August 2014 Newsletter – Shaping Choral Experiences for Women
August 13, 2014
It’s coming up on the end of the summer, and for many of us that means finishing our programs for the coming year. Unless, of course, you’re like me, in which case you’ve only got the first concert nailed down (well, mostly) and the rest is still a half-formed mess in the back of your head. Not to worry! This month’s newsletter features a great piece by up-and-coming composer Joseph Rubenstein that might be just what you were looking for to tie your program together. You’ll also find some great thoughts on programming for women’s choir by conductor Sandra Snow. If you missed the announcement earlier in the month, please note that we’ve just released a whole new set of pieces for men’s and women’s choir. If you hear something you like but it’s not available for your choir type yet, let us know! We are always working on new arrangements so everyone has a chance to perform this great music.
Joseph Rubinsteinhas recently finished the graduate program at Julliard in music composition and is an experienced chorister to boot. This mix of performing and composing has given him unique tools to write excellent music for the voice. In addition to his choral writing, Rubinstein recently received a 2013-2014 fellowship with American Opera Projects’ “Composers & the Voice” program and is working on new and exciting works for the operatic stage.
This month’s featured piece, How She Went To Ireland, is a thick and luscious piece based on a mysterious poem by Thomas Harding. It’s for Eight Part Mixed Choir and is largely homophonic in texture with a feeling of an Irish jig moving at a glacial pace. We fell in love with it’s dramatic narrative character right away and think you will too.
One of the joys (and difficulties) of working with vocal ensembles is the diversity of voices, particular between men and women. In this article, Conductor Sandra Snow shares some general tips for building an excellent program, but then looks more closely at the particulars of the female voice and how it is used in a choral context. Finally, she offers a great sample program of diverse music for women’s voices. If you conduct a treble choir, this is definitely an article for you!