The Michael O’Neal Chamber Singers, our twenty-eight voice ensemble recognized for its ability to perform everything from Renaissance motets to contemporary vocal jazz, will be presenting a program in late March entitled Double Exposure, a fascinating exploration of how different composers have approached the same text. Three performances of this concert will be presented at Alpharetta Presbyterian Church on 3/25, Berry College on 3/27, and Peachtree Presbyterian Church on 3/29.
Choral music has one major difference from instrumental music, and that is the use of words with the music. For choral composers, the text is of enormous importance, and the most common approach is to take an existing text and create music which will complement the meaning found within those words. In Double Exposure we are able to hear how a variety of texts have been treated by “pairs” of composers, and the result is to discover how two individuals can often interpret so differently the same text. As Alice said to Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, “The question is whether you can make words mean so many different things.” This concert answers the question! The audience members will even have the opportunity to get involved in the concert by being asked to vote on their favorite selection in each of the pairings.
A wide variety of texts are included in Double Exposure, including O Magnum Mysterium, Ave Maria, Sure on this Shining Night, Shenandoah, and Little David, Play on Your Harp. Composers will range from Victoria, Bach and Vivaldi to Biebl, Barber, and Lauridsen.
All this makes me wonder if you have some favorite pairings? I’ll start the ball rolling by mentioning two pieces with the same text by two composers (by the way, this is not in the concert!). The text is In the Bleak Mid-Winter and the composers are Gustav Holst and Harold Darke. Okay, now what are your contributions to this list?