Brief 4

“Compose a choral piece for any combination of voices to be sung at an event to open a new luxury hotel on the outskirts of Cardiff. The piece could include an accompaniment or be an unaccompanied piece. You may compose your own words or choose suitable words, but avoid choosing words from an already well-known song.”

The choral pieces composed during the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras split into two types. Most secular choral pieces were choruses in operas. The ecclesiastic choral works remained mainly quiet and contemplative, until the emergence of powerful works by composers such as Verdi and his Requiem.

As the brief suggests a piece to be sung at the opening of a luxury hotel, maybe you could consider a catchy piece, with a celebratory feel to it. How could you achieve this? Think of the time, key, rhythm, apt chords, and of course, suitable words.

Vocal pieces were usually thought of in the same context as pieces composed for strings – that they are slow to react and that the touch is slightly abrupt and lethargic. But this isn’t the norm.

Listen to this variety of vocal pieces to give you some ideas. They aren’t all suitable for the occasion, of course, but many different techniques for voices can be found here:

In a homophonic texture, strophic structure, lively time:

In various textures – many different ideas and devices here:

In order to experience counterpoint writing with a fugal or canonical appearance, consider the Rex Tremendae from Mozart’s Requiem, after the opening homophonic examples:

A ladies choir with harp and French horn:

A chorus from Verdi’s Requiem:

Firstly, look for suitable words. As the location is a hotel, you could choose to compose the opposite of a catchy piece and write a short, simple lullaby. After all, the hotel guests will be there to sleep! What about this one?

Whatever you choose, try and reflect the words in your music.