René Clausen

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René Clausen (born 1953) is an American composer, conductor of The Concordia Choir, and professor of music at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. His works are widely performed by high school and church choirs while his more technically demanding pieces have been performed and recorded by college and professional choirs. Among his many accolades, his recent recording, "Life & Breath: Choral Works by René Clausen," received three grammy awards at the 55th Grammy Awards in 2013.[1][2]

Clausen is a frequent guest conductor, guest composer and lecturer, both nationally and internationally. He has conducted All-State choirs in more than 15 states. Prior to his appointment as conductor of The Concordia Choir, Clausen was director of choral activities at West Texas State University, Canyon, Texas, and assistant professor of choral music at Wichita State University. He also served as senior editor of Mark Foster Music Company and as interim conductor of the National Lutheran Choir of Minneapolis.

Education[edit]

Raised in California, Clausen graduated from Wilton Senior High School in Wilton, Iowa, holds an undergraduate degree from St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota, and received the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in choral conducting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Composition Style[edit]

Clausen's compositional style is varied and eclectic, and put to sacred as well as secular texts. He has created compositions and arrangements that range over many artistic media including choral, orchestral, wind ensemble, film, video, and solo voice. Clausen's most popular harmonies are mostly based on close dissonances such as the major and minor second. These chords based on dissonance are also called "tone clusters". His style is sometimes classified as Neo-Romantic but this term can mean many things. All of his works are unmistakably tonal yet they push the boundaries of chordal language. The traditional functions of choral progression are blurred by his use of tone clusters. These ideas are mostly exhibited in pieces such as "Tonight, Eternity Alone", "Magnificat", and "I Thank You God". Less difficult pieces exhibit the same structure as any Classical or Baroque choral piece with a hint of Romantic rubato and expression but largely, very traditional chord progressions.

Selected Compositions and Arrangements[edit]

SONG TITLE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
All That Hath Life & Breath Praise the Lord
A Noiseless, Patient Spider from Three Whitman Settings
Ave Maria
Ave Rosa Commissioned by the St. Olaf Choir, premiered on their winter tour, January–February 2012. The premiere recording is 82:47 into the Winter Home Tour Concert (13 February 2012) archived at http://www.stolaf.edu/multimedia/play/?e=560
Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair
Deep River
Hear Me, I Will Live from Crying for a Dream
How Can You Buy the Sky? (from Crying for a Dream)
I Thank You God A setting of e.e. cummings' celebrated poem "I Thank You God." Dissonance, tone color and texture are ever-changing, chord cluster follows chord cluster and changing meter and tempo further accentuate the unbridled happiness expressed in the text. It has been portrayed as a thanksgiving hymn.
Jabberwocky
Jubilant Song
La Lumiere Translated as "The Light." As the poet's spiritual perception changes, he views his visual landscape in a new light. In much the same way, Clausen transforms the listener's aural landscape with layer upon layer of changing harmony and musical texture. Written for a cappella choir with division in each voice part.
Magnificat Commissioned by the Texas Choral Director's Association, 1988. Scored for SATB double choir.
O My Luve's Like a Red, Red Rose
On the Mountain Top Blows the Wind Mild Silesian folk tune, arr. RC. Scored for SATB divisi.
O Vos Omnes Texts from the Holy Bible, Sacred Latin Poems, Lutheran Chorale, "O Sacred Head Now Wounded", and the Latin Mass.
Peace I Leave With You Written for the 1991 Concordia Centennial Alumni Choir, Moorhead, Minnesota. Scored SATB divisi.
Plenty Good Room Spiritual, arr. RC. Contains jazz elements including a scat soloist (the part is written out in the score)
Prayer Tribute to Mother Teresa
Psalm 100 Originally for SSA chorus, it is now also available for SATB. Scoring includes Orff instruments and small group of woodwinds.
Psalm 109
Psalm 148
Psalm 150
Quicksand Years from Three Whitman Settings
The Salutation of the Dawn The lyrics of this piece were taken from the Sanskrit poem, "The Salutation of the Dawn." It was first performed by Florida All State Chorus in 1997. Seek the Lord
Set Me as a Seal from A New Creation
Song at Dusk Much like a vocal tone poem, the colors brought forth in this piece, along with the soaring melodies, dramatically illuminate the poem by Leigh Haynes, once poet laureate of the state of Virginia. Divisi in all parts, it is recommended for the advanced high school or college ensemble.
Sweet Was the Song English carol, arr. RC. Written by Clausen on the occasion of his daughter's(Rachel Clausen) birth. Words traditional, except the second verse by his wife, Frankie Clausen.
The Last Invocation from Three Whitman Settings
The Lord's Prayer A contemporary setting of the classic prayer, scored in multiple meters and keys by Clausen. For SATB chorus.
Tonight Eternity Alone Full of dynamic, expressive passages, soaring soprano solos and simple, but mood-evoking text. A good showcase for moderate-to-advanced skills choir.
War Song from Crying for a Dream
What a Wonderful World Clausen provides a most sensitive arrangement of this timeless pop standard.
The Water Is Wide

Santa Barbara Music Publishing[edit]

SONG TITLE VOICING SANTA BARBARA MUSIC PUBLISHING LISTING
Alleluia SATB div. SBMP 557
At the Round Earth’s Imagined Corners TTBB SBMP 874
Barter SSA SBMP 527
Canticle of Praise SATB / SATB SBMP 655
Early Bird, The SSAATTBB SBMP 645
In the Bleak Midwinter SATB SBMP 620
Jabberwocky SATB SBMP 528
Make We Joye Now In This Fest SATB SBMP 1049
Plenty Good Room SATB div. SBMP 536
Psalm 108 SATB SBMP 543
Song at Dusk SATB SBMP 505
Stairs Behind the Sky, The SATB SBMP 584
Tant Que Je Vive (Long As I Live) SATB SBMP 621
There Is a Balm in Gilead SATB div; S &/or T s SBMP 611
There Is No Rose SATB SBMP 579
Turn Around SSA SBMP 542

Additional music is available from other publishers.

Available Recordings of Compositions[edit]

Song Name Artist Recording Title Format
Concordia Choir In The New Moon 1 CD
I. A Noiseless Patient Spider Concordia Choir The Choral Music of Rene Clausen 1 CD
I. Hear Me, I Will Live! Concordia Choir The Choral Music of Rene Clausen 1 CD
II. Quicksand Years Concordia Choir The Choral Music of Rene Clausen 1 CD
II. War Song Concordia Choir The Choral Music of Rene Clausen 1 CD
III. How Can You Buy The Sky? Concordia Choir The Choral Music of Rene Clausen 1 CD
III. The Last Invocation Concordia Choir The Choral Music of Rene Clausen 1 CD
*Manitou Singers of St. Olaf College* Concordia Choir The Choral Music of Rene Clausen 1 CD
*The Dale Warland Singers* Concordia Choir The Choral Music of Rene Clausen 1 CD
A Jubilant Song University of Utah Singers A Jubilant Song 1 CD
A Noiseless Patient Spider Kantorei Pillars Of Light 1 CD
A Stable Lamp is Lighted Kantorei Little Tree 1 CD
All That Hath Life & Breath Oasis Chorale Treasures in Heaven 1 CD
All That Hath Life & Breath Praise Ye the Lord! Rene Clausen A Cappella Compositions Vol. 2 Sheet Music
All That Hath Life and Breath Seattle Children's Chorus Celebrate! 1 CD
All That Hath Life And Breath Luther College Norsemen Oh Sing Jubilee 1 CD
All That Hath Life and Breath, Praise Ye the Lord! University of Utah Singers The Cloths of Heaven 1 CD
Ave Maria Rene Clausen A Cappella Compositions Vol. 1 Sheet Music
Barter Manitou Singers of St. Olaf College Repertoire For Women's Voices Vol 5 1 CD
Calm, on the Listening Ear of Night Concordia Choir Come To The Living Water 1 CD
Canticle of Praise Rene Clausen A Cappella Compositions Vol. 3 Sheet Music
Canticle Of Praise Concordia Choir F. Melius Christiansen 135th Anniversary Concert 2 CDs
Circle Dance Concordia Choir Savior of the Nations 1 CD
Come to the Living Water Concordia Choir Come To The Living Water 1 CD
Crying For A Dream Concordia Choir The Choral Music of Rene Clausen 1 CD
Deep River Concordia Choir The Choral Music of Rene Clausen 1 CD
Do You Hear What I Hear? Concordia Choir Journey to Bethlehem DVD
Fantasia O Come, O Come Emmanuel Concordia Choir Journey to Bethlehem 1 CD
Fantasia on "The King Shall Come" Concordia Choir Savior of the Nations 1 CD
Fantasia on "Une Jeune Pucelle" Concordia Choir Come To The Living Water 1 CD
Fantasia On O Come, O Come Emmanuel Concordia Choir O Come All Ye Faithful 1 CD
Hosanna Rene Clausen A Cappella Compositions Vol. 1 Sheet Music
Hosanna Luther College Nordic Choir Christmas with the Nordic Choir Vol 1 1 CD
I Thank You God Rene Clausen A Cappella Compositions Vol. 2 Sheet Music
In Pace Kantorei Pillars Of Light 1 CD
La Lumiere Rene Clausen A Cappella Compositions Vol. 2 Sheet Music
La Lumiere Concordia Choir Echoes 1 CD
Laudate Luther College Nordic Choir Everlasting God 1 CD
Lord of All Being Concordia Choir Star Of Wonder 1 CD
Magnificat Rene Clausen A Cappella Compositions Vol. 2 Sheet Music
Magnificat Concordia Choir The Choral Music of Rene Clausen 1 CD
Magnificat National Lutheran Choir While Angels Sing 1 CD
Make A Joyful Noise Manitou Singers of St. Olaf College Christmas 1 CD
Make A Joyful Noise Manitou Singers of St. Olaf College Highlights from the St. Olaf Christmas Festival 1 CD
Make A Joyful Noise St. Olaf Choir What Wondrous Love Vol V1 1 CD
Memorial Concordia Choir Memorial 1 CD
Messe Pour Double Choeur Phoenix Bach Choir Eternal Rest SACD
Nunc Dimittis Various Arrangers Augsburg Choirbook for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany Songbook
Nunc Dimittis St. Olaf Choir Where Peace and Love and Hope Abide 2 CDs
O Little Town of Bethlehem Concordia Choir Journey to Bethlehem 1 CD
O My Luve's Like a Red, Red Rose Seattle Children's Chorus A Young Poet Sings 1 CD
O My Luve's Like a Red, Red Rose St. Olaf Choir Repertoire for Mixed Voices Vol. 1 1 CD
O My Luves Like a Red, Red Rose St. Louis Children's Choir 30th Anniversary 2 CDs
O Vos Omnes Kantorei Pillars Of Light 1 CD
O Vos Omnes Concordia Choir The Choral Music of Rene Clausen 1 CD
Peace I Leave With You Rene Clausen A Cappella Compositions Vol. 1 Sheet Music
Peace I Leave with You Millikin University Choirs From The Heart 1 CD
Peace I Love With You National Lutheran Choir Tree of Glory 1 CD
Prayer Coro Nacional de Cuba El Canto Quiere ser Luz - Songs Want to Be Light 1 CD
Psalm 100 St. Louis Children's Choir 30th Anniversary 2 CDs
Psalm 100 Bella Voce Young Women's Choir Best of Bella 1 CD
Psalm 100 New Orleans Children's Chorus Music Down In My Soul 2 CDs
Psalm 100 Concordia Choir The Choral Music of Rene Clausen 1 CD
Psalm 100: Make A Joyful Noise St. Olaf Choir Light of All Creation ... Scatter the Darkness 2 CDs
Psalm 103 Concordia Choir Star Of Wonder 1 CD
Psalm 23 Concordia Choir The Lord Is My Shepherd 1 CD
Quicksand Years Iowa State Singers Choral Spectrum 1 1 CD
Quicksand Years Kantorei Pillars Of Light 1 CD
Seek The Lord Concordia Choir The Choral Music of Rene Clausen 1 CD
Seek The Lord Millikin University Choirs Vespers 2010 - Shout The Good News 1 CD
Set Me As A Seal Rene Clausen A Cappella Compositions Vol. 1 Sheet Music
Set Me As A Seal Grand Rapids Women's Chorus Celebrating Time Together 1 CD
Set Me As A Seal Millikin University Choirs From The Heart 1 CD
Set Me As a Seal St. Olaf Choir Hallelujah! We Sing Your Praises 1 CD
Set Me As A Seal Mirinesse Sing Creation's Music 1 CD
Set Me As A Seal St. Louis Children's Choir Spring Concerts 2004 1 CD
Set Me As A Seal Concordia Choir The Choral Music of Rene Clausen 1 CD
Set Me as a Seal University of Utah Singers The Cloths of Heaven 1 CD
Sua Gan Concordia Choir Savior of the Nations 1 CD
The Last Invocation Kantorei Pillars Of Light 1 CD
There is No Rose Luther College Nordic Choir Christmas at Luther 2009 1 CD
There Is No Rose Concordia Choir O Come All Ye Faithful 1 CD
There Is No Rose of Such Virtue Concordia Choir Journey to Bethlehem 1 CD
There Is No Rose of Such Virtue Concordia Choir Journey to Bethlehem DVD
Three Whitman Settings Concordia Choir The Choral Music of Rene Clausen 1 CD
Three Whitman Settings (from "Leaves of Grass"): Kantorei Pillars Of Light 1 CD
Tonight Eternity Alone Rene Clausen A Cappella Compositions Vol. 1 Sheet Music
Tonight eternity alone Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge Beyond All Mortal Dreams 1 CD
Tonight Eternity Alone University of Utah Singers I Thank You God for Most This Amazing Day 1 CD
Tonight eternity alone The Choral Project Water and Light 1 CD
Tonight, Eternity Alone Concordia Choir The Choral Music of Rene Clausen 1 CD
Ubi Caritas Concordia Choir Echoes 1 CD
Ubi caritas BYU Singers My Redeemer Lives 1 CD
Ubi Caritas Gloria Chorale - Jungpyo Hong director (Korea) O Crux 1 CD
Veni Kantorei Pillars Of Light 1 CD
Watchman, Tell Us Of The Night Concordia Choir O Come All Ye Faithful 1 CD
Watchman, Tell Us of the Night Concordia Choir Star Of Wonder 1 CD

Discography[edit]

NOTE: Clausen’s compositions and arrangements are published by Shawnee Press in the Mark Foster Catalog, Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Roger Dean Publishing Company and Augsburg Publishing House.

  • A New Creation
  • The Choral Music of René Clausen
  • Memorial

A New Creation[edit]

Recorded in 1990 by the Dale Warland Singers, conducted by the composer, this sacred cantata uses both English and Latin texts. "Set Me as a Seal," one of the last movements, has been excerpted and widely performed on its own.

Memorial[edit]

Memorial is a composition for mixed chorus, orchestra and baritone solo, based on subject material, which reflects the horrific events of September 11, 2001, in New York City. Though presented as one continuous movement, the composition follows a program that consists of four sub-sections - September Morning, The Premonition, The Attack, and Prayers & Petitions. The baritone soloist is Peter Halverson (a Concordia College Music Faculty member), the soprano soloist is opera singer (then student) Molly Mustonen. On this CD, there is also an exceptional performance of Samuel Barber's instrumental piece, "Adagio for Strings", performed by the Concordia College Orchestra.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "55th Annual Grammy Award Winners". GRAMMY.com. Retrieved 2013-06-03. 
  2. ^ "Life and Breath". Concordia Recordings. Retrieved 2013-06-03. 

External links[edit]