This post is, of course, in response to my impossibly cute* co-editor (co-editor? junior editor? I don’t know…) Samuel Markson, who writes:
“[...]Do it. Please. Also, if you have input, tell me. This is the future of media–accept it.”
This seemed like a perfect time to tenderly embrace the future and make a list of everything that I’d been listening to on Youtube this past week.
I’ll skip the really embarrassing stuff (I mean, seriously, how many times can you *really* listen to Send in the Clowns and not be shamed to tears?) and continue on to my position as the Tech’s Classical Music Grouch.
As it turns out, there’s much that’s very good out there. Take for instance, William Billings‘s Rose of Sharon. What’s frustrating is that there’s really no good professional choirs singing it, at least not that’s readily available. But the quality of the amateur groups is really stunning. This week’s choice is, goes to the Dordt College Concert Choir, directed by Dr. Benjamin Kornelis. Crisp lines, no background hiss of an amateur recording, really, some solid stuff here (keep in mind the lyrics are a rated R, due, in no part to Dr. Benjamin Kornelis, Dordt College Concert Choir, or Billings, for that matter–take up any complaints with the Queen of Sheba):
But there’s a place for this business of professional choirs too. Take, for instance, none other than the King’s Singers, who manage, through the magic of digital editing, to render Thomas Tallis‘s forty-part motet (eight choirs, five voices a choir–epic on so many levels) Spem in Alium:
For a good time, fast forward to approximately 6.10-6.23. For those of you paying attention, that’s C major to A major, then, in a matter of two or three beats, a swift shift to a minor. Just incredible. And incredible seems to go for the entire work in general. It’s ungainly and bloated coming from computer speakers, but if you have stereophonic headphones, that helps. Keep in mind Spem in Alium is supposed to be performed with the audience in the center. Wikipedia gives more information here.
Since it seems that everything I do is inherently in threes, there’s on final video I suppose I’ve been begrudgingly listening to is Knut Nystedt‘s Immortal Bach. Not because I don’t like it, but because I like it for all the wrong reasons: the straight tone, the affected buzzing, the impossibly long vocal lines, it’s enough to drive me crazy. Not to mention that there’s a time and place for mensuration, my friends, and the twentieth century, I like to think, is not one of them. At any rate, it’s an incredible work filled with all sorts of nostalgia for my apocryphal Northern European heritage. So be it: you don’t have to be Lutheran to like Nystedt.
*Cute only because he was born after 1990 and therefore counts as one of the Absurdly Young. Although, now that think about it, I suppose it’s not unfair to note that he has a certain boyish charm to him. *Ahem*: not, of course, to say that, as one approaching my twenty-eighth year, I make a habit out of thinking about cute nineteen-year-olds. At least, not on a regular basis…