Okay; can we just take a moment to discuss a very prominent, contemporary composer? Sure, we can!
Before I reveal this person’s identity, let me just say that this person sure knows how to compose some of the most emotionally evocative “classical” music! If you don’t believe me, lend your ears to October, Sleep, or The Seal Lullaby; then you’ll see why I make that statement.
If you are a band or choir student, then you know about whom I shall write in this post just from the titles listed above. If not, then shame on you! Ladies and gentleman, applaud composer, conductor, and lecturer, Eric Whitacre!
Eric Whitacre is such a phenomenal composer! The way he writes his music definitely makes him “stick out like a sore thumb.” Okay, that might just be true for me.
Being a part of UAB Symphony Band, I’ve played snippets of October and played all of Sleep. Plus, I’ve heard all of The Seal Lullaby during one of UAB’s Honor Band festivals. Also, if anyone follows DCI at all, Mt. Juliet High School performed October as their 2012 program.
In my six years of actively noting and discovering composers, Eric Whitacre is among the many that stand out (like Danny Elfman, Randy Newman, Alan Menken, Samuel Hazo, John Mackey, David Holsinger, John Williams, Aaron Zigman, Hans Zimmer, Harry Gregson-Williams, John Powell, James Curnow, Robert W. Smith, etc.). I cannot say that when first discovering Whitacre’s music I became an instant fan. Contrarily, that does not indicate that I hated it or disliked it. I only thought it was interesting and quite different from what I’ve heard in my years of being an active student, composer, and musician.
I’m actually glad that Dr. Samuels exposed me to Eric Whitacre. Where I live, Eric Whitacre is not well-known (which is a downright shame because his Virtual Choir has received international attention from at least 108 countries). The well-known composers that are heard often are Alfreed Reed, Robert W. Smith, James Curnow, John Philip Sousa, and John Williams (and maybe even David Holsinger, and of course Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Bach, and so on).
As a verdant composer analyzing how successful composers write, I’ve become very fond of Whitacre’s style – which is a recurring discussion topic in Music Theory II with Dr. Price – and hope to one day emulate it in one of my pieces. I don’t want to be a carbon copy of Eric Whitacre; neither do I want my piece to be a carbon copy of one of his pieces. However, I would like to borrow some of his techniques and incorporate them so that when someone hears my piece they recognize that my music is alluding to Whitacre’s style.
Very recently, I discovered Virtual Choir 4: Fly to Paradise and thought it was well-written (from a lyricist’s perspective), well-sung, and well-composed (Is that a word?). Eric Whitacre never disappoints! And from what I’ve read, VC5 looks like it will be Alleluia, a piece of Whitacre’s with which I’ve not had the opportunity to make an acquaintance.
So far, the reviews posted in the VC forum are good:
Yes. A hundred thousand times over, yes. Alleluia is such a beautiful an incredible piece. I sometimes just listen to it on repeat because I can’t get enough of it. To perform it with the VC would be such an honor and an amazing experience. - posted by emily24760
I will be the first to send in my video. I simply adore alleluia. I listen this song a million time every day. Someone should pitch this idea to ERIC!!!!!!!! - posted by erau_2013
I would absolutely love love love to sing Alleluia as a VC 5 . it has to be my # 1 favourite of all Eric’s gorgeous compositions. I listened to it just the other day as I was painting (now that is Bliss..) – posted by SaltSpring
From the very moment I heard this song, even the first 30 seconds of the piece, I have wanted so desperately to have the opportunity to sing this piece. So a thousand times yes. – posted by lariel9
I would definitely get involved. That song is absolutely gorgeous. Eric, if you are reading this, I want to make it crystal clear that you can get started on “Alleluia” right away! – posted by TimFromGrottomatic
Absolutely!!! When do we begin?!?!?!?!?!?!? – posted by dioshy
These are only a few of the positive comments from the forum when a member, ryan256, posed the question, What if: VC5 is Alleluia. Will you sing?
Mr. Whitacre, if you read this, I’d say go for it, tiger! It seems that your VC members would love to sing Alleluia regardless of their religious preferences. Personally, I’d sing in VC5 (if I could sing well), because the previous four have been fantastic, especially VC2: Sleep.
Getting back to the post’s topic now, I can’t express how much I am glad that I discovered Eric Whitacre. Once again, I thank Dr. Samuels for choosing to play October and Sleep. I definitely look forward to whatever new composition Whitacre writes next for any ensemble, whether choral, instrumental/orchestral, or even for film, as I know it will definitely be spectacular.
Well, that’s all I have to say about Mr. Whitacre and his works and projects. To find out more, go to ericwhitacre.com!