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10 My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.

11 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;

12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

13 The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.

 

 

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Hi pateceramics

I remember hearing some of your music from a while ago when I was active here, and from what I can remember it sounds like you've become quite the choral composer. Your score looks beautiful; as someone who doesn't write choral music, it's nice to see it laid out so clear and easy to follow. 

I really like your use of dynamics. You use the choir well, giving different voices their chance to stand out a bit. I think vocal music suffers the most from midi sound samples, and definitely doesn't do your piece justice. Are you part of a choir or do you know of one that would perform this? Anything written as clearly as your piece shouldn't be too difficult to sight read! I like the toying with the motifs at 35 too.

You actually sent me down a rabbit hole when I was looking up the lyrics haha. I don't go to church, but I'm fascinated with religion, especially really old texts. Admittedly I haven't read through Song of Songs all the way through, so it was cool to jump into for a bit. 

All in all, glad to see and hear that you're still around and writing! Great work, I look forward to more

 

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Thanks so much, Thatguy!  I'm glad you enjoyed it.  I usually sing with 3 different choirs, but it's a bit of a weird year.  Generally I just make scores available online with a demo and occasionally someone performs a piece if it fits with their concert theme. 

I had so much fun with the motivistic section at 35!  When this passage of text is set to music, composers often stop before they get to the part about the turtles.  Turtles aren't the most elegant creatures to compose about, I guess?  So I wrote something that would naturally need to go a little slower to represent turtle-ness,  (coordinating those alto and soprano parts means you have to slow down, but they are busy enough lines that the new tempo taken at the tenor and bass subdivision of the beat certainly doesn't feel boring) and turned it into the turning point for the mood in the piece.  At the beginning of the text the beloved exhorts the speaker to get up.  Things have been bad so long, the speaker don't have the will to try any more.  But by the time we get to the turtles, they've lifted their head, they can see that the storm is passing, and that someone else has stayed patiently beside them to help them to their feet. 

I do love the poetry of the Song of Solomon.  The line earlier in the text, "comfort me with apples, for I am sick with love," is just so lovely.  Time for you to do a setting of some of the text next?  Thank you so much for your comments!

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  • 3 months later...

I really like the counterpoint in this one! Kind of renaissancey, but still your own unique style. The vocal writing is also really nice, with each part getting a chance to shine, while being very idiomatic and singable.

I think my main complaint is the lack of a real recurring tune or motive. Even in a throughcomposed form like this (which I think works well with the text), it really helps the listener (and probably the singers) to have some kind of idea that keeps coming back to guide them through the piece. This goes for harmonic ideas as well as melodic ones--for example, the E-natural/E-flat cross relation from m. 6 to 7 has a unique character that really stands out, and I was a little sad when it never came back.

Apart from that, it's just little things that bothered me. Like the alto and tenor dropping out together in m. 57 made the phrase lose momentum and the texture suddenly felt very empty (usually a dangerous thing to do mid-phrase unless there's a really good dramatic reason for it--maybe there is and I just missed it.) It seemed like the tension was really starting to build in m. 55, and I felt let down when this sudden emptiness interrupted it.

As always, these were just my impressions as a listener. It's nice to see someone else clearly focused on choral music here!

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  • 2 months later...

Thanks for your feedback, NRKulus.  I'm always happy to see another choral composer here as well.  We get to add text setting as a whole other element to play with on top of everything else.  

Hmmm... you are right, it would have been nice to play with the E-natural/Eb a bit more.  I always intend to be more organized with my themes and motives, and then I get distracted by ideas.  It's definitely something I need to work on.  

Measure 57 on the other hand, was a deliberate decision.  You'll notice the dynamic drops there as well.  I didn't want to put a sub. p. there, since the sopranos and basses are both high in their range and need some breath support, so I left space for two voices to drop out and take a nice relaxed breath instead to achieve a drop in dynamic, while keeping a supported sound.  (One can hope, anyway).  With that nice big breath, hopefully the singers will be vocally ready to produce a warm bath of an ending to the piece.  I wrote in long rests all over that section on purpose, instead of just breath marks, to encourage singers to really sigh in some air.  I feel like that puts the singers in a different frame of mind which will hopefully translate to the audience.  As you noted, we've hit a peak at measure 55, and I'm about to run out of text.  The beloved has finally persuaded the speaker back onto their feet, and now the only thing left to do is to "come away," and walk slowly and blissfully off into the sunset together.  So I needed a decrescendo for the rest of the piece.  And having voices walk off two by two there feels apt as well.  

Thank you for your thoughts!

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