SNAP DRAGON!

So, I’m on Facebook, reading the news feed when I read an entry by Ola Gjeilo (coolest Norwegian composer alive).  He mentioned that one of his new pieces is already being published and available on Hal Leonard.  Well, that got me thinking, because his piece is set to be published in the same catalog as mine, I wondered if my piece was available.  Lo, and behold:

You can find it here.

I’m just gonna go pass out somewhere after I’m done hyperventilating.  Don’t mind me.  It should be available on J.W. Pepper in the next little while or so.  More to come . . .

SSATBB Rehearsal and “In Paradisum”

Today we had our second rehearsal for the SSATBB ensemble I mentioned earlier (still no name, but we’ve gotten quite a few humorous suggestions).  We had a great time and worked on parts of “Haec Dies,” by Byrd, “i will wade out” by Whitacre, “Evening Wind,” by Redford and “Abendlied,” by Rheinberger.  It’s coming together really wonderfully.  Our biggest challenge right now is sight reading.  It’s so much easier to sight read when you’re in the middle of a section all working just as hard as you are.  It’s so much harder when you’re the only one on the part.  We’re still working on that.

In other news, my “In Paradisum,” is going to be premiered next month in our combined concert with guest conductor Philip Copeland.  It was going to be premiered at our Winter Choirfest (the one that was supposed to be at the Provo Tabernacle before it burned down).  Professor Hall decided that it would be better for the premiere of the piece to be done in a better space and with more rehearsal.  I can understand that, but I’m impatient and I want to hear my piece NOW!  What can you do though?

P.S.  BYU Singers will be giving a FREE mini-concert in Museum of Art on campus tomorrow (Friday) at 6 PM.  You should come, I’m conducting a piece!

My New Ensemble

Over the last few years or so I’ve been involved with a number of singing groups.  In addition to BYU Singers and BYU Concert Choir, I’ve also had the opportunity to found the Wasatch Chamber Singers and conduct Sforzando (a non-audition service choir).  I’ve had a great time with all of these groups and learned quite a bit from each of them.

A few years ago, while studying a great deal of Renaissance and Baroque music I noticed a certain voicing that seemed to be a little more common place than today.  I first noticed it when listening to excerpts from Historia di Jepthe by Carissimi.  In that work, the choir is divided six ways: SSATBB.  I marveled at the color this voicing has.  I noticed it again in the soloist parts for “Saul, Was Verfolgst Du Mich” by Schütz.  In BYU Singers we learned “Un soir de neige,” by Poulenc that did the exact same thing (Poulenc actually marks it “SSATBB soli or choir”), and “Evening Wind” by J.A.C. Redford.  I’ve found a few more pieces since then that are written in this style that I think offer a distinct timbre to choral music.

About a year or so ago, I got the idea of creating an ensemble based around singing this sort of music: an ensemble of only six people in this voicing.  I realize that the King’s Singers is a group with six singers, but they’re Ct,Ct,T,Bar,Bar,B.  I wanted to offer something similar but in a different vein.  After all this time waiting and mulling about I finally got together with five other singers this last Saturday and tried it out.  It worked amazingly well.

We’ve got some great literature to sing and a long way to go still, but we finally have weekly rehearsals and a shared vision of what we can be.  It’s very exciting.  I’ll post more soon.

P.S.  We still need a name.  Any ideas?

Rehearsing “In Paradisum”

Concert Choir’s rehearsal of “In Paradisum” is going extremely well. I’ve had a few opportunities to come into their rehearsals and hear how they are progressing. From what I’m hearing, it’s amazing. They’re mostly rehearsing the A-sections right now and getting them into their voices. I can’t believe my ears. When they sing my piece, it actually sounds like it was composed by someone who knows what they’re doing. I’m genuinely impressed.

A lot of people have been telling me how much they enjoy it so far. They might not be saying that when they start learning the B-section in the middle, it’s probably much harder than the already hard A-sections. I’m so excited to hear it all put together.

Speaking of paradise, that sounds really good right now, especially here in cold Provo, UT.

Wish I was here.

“In Paradisum” Premieres This Month!

This month, BYU Concert Choir will premiere my “In Paradisum,” at our Winter Choirfest with Rosalind Hall conducting.  I’m super excited!  They just started rehearsing it today.  Sometimes I feel that I can’t talk about stuff like this until the music is in their hands, even though this has been in the works for months.

The first word back about the piece is that it’s “hard.”  This comes as no surprise to me, I knew it would be difficult.  Even with such a small taste, people have already told me how much they love it.  I just hope they love the rest of it!

This has to be the most rewarding part about composing: getting to hear the work brought to life by amazing musicians.  I’m very excited to hear it when it’s all being polished up and ready to perform.

As for the performance time and venue, well, that’s up in the air right now.  The performance was meant to take place in the Provo Tabernacle, but now that it’s in ashes we have to move it some place else.  Hopefully it’ll be someplace with a good acoustic and can be recorded.  I’ll post everything as it comes in.

Happy New Year!

Well, another year has come and gone.  That keeps happening for some weird reason.

2010 has been a good year, “Midnight Clear,” made it to publication, I got to go to London to study choral music, and I got into the Masters program here at BYU.  I also popped out some more compositions.  Who knows what’s going to happen with these, if they’re going to go anywhere at all, but it’s a great learning experience.

Hopefully this year will be the opportunity to premiere some of these new works and continue writing more.  Already planned this year is me conducting University Chorale for my graduate recital, and BYU Singers going to ACDA in Chicago and on tour to Colorado and Wyoming.  Who knows what else will come up.

Here’s to the new year.