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sure, i love tally hall, coldplay, queen, journey, mika, ingrid michaelson and kt tunstall just as much now as i ever have, but i'm so grateful for different genres and for the magic they individually bring to the musical world. eric whitacre is one of my very favorite composers and i always get so super excited to sing (or listen to) one of his pieces.
Eric Whitacre's Complete a'Cappella Works, sung by the BYU Singers is what i'm currently listening to. honestly, it's some of the most beautiful music i know of.
oddly enough, as i listen to this, i feel...well, the word that comes to mind is, homesick. homesick from not singing this kind of stuff since high school. i miss singing. i miss my voice and the skills that have wavered since high school.
imagine with me: you are walking onto risers on stage in front of adjudicators (judges) with your 18 other comrades in your choir. you glance around and a half-terrified, half-excited feeling of anticipation overcomes you as you take a second to sneak a glance at your audience, your fellow singers, then your eyes dart back to your director. the piano rings a lone note signifying your pitch. the director raises his arms, and looks around at all of you expectantly. his eyes meet yours for a second. then, on his cue, you are singing. you are harmonizing! through the song, you sing your heart out, knowing that you're one of only two people on your part at times. they’re depending on you, just like you’re depending on them. muscle memory kicks in and you start to remember all of the things you've rehearsed so many times. you have an adventurous feeling as you listen intently to where your part fits right in, and you nail it. you let your part soar at times, then suddenly make it mesh with the rest of the choir, and let others do the same, leaving the audience to guess where the sounds come from, before whisking them away to another part of the music. you hear the complete contrast between loud and soft, consonance and dissonance. you revel in the tension between suspended dissonant (clashing) chords, and the resolution to consonant cadences. as the song comes to a close, the last chord rings out and the director still has his arms up. it's completely and utterly silent, except for that last ringing sound…echoing into space. a sound that you've helped create….that's what singing whitacre (and many others) compositions felt like for me. i have always loved that, and sorely miss it. thus, homesick. it's okay though, because i'll always love it.
and you feel like you’re home.
suddenly, there is immediate and thunderous applause. a huge smile crosses your face as the director presents the choir and bows. this applause makes you incredibly happy, and this is why: you understand that it doesn’t matter whether or not you are "the best" choir (that’s subjective), but are thrilled for the knowledge that you were able to share some of the wonder you just experienced with so many more people than yourself. something words alone can’t describe. the magic of music!
i’m so glad for the beauty that is captured in music, regardless of my personal longing and opportunity (or lack thereof) to be involved in such beauty. music is, after all, the universal language.
all these things…the perfectly placed dissonance, the suspension, the lyrics, the climaxes, the contrasts, the uniform constant sounds, the text-painting, the moving notes with floating suspended chords above them...mmmmmm. all of these can be experienced in whitacre’s music.
so you can experience it, too::
i especially love the song 'sleep'...one of my favorite songs we sang. though lyrics aren't always the most important part, these lyrics some of my favorites.
i also love lux arumque, another we sang. the latin lyrics, when translated, talk about light and warmth, and it's evident in the song. the first part, where all of the separate parts come in at different times, sounds like rays of light (ps, this is an example of text-painting).
when david heard tells the bible story of david and his son absalom (it was the first whitacre piece I remember hearing).
****okay, okay. one more. if nothing else, PLEASE watch this: Leonardo’s Dream. it’s a favorite that i just discovered!
why 'favorite'? because:
1) the song is about leonardo da vinci, one of my favorite artists who completely fascinates me. it combines visual art and music, two areas that are more closely related that most think.
2) in this clip, the singers talk about their experiences with the music, and it really makes it more personal and interesting to hear.
3) the byu singers are the ones singing: i know some of the people talking/singing! we live in the same building (the h-fac) since i'm an art major. :) sometimes, i wish i were a music major as well. just so i could sing like this.
4) it’s from eric whitacre’s blog! he says he loves the byu choir. heehee.
get acquainted with the wonder and beauty that is whitacre! what do you think? do you have an experience with whitacre or his music? do you have an experience with music in general? have you recently discovered (or rediscovered) a beautiful passion of your own?