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The Stolen Child
PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:32 pm  Reply with quote

Joined: 23 Feb 2004
Posts: 74
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota

Belated greetings everyone,

I friend of mine clued me into this thread via email a few days ago and I thought I might weigh in with my opinion. Thanks so much for your kind words about my music. It’s nice to know that people are taking it to heart and talking about it. It’s more than I could have ever hoped for when I first started writing and I’m immensely grateful for the careful attention you’ve obviously given it.

Just to set the record straight, early in my life as a composer I was very much inspired by Eric’s pieces. The first time I ever sang in a choir was my final year in high school and my arrival at college the following year corresponded with “Water Night” and “Cloudburst” gaining in popularity and Eric’s music garnering more and more national attention. As someone who had heard hardly any choral music at the time I was completely flabbergasted and instantly excited about it. That excitement manifested itself in my “trying on” the harmonic language I was listening to in these pieces as I sat down at the piano. There were times when I would intentionally try to emulate that sound in an effort to understand how it all fit together and others when it was completely unintentional.

But that’s how you find out what you like, right? In the end, we are all just a conflux of our influences, and we eventually move on in the continuing journey to find our own voice. I’ve done it before with Michael Torke’s “Book of Proverbs” as well as other non-classical composers like Rufus Wainwright and Ben Folds. “Musica animam tangens” actually came out of a study of Tomas Luis de Victoria’s “O Vos Omnes”.

Since it’s essentially impossible to write music in a vacuum this is just another way of gaining more knowledge about the craft. In fact, I heard Eric lecture somewhere a long time ago and I’m fairly certain he mentioned something about score study as the best way to learn your craft as a composer. I couldn’t agree more. You find what you like and what you don’t as well as a host of other things you never noticed in just listening to the piece.

One thing in particular I got from “Lux Aurumque” was having a text translated into a different language. While it’s certainly not the first time this has happened (Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” was performed in both English and German under the supervision of the composer) I can definitely site “Lux” as the reason I decided to have the text for “Musica” translated out of the English. It allowed me to treat the choir more like an instrumental ensemble and the repeating text sounded way less awkward and pedantic than the original language.

The piece that Eric mentions as my “When David Heard” (and rightfully so) was me blending William Billings’ “David’s Lamentation” with the sometimes-clustery harmonies reminiscent of Eric’s brilliant setting of II Samuel 18:33. They both happen to be in the same key and, as a 19-year-old composer who didn’t know anything at the time, it came out sounding like Eric. It’s terribly derivative and, frankly, I don’t enjoy listening to this piece very much anymore. It’s a youthful indiscretion that I wish I hadn’t allowed to be published and I’ve actually begun donating the royalties to the American Red Cross when they come in the mail.

All that being said, I’m glad you’re looking at my music and parsing it for what you see and hear. It’s the best way to learn and it just goes to show that you can find something new wherever you look. As for the original subject of the post, I enjoyed listening to “The Stolen Child” immensely and, as I’ve performed more than a few Whitacre pieces over the years, I hope I’ll have a chance to get to know this one as well.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:55 am  Reply with quote

Joined: 19 Jun 2007
Posts: 58
Location: Tampa Bay, FL

Hey Eric,
I have a rough recording on my phone of the performance tonight with Concordia Choir and King's Singers if you want a listen...

Music is the true universal language-the language of souls...
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:03 pm  Reply with quote

Joined: 17 Mar 2004
Posts: 140
Location: Florida


How did Concordia do? I might go see them in Gainesville when they take their SE tour later this month. The program looks very interesting.

Anything you do, let it come from you.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 10:20 am  Reply with quote

Joined: 19 Jun 2007
Posts: 58
Location: Tampa Bay, FL

I might be a little biased, but they sounded ten times better than the National Youth Choir of Great Britain.

They are truly amazing, and will be performing it on tour, the sextet will have countertenors from the choir.

I sure hope you can see it, these guys are my good friends, and I encourage to bring everyone you can, it is worth it!
Music is the true universal language-the language of souls...
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