Posted on October 12, 2009 by Michael
Fanfare for a New Day marks the beginning of a third decade of music making for The Michael O’Neal Singers, and in a concert on October 25th we will indeed perform new music for a new day. All of the selections to be performed will be by active, living composers, with most of the pieces written in the past ten years. Beautiful melodies, lush harmonies, intriguing rhythms, and meaningful texts are joined together to create a program that should provide many memorable musical moments.
From an e.e. cummings poem set exquisitely in twelve-part a cappella form by composer Eric Whitacre to an inventive mass setting that would sound perfect in a jazz club, by former King’s Singer, Bob Chilcot, this is a concert that will have something for everyone. Other composers to be performed are David Conte, David Dickau, Guy Forbes, Dan Forrest, William Hawley, Morten Lauridsen, John Rutter and Mack Wilberg. The music created by these composers should assure us all that choral music has a bright future, as long as we keep producing the choirs to sing the music.
Are there “new” pieces of music that have been meaningful to you? Many of you have shared in past blogs some of your favorites. Share them again or offer some new titles. To choral enthusiasts, it is a fascinating subject!
Filed under: Choral experiences | Tagged: dan forrest, david conte, david dickau, eric whitacre, guy forbes, john rutter, mack wilberg, Michael O'Neal, morten lauridsen, MOS, The Michael O'Neal Singers, william hawley | 3 Comments »
Posted on October 1, 2009 by Michael
I had the good fortune of singing under the direction of Robert Shaw for a number of years. One thing he was constantly drilling into the heads of his singers was the importance of rhythm and the inevitable influence it would have on our performance. While recognized as one of the three main elements of music (the other two being melody and harmony), he seemed to think that rhythm was given far too little attention by many conductors and singers. Anyone who ever had the privilege to participate in a Shaw rehearsal undoubtedly had the opportunity to experience his “count singing,” a technique that quickly identifies anyone with rhythmic “issues.”
In its most recent rehearsal, MOS was reading through Bob Chilcott’s captivating work, A Little Jazz Mass, scheduled for performance at the end of October. The piece is fun and enjoyable to sing and I think the chorus was doing a very good job (overall). I was, however, struck by the challenges the rhythm seemed to present to some of our singers. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised, for I have noticed in recent years that MOS auditions seem to include an increasing number of rhythmic mistakes in both sight reading and tonal memory exercises. I think this “rhythmic insecurity” may be more common than I first suspected, and I look forward to concentrating more this year on the joys of rhythm, both in A Little Jazz Mass, and in other pieces as well.
I’d like to know what you readers think about rhythm. Does it come easily to you or is it indeed a challenge, especially as compared with melody and harmony? How do you go about working on rhythmic problems? I know that I personally always try to “internalize” the division of the beat. That’s especially helpful in “feeling” syncopation, a very important component of jazz. Anyway, I’m already looking forward to the next couple of rehearsals, where “rhythm” will be treated with the respect it deserves!
Filed under: Choral experiences | Tagged: a little jazz mass, bob chilcott, MOS, robert shaw, The Michael O'Neal Singers | 4 Comments »