Choral music is an interesting field to have interest in. The world of music is huge. Of all the different types of music, classical music is just a small sliver. Then, within classical music, choral music is an even small piece of the pie. Over the years, I've asked myself why I continue to write choral music. It's not for the money, that for sure! ;-)
I asked a question on Facebook in a group called, I'm a Choir Director: Ok, here's a question for you...without mentioning any specific composer or any specific piece, what would you say are the elements that make a good choral work?
Here's a couple of the answers that people wrote in:
There were a couple of other responses as well. I think it's really difficult to nail down what a "good" choral piece is because we all have our own ideas and prejudices. Some conductors are drawn to loud and fast, some to slow and sombre. Some conductors are drawn to Eric Whitacre, some are turned off just by the mere mention of his name. Some love open, lush chords, some love tight tone clusters. Some love Romantic era choral works, and some would spend all day in the Renaissance if they could.
So, with so much subjectivity going in to determining "good" choral music, how in the world is a composer supposed to know how to write music that people enjoy? I don't know the answer to that question yet. What I do know is that I feel music inside that needs to be put on paper. That's why I write. That's why I will continue to write.
In the comments below, tell me your favorite songs and/or composers. What is one song you feel that every choral conductor should know?
I've been silent for a couple of weeks, so it's time to pick things back up again. I finished my second quarter of my DMA program, had a week of Spring Break, and took a trip to New York with the UW Chamber Singers where we got to sing at Carnegie Hall (which, by the way, we rocked!).
I've been silent here, but steadily working on composition. I wrote a new piece for my son's middle school honor choir called Consider the Music. It turned out absolutely lovely. I will share it on my site soon. Soon, but not yet.
Also...in other news, I've had directors from Canada, Utah, and Mexico saying that they've downloaded some of my hymn arrangements and will be performing them. I guess that makes me an international composer now! :-)
I posted this on my Facebook page, but wanted to put it here as well...I won a composition competition sponsored by Opus 7, a Seattle-based choir. They selected my piece In Turba as the winner of their Graduate Student level winner. They'll premiere the piece on May 13. I'm pretty darn excited.
My friend and colleague, Sarah Riskind, is starting a blog featuring choral works. I may start doing something similar. I wrote a post for her and I'll let you know when it's been uploaded. Check out her page in the meantime.
Exciting times at SDCompose!
Composer, Choral Conductor, DMA Student,