Posted on March 27, 2012 by Michael
The Michael O’Neal Chamber Singers are currently performing a program entitled Double Exposure. The concert includes “pairings” of pieces of the same text, but by different composers, e.g., Ave Maria by Busto and Biebl, and Sure on this Shining Night by Barber and Lauridsen. We have three scheduled performances of the concert (we just concluded one at Alpharetta Presbyterian Church and still have two more to go at Berry College and Peachtree Presbyterian Church). In each of these performances we are asking the audience members to pick their “favorite” piece in each pairing. At the conclusion of the series of concerts we will post the “winners” on our website and our FB page. Each audience member is presented with a paper ballot at the beginning of the concert and asked to complete it as the music is performed. The ballots are then collected at the end of the concert. I believe this involvement by the audience is great fun. Not only does it encourage them to listen more intently, but in an age where we seem to crave multisensory experiences in our entertainment (think sound, sight, touch, smell), it also adds an additional element of involvement to a typical choral concert.
So my question for you today is – what other audience participation experiences can you imagine for a choral concert? These can be actual approaches that have already been tried by you or someone else or something you’ve just come up with. Naturally, audience sing-alongs have been around for years, so I’m looking for something other than that. OK, I’m ready for suggestions!
Filed under: Choral experiences | Tagged: Alpharetta Presbyterian, audience participation, Barber, Berry College, Biebl, Busto, Chamber Singers, morten lauridsen, Peachtree Presbyterian, sing-alongs, The Michael O'Neal Chamber Singers | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 12, 2012 by Michael
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?
Filed under: Choral experiences | Tagged: Biebl, Darke, de Victoria, Holst, morten lauridsen, Shenandoah, The Michael O'Neal Chamber Singers, Through the Looking Glass, Vivaldi, Wilberg | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 13, 2010 by Michael
Those of us living in the Atlanta area have just experienced our first real snow fall of the season, and it has been a beautiful site to behold! It is also my understanding that for the first time ever there is snow on the ground in all fifty states. Certainly, in some of those locations the residents would very much like to see it go away, but for us in the south it is a joyous experience. Whether viewing it from the warm indoors, or venturing out for snowball fights, as I did with my wife and granddaughter, it is a marvel.
It made me think about the way choral composers have set words that remind us of this special time of year. Consider John Rutter’s Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind, Morten Lauridsen’s Mid-Winter Songs, or that favorite at Christmas, Harold Darke’s In the Bleak Mid-Winter. The Michael O’Neal Chamber Singers just sang a concert at the Falany Concert Hall of Reinhardt (soon to be repeated at the Alpharetta Presbyterian Church!) which included a beautiful set of songs by Eric Whitacre entitled Five Hebrew Love Songs. The words are by his wife, Hila Plitmann, and the fourth song says, “What snow! Like little dreams falling from the sky.” We are in the midst of snow and a very cold winter and I’m so thankful that we have meaningful choral music to accompany the experience.
Do you have some favorite winter songs?
Filed under: Choral experiences, choral masterworks, Musical preferences | Tagged: atlanta snow, eric whitacre, Falany, Harold Darke, Hila Plitmann, john rutter, morten lauridsen, Reinhardt, snow, winter, winter songs | 4 Comments »
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 »