This section of the site offers some starting points for further exploration of the kinds of music that I perform. The vocal repertoire is vast, and opens up even vaster cultural, musical, linguistic and literary horizons – an enthralling prospect, but also a potentially bewildering one. Listed below are some sites which I've found useful as ways of navigating the territory – guides to the repertoire, translations and commentary on foreign-language texts, and online scores. As I continue to add further links, I hope it will become a useful resource for anyone interested in music written for the voice.
Classical Vocal Reprints
An American site with a huge selection of scores available to purchase and download, including seriously obscure titles, many of which are out of print and unavailable elsewhere. They also run a separate site where you can purchase printed scores for mail order.
French Baroque Vocal Music scores
French musicologist Nicolas Scéaux offers freely available edited scores of works by Lully, Charpentier and Rameau, with orchestral parts and even links to the sources.
Handel Opera Synopses
There are lots of resources at the website of Handel & Hendrix in London, the museum formerly known as the Handel House, but this is likely to be the most useful to singers: a chronological listing of his operas, with a synopsis of each, together with lists of roles, details of first performances and other information regarding sources, patronage, composition history etc.
This promises to develop into a really useful resource for singers and their accompanists who have limited patience with IMSLP's Chrysander editions of Handel's vocal works, tenor clefs and all. Christopher Sokolowski has prepared transposing vocal scores of a number of Handel arias, which are available to purchase, and invites commissions for further additions to his catalogue. His site also includes repertoire lists, and a dramatis personae of many of the singers for whom the roles in the operas and oratorios were written, very useful for anyone looking to expand their Handel repertoire.
Hyperion is one of the most enterprising of independent classical music record labels, and has always dedicated a generous portion of its catalogue to vocal music, including complete editions of several composers' songs. Famously, they were the first label to record every song by Franz Schubert, on 37 discs recorded over a period of 18 years. The label has always prided itself on producing liner notes for their recordings which are an education in themselves, and the song discs include full texts, translations and expert commentary, sometimes with copious illustrations. We should be grateful, therefore, that virtually all of these notes are available on the Hyperion website as free-to-download PDFs. Graham Johnson's booklet notes for the Hyperion Schubert Edition have set near-legendary standards of comprehensiveness, insight and elegance, matched only by the same writer's notes on the Schumann, Brahms and Fauré editions. All of these, and more, are available at the click of a mouse. Magic.
International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) / Petrucci
Since 2006, this Canadian-hosted site has been building up an online library of public domain music scores on the wiki principle of community contributions. Hundreds of thousands of works, by thousands of composers, are now available here and free to download. The only real restriction on the site is copyright law: the works of composers who died less than 50 years ago are still under copyright in Canada and therefore cannot be published here (in the EU, the copyright period is 70 years). This isn't the place to go for the latest scholarly editions, but as a means of getting instant access to a vast wealth of music, it's hard to beat.
Listening Guides to the Works of Johannes Brahms
A work-in-progress, and clearly a labour of love, this site is an excellent starting point for an exploration of Brahms's songs, and his music more generally. As well as analytical listening guides, and brief introductions placing each work in the context of Brahms's development, it also presents texts and translations.
In many respects this is much more modest than IMSLP – vocal music only, a much more limited selection, and not free to use. But because the scores at this site are Sibelius files rather than PDF scans, they offer the huge advantage of being transposable. For a very modest £1.40 per song, you can use this site to download any song from their collection, transposed into any key you like – invaluable if none of the published keys are quite right for you. Regular users might want to consider taking out a subscription (also very reasonably priced).
The Italian Madrigal Resource Center
Martin Morrell's site presents his own editions of madrigals by dozens of Italian Renaissance composers. The scores are free, though you need to go through a simple registration process to access them
The LiederNet Archive
Created and maintained by the indefatigable Emily Ezust, with contributions from hundreds of volunteers, this site (formerly recmusic.org) is the world's largest online archive of the texts and translations of songs and choral works. The collection is growing all the time, and includes hundreds of thousands of texts, many with multiple translations (which can be handy if you suspect that no one translation is really getting to the heart of the matter). You can search the site by composer and also by poet, use it to find different settings of a given poem, or search for all song/poem titles containing a particular word – all of which makes it a useful resource not just for finding translations but also for planning recital programmes. Do bear in mind, though, that the translations are not in the public domain, and you will need to seek permission before publishing them in any form.