me to wondering which song I'd pick, if I were only allowed to give them one single song.
Now I would like to pass this question on to you. I'm very curious what your choices would be.

So please imagine that you want to introduce Libera to someone who has never heard of them and whose musical taste you are not sure about.

a) Strictly limited to one song only, which one would you choose to show: This is Libera?

b) Trying to use as few songs as possible not to overstrain the addressees: How many songs would you need or rather which songs exactly would you select to make sure that they get the clearest, "roundest" idea of the musical/stylistic range that Libera covers and, of course, wishing that they'll like them?
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Re: a) Libera represented in 1 song? - b) Songs you'd choose to cover their musical range most completely?

Post by Surpinto » 2 weeks ago

This is an excellent question as we need more to chat about prior to the expected Ely concert which is still months away. :D

A) My answer may seem trite but I believe that this song introduces a little bit of everything in the style of Libera: "Salva Me". It has fantastic harmonies and is an excellent demonstration of an original composition by Robert Prizeman. It has all of the hallmarks of a good Libera song and is one of the few persistent songs that they keep using in concerts. Also the use of drums and that it has a beat may be a gentler introduction to those unfamiliar or uncomfortable with choral/classical type music.

If I had to choose a different song it would be "Libera" for all of the same reasons as "Salve Me".

B) This is a much harder question than the first! Libera seems to have several types of song from which the repertoire is drawn, and if you were to present Libera holistically to someone all of those types would have to be represented.

Although this may be overly broad I would categorize those types as:
  1. The original compositions by Robert Prizeman (and others in the Libera team). This is best represented by "Salve Me", "Stay With Me", and "Libera".
  2. Modern (some would say "pop") songs arranged for Libera. This is best represented by "Orinoco Flow" and "From a Distance" and "Wonderful World" as these are quite diverse.
  3. Non-sacred classical pieces (or pieces in that style) arranged for Libera. This is best represented by "Ave Virgo", "Salve Regina", and "Sacris Solemnis"
  4. Sacred or holiday music arranged for Libera. This is best represented by Joyful, Joyful", "Wexford Carol" and "Still, Still, Still".
So to narrow down the songs I would go with: "Salve Me", "Orinoco Flow", "From a Distance", "Ave Virgo", and "Wexford Carol" if I had to keep things at an absolute minimum.

I think that this gives a relatively reasonable cross section of Libera's music.

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Re: a) Libera represented in 1 song? - b) Songs you'd choose to cover their musical range most completely?

Post by andmar » 1 week ago

These are interesting questions. I admit, I was also thinking of what song to choose to introduce Libera to someone – but this mainly because in fact I did introduce Libera to some members of my family and also some friends.

The first question is about a single song which covers possibly wide musical range of Libera and could be picked up to introduce the choir to a person who never heard them before. Well, frankly speaking, in my opinion in this question there are two separate points, which not necessarily fit together:
1) A song which covers possibly wide musical range of Libera
2) A song which could be used to draw someone’s attention.

Let me assume, that I want to do some advertisement to arouse interest for Libera. Would I pick a song which just covers a wide musical range of Libera? Probably not. Especially when the musical taste of the listener is not known I would pick rather a catchy song with a nice melody and lots of harmonies, quite easy to listen, not necessarily containing many of the musical elements present in a variety of Libera songs. The goal would be in that case to draw attention of that person without demanding a high level of concentration or commitment to listening.

So, I decided to take the song “Angel” as the first one. As I’ve said before, I did introduce Libera a couple of times to some people and I started each time with exactly that song. The only exception was a person whose musical taste was known to me (classical music, especially baroque and choral, with very high expectations towards the performance quality). I must say, that “Angel” worked very well and was received with much appreciation and interest each time. So, I could continue with other songs. And here we come smoothly to the second question.

Yes, it is important not to overstrain the listener. In fact, many Libera songs may be quite difficult to listen for someone who is not used to their music. I know it from my own experience. So I usually continue with a selection of songs starting with the incredible “Voca Me”, then I present the joyful “Orinco Flow” or “San Damiano”, come through some classic hymns like “How Great Thu Art” or “How Shall I Sing That Majesty” and end up by the very liberastic “Libera”.

I’m not sure if I answered the questions that were asked here. But one thing is sure for me – the variety of genres and styles of music performed by Libera increased much in time. The early albums are more homogenous while the last “Hope” can be even considered a jumble of many different styles and genres. I’m glad of the development over the time. It’s not that I don’t like older songs. Quite the opposite. I love them. But I also love the way Libera enters other musical areas and covers them with their unique sound and harmonies.

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Re: a) Libera represented in 1 song? - b) Songs you'd choose to cover their musical range most completely?

Post by TullyBascombe » 1 week ago

Just out of curiosity does anyone know which of their songs has been their best seller?

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Re: a) Libera represented in 1 song? - b) Songs you'd choose to cover their musical range most completely?

Post by filiarheni » 1 week ago

@Tully
Only a guess: Carol of the Bells or Sanctus?
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Re: a) Libera represented in 1 song? - b) Songs you'd choose to cover their musical range most completely?

Post by TullyBascombe » 1 week ago

Carol of the Bells would make a good all around example of Libera's craft or at least in the category of Christmas music.
Love and Mercy is a good example of a Libera adaptation of pop music.
Your examples of non-sacred music I believe all are either sacred or have significant elements of sacred music.
One problem of selecting amongst the best of Mr. Prizeman's original composition is that so many of his compositions are at least partially derived from some other works. At what level do you consider a work his original composition? We might need to scrutinize the entire list of Libera works to pick out which ones meet the criteria.

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Re: a) Libera represented in 1 song? - b) Songs you'd choose to cover their musical range most completely?

Post by john45 » 1 week ago

A. No brainer - Sanctus - sung at every concert for good reason.
B. Following much the same reasoning as Surpinto:
RP original - Ave Verum
Based on classical - Going Home
Pop - San Damiano
Christmas - Carol of the Bells
Personal Favourite - Benedictus Deus

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Re: a) Libera represented in 1 song? - b) Songs you'd choose to cover their musical range most completely?

Post by kinda_k00l » 1 week ago

I saw this only a couple of hours after filiarheni posted it, but I needed time to think properly. Those are no easy questions for me.

a) Well, I'm thinking of something that can make people's mouths drop, but at the same time not too flashy because I always think that they should dig those songs up themselves after they've become a fan - the impact of the songs would be stronger that way. So I'd agree that 'Sanctus' or 'Angel' is a safe choice. I cannot choose between the two for now, so I'll decide which one for each person based on the feeling I have when I talk to them. In fact, my case is pretty much like andmar - I did introduce 'Angel' to my friends and all of them like it, not all of them became Libera fans, but all of them enjoyed that particular song. (At first, I thought of 'Benedictus Deus' but that one is just too strong and too complicated, and I also don't know their music preference, so it is not as safe.) :D

b) I would also categorize the songs and choose one (or some) representative(s) of each category. That seems to be the most systematical way (the list is in no particular order).
  • RP Original: 'Stay With Me' & 'Salva Me'
  • The Japan package: 'Angel'
  • Adapted from classical: 'Ave Virgo' & 'The Fountain'
  • Pop: 'From a Distance' & 'I’m Dreaming of Home'
  • Hymns or hymn-like pieces: 'Abide with me' & 'Wayfaring Stranger'
  • Christmas: 'Angels We Have Heard' & 'Away in a Manger'
As you can see, I choose two songs for some categories - one with light or happy and the other with dark or sad tone. Again, based on what I can see about that person, I would choose to offer them a 'light' or 'not-so-light' pack. :lol:

Also, the 'foreign' songs should also be considered for people who come from certain countries. I would definitely include 'Danny Boy' when introducing Libera to an Irish, or 'America' to an American, or 'The Moon...' to a Chinese, or 'Bayan Ko' & 'Himig Ng Pasko' for a Filipino. :wink:
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Re: a) Libera represented in 1 song? - b) Songs you'd choose to cover their musical range most completely?

Post by filiarheni » 1 week ago

Thanks very much to all who have answered so far. I enjoy reading it all and hope that some more will feel inspired to tell us their thoughts and views. Actually, I'm fascinated about the variety in views we have on the music, while we all conform with each other in our love for Libera.

My personal choices at the moment are:

a) Salva me
That stays. "Libera in one song" for me has always been this one. And although I know many more songs now after two years, it's still Salva me that unites everything what I consider as characteristic of the Libera style:
  • mystic sound
  • vocalises (not pure here, but the vocalise-like "salva"s come close enough, so it's good)
  • Latin and English lyrics mix
  • calm beginning, then developing a radiating sound (I called it "flourishingly developing" once; is that understandable or can someone help with a better expression?)
  • and it's Robert's own composition
In addition, I believe that this song is quite universal in its appeal and so probably matches the taste of a heterogeneous audience.

@Surpinto
I was so surprised to find my own choice directly in the first answer to my question :o :) - and yet, on the other hand, how could it surprise me, when I indeed think that it's this very song that stands best for all what Libera is! Because I find that there are quite objective criteria to label it like that.

Choosing Salva me is undisputed. The only song, which I ever started to think about for 25 seconds, was Angele Dei, as it also is an own composition, mystic, bilingual and has that huge development in sound. But it couldn't rival Salva me, as it lacks the vocalises, and these are a hard criterion - they are so very typical.


b) Me too, I had by far more difficulty in determining a set of songs for b). I did spend time on it - never knew it would be so hard to answer my own question. :shock: :P Although I have practical experience from my beginning ... but now I know so many more songs.

You are right, Surpinto, in your systematic approach to first define categories and then choose one song out of each of them. What differs for me is the number of them. I am not able to keep it at 5 songs, as I find Libera to cover more categories, and I also would want to have not only the different musical styles represented, but also some other criteria, s. below.
All this made it hard for me and it resulted in many songs, but that only speaks in favour of Libera, doesn't it? You just cannot press them into a drawer, they cover a huge musical territory! And that makes me very contented again! :D

What criteria would I take into account?
  1. Typically Libera songs in full, see a)
  2. Composition by Robert
  3. Modern style
  4. Adaption of classical music
  5. Simple song form / hymn
  6. Folk
  7. Classical original
  8. Opus-like, "big" song
  9. Mystic
  10. Festive
  11. Cheerful/faster song (since the majority is slow)
  12. Reduced, non-full-choir song
  13. Outstanding soloist
  14. Extremely unique song, I don't know how to describe that (here I'd need all songs, because they are so different ... naturally)
  15. Songs probably known to people
  16. Songs that are so important for me personally or I find so very brilliant or so extremely touching that I couldn't relinquish them

Of course, there's plenty of overlapping here! :!:

And so, here is my reply to b) with the main reasons why I'd choose them in brackets:
  1. Salva me (1, 2)
  2. Voca me (9, 14, 16)
  3. Mysterium (9, 14)
  4. How Shall I Sing That Majesty (10, 13)
  5. Time (3, 16)
  6. Mother of God (5)
  7. Do Not Stand (12, 13, 16)
  8. Benedictus Deus (8)
  9. Wayfaring Stranger (or From a Distance) (15)
  10. Salve Regina (4)
  11. Three Ravens (14)
  12. Ave Maria (Vavilov/Caccini) (7, 16)
  13. Adoramus (11)
  14. Exsultate (6)
  15. Angele Dei (16)

As I can't deny the very high number of songs, I would hope to prevent overstraining the listeners by getting them hooked song by song I have presented to them. :lol:
But if I go back to just fathom Libera's range, then I live fine with these 15 - 18 songs.


@andmar, kinda_k00l, also Tully
I very much appreciate your replies. In fact, you didn't exactly match what I wanted to know, which probably my wording is to blame for. However, your answers open up my questions to a wider field to talk about,and that is what I'm very grateful for! :D

andmar wrote:
<span title="Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:01 pm">1 week ago</span>
Let me assume, that I want to do some advertisement to arouse interest for Libera. Would I pick a song which just covers a wide musical range of Libera? Probably not. Especially when the musical taste of the listener is not known I would pick rather a catchy song with a nice melody and lots of harmonies, quite easy to listen, not necessarily containing many of the musical elements present in a variety of Libera songs.
This I see completely differently. Trying to evoke interest for Libera, for me the highest priority would be to show the other person why Libera is so unique, and therefore I definitely would choose a very Libera-esque song, which is not exchangeable with any other choir/music.


@kinda_k00l, first of all, I find the differing in naming categories totally interesting again. I wouldn't have put Wayfaring Stranger into the hymn category, although I now must admit that you're right somehow ... but when I think of that arrangement, I would take it away from there. :wink: And just say to my addressee: You sure know this song, but look what marvellous interpretation Libera made out of it!

kinda_k00l wrote:
<span title="Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:52 pm">1 week ago</span>
a) Well, I'm thinking of something that can make people's mouths drop, but at the same time not too flashy because I always think that they should dig those songs up themselves after they've become a fan - the impact of the songs would be stronger that way. So I'd agree that 'Sanctus' or 'Angel' is a safe choice. I cannot choose between the two for now, so I'll decide which one for each person based on the feeling I have when I talk to them. In fact, my case is pretty much like andmar - I did introduce 'Angel' to my friends and all of them like it, not all of them became Libera fans, but all of them enjoyed that particular song. (At first, I thought of 'Benedictus Deus' but that one is just too strong and too complicated, and I also don't know their music preference, so it is not as safe.) :D
Ok, now I'll have to ask you, andmar and Tully to please answer again: My question is not about creating a new fan, but to show who Libera is, what makes them unique in your eyes? Maybe it's easiest to just think with regard to yourself (leave other people apart):

a) Which is, in your opinion, the song that contains most of the Libera features YOU consider as typically Libera?

b) How many and which songs represent the whole Libera style range for you?
Last edited by filiarheni on Sat Feb 17, 2018 5:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: a) Libera represented in 1 song? - b) Songs you'd choose to cover their musical range most completely?

Post by andmar » 1 week ago

filiarheni wrote:
<span title="Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:15 pm">1 week ago</span>
Ok, now I'll have to ask you, andmar and Tully to please answer again: My question is not about creating a new fan, but to show who Libera is, what makes them unique in your eyes? Maybe it's easiest to just think with regard to yourself (leave other people apart):

a) Which is, in your opinion, the song that contains most of the Libera features YOU consider as typically Libera?

b) How many and which songs represent the whole Libera style range for you?
I pretty much suspected it would end like this. :lol: But that's OK. We've processed somehow attracting other people to Libera. Now it's time for our own deep thoughts about the music. I will take that challenge, which will be a difficult one for me. It's because I will have to myself figure out (and put into words in English) things, which aren't so very obvious to me in fact. Libera music has a very high emotional load for me and I often enjoy it without thinking too much of it or trying to classify it to this or that category. But I also like that challenge as it will make me dig deeper into the music.

Anyway, I will need a (longer :? ) while to think about an answer.

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Re: a) Libera represented in 1 song? - b) Songs you'd choose to cover their musical range most completely?

Post by TullyBascombe » 1 week ago

Actually I think that Mr. Prizeman answered your question about a decade ago. He wrote a song specifically to show case his new choir and he gave the choir and the song the same name - Libera.

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Re: a) Libera represented in 1 song? - b) Songs you'd choose to cover their musical range most completely?

Post by filiarheni » 6 days ago

andmar wrote:
<span title="Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:00 pm">1 week ago</span>
I will take that challenge, which will be a difficult one for me. It's because I will have to myself figure out (and put into words in English) things, which aren't so very obvious to me in fact. Libera music has a very high emotional load for me and I often enjoy it without thinking too much of it or trying to classify it to this or that category. But I also like that challenge as it will make me dig deeper into the music.

Anyway, I will need a (longer :? ) while to think about an answer.
Take your time, no problem. I'm capable of infinite patience after I went through the hardest training in waitingology last year with "Hope". :mrgreen:


TullyBascombe wrote:
<span title="Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:25 am">1 week ago</span>
Actually I think that Mr. Prizeman answered your question about a decade ago. He wrote a song specifically to show case his new choir and he gave the choir and the song the same name - Libera.

Libera sure is very much Libera. Side remark: I love the song and I like to think back ... When I discovered Libera, I felt like new-born. Libera was my catchy tune the Monday after that weekend. It accompanied me all day long and gave me so much energy and best mood for my working day, conscious of that this song was just a part of the wonderful which had happened to me, that I still assign Libera to that day and to the happy feeling inside. :D :D :D
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Re: a) Libera represented in 1 song? - b) Songs you'd choose to cover their musical range most completely?

Post by andmar » 6 days ago

filiarheni wrote:
<span title="Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:53 pm">6 days ago</span>
... I'm capable of infinite patience
You shouldn't have said this as it tickles my innate laziness and may tempt me to try out that patience of yours. :mrgreen:

filiarheni wrote:
<span title="Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:53 pm">6 days ago</span>
... When I discovered Libera, I felt like new-born...
... the happy feeling inside...
Yes, that emotional "inside happiness" - hard to define and to describe. I have the same when listening to Libera :D. That's why it feels to me like difficult to answer your questions.

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Re: a) Libera represented in 1 song? - b) Songs you'd choose to cover their musical range most completely?

Post by maartendas » 5 days ago

Nice and interesting topic. Difficult too!

I think it also depends on the person who you are introducing them to. My manager at work has a background in church music and I sent him From A Distance (as a showcase of the current line-up and repertoire), Sanctus (as it can't be beat as an introduction, plus it has a connection to church music) and then Eternal Light as I figured it would suit his taste and give an example of the unique peaceful Libera atmosphere.

For friends I have chosen different songs now and then which I expected would appeal to them. It's so hard to pick a few songs and I don't want to overburden them the first time :)

My personal all-time favourite would either be Sancte (not Sanctus but Sancte, the prayer to the Holy Spirit,from New Dawn, with a solo by Liam C) or I'm Dreaming of Home. Torn between those two,my choice would ultimately be Sancte as it has that majestic crescendo and overall it is an impressive prayer.

Another good introduction, I often find, is Song of Life - it is a song about what Libera does, in my opinion, it has a wonderful solo, amazing harmonies that feel like cuddles and a catchy melody. Angel is quite similar in that respect. So both or either one of those would be on my list too.

For impressive effect I would add Voca Me. By then I think the other person will be convinced they have never heard a choir like Libera and it's up to them to find out more :)
If they are into pop and traditional tastes I would throw in What a Wonderful World, as a surprise. This again is something which depends on the other person's tastes. There is something in Libera for everyone!

P.S.: @filiarheni, I love that Exsultate is on there, another great favourite of mine :)
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Re: a) Libera represented in 1 song? - b) Songs you'd choose to cover their musical range most completely?

Post by filiarheni » 4 days ago

maartendas wrote:
<span title="Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:19 am">5 days ago</span>
I love that Exsultate is on there, another great favourite of mine :)
You are glad about me including Exsultate and I'm glad for your inclusion of Voca me. :wink: While Exsultate is not one of my favourites, but it's the clearest one to show the folk-like style. Gaudete e. g. is in the same category, but, being a Christmas song, I found it too special.

I spent unreasonably much time on struggling with myself if I should add Sancte and I'm Dreaming of Home to the selection or if it gets just too much. Because I find that Sancte is a particular example for the great dynamic extent within one song and Dreaming of Home for the simplicity with full focus on the vocal line, the warm streaming of the voices. Well, and I've just noticed that I actually missed them by accident in my above post:

filiarheni wrote:
<span title="Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:15 pm">1 week ago</span>
if I go back to just fathom Libera's range, then I live fine with these 15 - 18 songs.
:oops: Looks like I already counted them. The 18th song would have been Sempiterna, standing for the litany-like style.

Maarten, you still owe me something, that is the very one song which represents Libera. :wink: :lol:

maartendas wrote:
<span title="Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:19 am">5 days ago</span>
There is something in Libera for everyone!
Exactly! And which songs would you need just to have all style range included, just for yourself, not to introduce Libera to others? I was not clear enough in putting my question, I saw. :)

filiarheni wrote:
<span title="Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:15 pm">1 week ago</span>
calm beginning, then developing a radiating sound (I called it "flourishingly developing" once; is that understandable or can someone help with a better expression?)
Meanwhile, I've found it: Robert himself has expressed it at best: "mysterious beginning, which then eventually erupts in the great climax". This is it! He said it to describe Angele Dei as "specifically Libera piece", "a prayer in Latin/English mix" plus the above.
That was when he on 12th August last year was interviewed by John Romeri for "Music from the tower". Sadly, I can't find the podcast anymore at the internet, only Lauren's link on 13th August (https://twitter.com/chocolatlvr/status/ ... 8936427524). Maybe, there exists an archive? But I kept the part where he talked about the Libera style, as I was so impressed and happy that Robert's opinion about Libera's characteristics is in agreement with mine - because I consider his words as a confirmation that Robert will see to maintain their music that way, and this tranquilises me enormously! :D
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