2 days in a life

january 2007, Kessel-Lo

Happy to announce that this work got the award for mixed voices in the national choir composition contest, organised by the Capella di Voce and editor Euprint, edition 2007.

For years now, i am singing in the Capella di Voce, a choir conducted by Kurt Bikkembergs. This year, they organised a national choir composition contest for the second time, together with the publisher Euprint. As a composer singing in this choir, i could not resist and wrote a piece for this contest.

The second part of the composition was already finished. I used 12 june 1923 which i made a few weeks earlier. But it was a bit short, so i had to write another part to have piece that was long enough to send in.

After a bit of reading, i recalled the end of Ulyssis by James Joyce. The theme of the text was a perfect companion to the latter piece, since it is about a young women pondering on the love she feels for a man. (The second part is about a middle-aged women thinking she has not chosen the right man as a young girl.)

Moreover, the contest was open for works that can be sung by a group of amateurs. Now that was a challenge. Most of my music tends to be rather difficult, and most of the works that can be sung by such a group are rather tonal centred because real atonal music is more difficult to sing. So I had to come up with something that had a modern sound, but was not very complex.

I choose to use the ending of Ulyssis, and have it recited by the whole choir in unison, at a very fast pace. To keep the sound interesting to listen too, i make a difference between whispers, expressive speech and singing on a more or less free pitch. The tempo is extremely fast though. For amateurs this is not really a problem. They have to practice rather long any way to perform contemporary music, and there is nothing here they cannot do. Should a professional choir sing this piece however, they need almost as much time because they also have to practice on saying the text fast enough. So there's my little joke on them.

The score will not be available online because it is published by Euprint. You can view some pages of it on their website. And of course order the score there. There is also a cd-recording by the Capoella di Voce.