O Gracious Light

This is a performance of my most recent choral work, O Gracious Light. This is somewhat of a reading session but also a full performance. The choir was only given a few days to prepare the work, as well as the works for 7 other composition majors at my school. This limited time line is due to the fact that this was the end of the semester and the choir just finished performing their own last concert. The performance is far from perfect but it is pretty good giving the difficulty and time constraint of the concert. 

Despite the lack of time, the performance itself shed light on to what could be improved upon. Their are some things that I know if given more time to rehearse would sound better, and other things that were just too hard to get right. I saw this first hand in rehearsals but also one can hear it in the performance. The choir and the director have all expressed interest in performing this piece again, even putting it on a short list for upcoming repertory. I would like to improve this piece greatly so it would be more accessible to learn and produce the best sound from the choir. This is where I would like a second opinion from y'all. 

What do you think could be changed around in the music to ensure a better performance and sound? What are things that just need more rehearsal time? And what can be added to help aid the performers in some of the more difficult sections (with out a piano). 

Let me know what you think. 

P.S.

There are two things that were added to the music during rehearsals that is not in the score. In measure 20, the basses sing in octaves "and our" on C and A with the sopranos. This was done to help them better hit their pitches after the rest. 

In measure 62, the men hold the word "light" instead of continuing the aleatoric chant texture. Do you like this or would you prefer they kept saying the text?

Here is just the audio for those who just want to listen

O Gracious Light.pdf

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Replies

  • Very nice, Tyler.  A beautiful piece of music.  I enjoyed it a great deal.

    Mariza

  • Beautiful piece, Tyler.  

    The only things I was aware of were regarding your score, in the dynamics department, as follows:

    m 13 - 15: you're missing markings at the end of your hairpins

    m 37 - 38:  Tenors I and II have hairpins without markings

    m 89 - 91:  You have marked as ff.  It didn't sound performed as such, but what's more important is that there's a soprano solo a measure later without a dynamic marking (sounds like mp), with no decrescendo from the rest of the group.  I only became aware of that upon listening only, and it sounds like the conductor put in a decrescendo to accommodate, or it already had been corrected.

    That's all I could come up with, and I enjoyed each listen more than the previous one.  Very excellent!

    D

  • Tyler, this is lovely and affecting from first to last. It evokes just the right tone and reverence for the divine, is fresh in sound, and satisfies musically. Excellently done!

  • Thanks for your comments 

    I have heard of people hyphenate based on where they want the word to be separated versus the dictionary. I am personally not a fan of that. From a singer standpoint it can be awkward and can ruin the clarity of the word. That style of hyphenation was popular in the 30s-50s with some composers but they are not met with much enthusiasm by choral singers.

    Susan Partlan said:

    Wonderful Tyler! A very beautiful and sensitive setting of the text.

    I don't see anything in the music that could be changed to improve performance and sound. In general, providing practice files with each part dominant can help people learn their parts more quickly. This won't help with the improvisation sections. Also, a choral composer friend hyphenates based on how he'd like the word voiced, not according to the dictionary. I'm not sure that technique applies to your piece, but maybe for a word like brightness, hypenating brigh - tness would help voice the 't' on the second note, if that's what you want.

    I caught two text typos. In m.59 "ciuos" should be "cious" and in m.66 "Chirst" should be "Christ."

    All the best, Susan

    O Gracious Light
    This is a performance of my most recent choral work, O Gracious Light. This is somewhat of a reading session but also a full performance. The choir w…
  • Thanks I will take a look at those things. 

    Dave Ostrowski said:

    Beautiful piece, Tyler.  

    The only things I was aware of were regarding your score, in the dynamics department, as follows:

    m 13 - 15: you're missing markings at the end of your hairpins

    m 37 - 38:  Tenors I and II have hairpins without markings

    m 89 - 91:  You have marked as ff.  It didn't sound performed as such, but what's more important is that there's a soprano solo a measure later without a dynamic marking (sounds like mp), with no decrescendo from the rest of the group.  I only became aware of that upon listening only, and it sounds like the conductor put in a decrescendo to accommodate, or it already had been corrected.

    That's all I could come up with, and I enjoyed each listen more than the previous one.  Very excellent!

    D

    O Gracious Light
    This is a performance of my most recent choral work, O Gracious Light. This is somewhat of a reading session but also a full performance. The choir w…
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