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Collaborative Music & Visual Arts Concert

In the Spring our high school choir will be presenting a concert that will feature many works inspired by visual art as well as pieces which are or can be visually evocatve.  Think choral Pictures at an Exhibition.  With this mind we have commissioned a composer to write a piece inspired by works of visual art, and for this I am thankful to Paul Carey for his work.  I turn to you for a couple of reasons. 
 
1. Does anyone have suggestions of pieces that are influenced by visual art or are visually evocative?
2. We will be collaborating with our visual arts department to have a variety of ways of visual presentation during the concert.  Have any of you done anything like this before or have some creative ideas to share? 
 
I have some ideas for pieces as well as presentation, but I wanted to call upon our collective intellect without limiting direction.  Thank you for your thoughts and ideas. 
 
For your information we have a range of groups including an intermediate mixed choir, intermediate men's choir, advanced women's choir, advanced chamber choir, as well as male and female pop a cappella groups. 
 
Sincerely,
Adam Beeken
Lexington Catholic High School
Lexington, KY
on November 16, 2012 2:23pm
I've done some animation for my children's Halloween album, but would love to do something for one of my more serious choral works. See http://choirworks.com/index.php/home/ for a list of original compositions which are free to download. One's that would particularly lend themselves to a visual companion are Let there be Lights, and What the Man of Faith Said (a setting of Vachel Lindsay's poem).
 
I'm also just finishing up a group of settings of Vachel Lindsay's Moon Poetry for SSA choir that would be very evocative with visuals. Please email me mryan(a)choirworks.com if you'd like me to send you them.
 
Here are some examples of my animated work.
on November 17, 2012 5:59am
You have most likely considered Thompson's cantata *The Peaceable Kingdom*, inspired by paintings of American primitive artist Edward Hicks. Of course, "Paper Reeds" and "Ye Shall Have a Song" serve well as stand alone anthems. Best wishes for your wonderful concert concept!
on November 17, 2012 1:08pm
Hi Adam -
 
I strongly encourage you in this endeavor!  Last month my groups did a short concert in collaboration with the digital photgraphy classes, and it was tremendously successful.  I encourage you to program music that has a strong concept, rather than necessarily a strong visual evocation.  This is a great chance to get the larger message of the poetry/music across to the audience.
 
In terms of your question about visually evocative pieces, Stanford's "The blue bird" comes to mind, as well as Paulus "the old church," Thompson "The last words of David," and I'm sure there are plenty more.
 
This is the music we did:
Haec est dies (Gallus) - "This is the day the Lord has made..." - joy, new beginnings, etc.
Elijah Rock (Hairston) - hope, freedom.  Of course, we got one or two literal photos of rocks.... :)
In remembrance (Daley) - tons of imagery here. winds, rooms, snow, sun. great piece.
Libertango (Piazolla) - no text.  the melding of liberty and passion. lights of blurred lights and colors.
The road not taken (Thompson) - This worked well- lots of forest paths, choices, contrasts
Cantate Domino (Gilpin) - "Sing to the Lord" - this one was more abstract.
If you can walk you can dance (Alexander) - singing, dancing, playing, joy, brought us full circle in a way.
 
We also had an interesting performance space to work in, so the choir wasn't just standing still.  We did the Gallus across the side balconies, Elijah rock was partially staged; we wandered into place during the introduction and first verse of "The road not taken," and surrounded the audience in the last piece so that we could move into the crowd and get them singing and dancing with us.  The choir was interactive in addition to the visual component.
 
I do recommend that you keep the visual collaboration on the short side.  We did a half hour, and it was perfect.  Any longer probably would have just been a big slide show rather than effective art.  Also, you'll probably need to memorize depending on your lighting and logistical situation.  Keep that in mind as you plan.  We were disappointed that the choir couldn't see or be seen very well - it needed to be dark for the projector to throw.
 
Again, I urge you to consider the essence of whatever music you choose.  Ours revolved around human actions and emotions, which worked well with the principles of photography.  Think about whatever artistic medium is being used, what the students are being taught, and try to work with the teacher to bring the best of both worlds to the presentation.  I gave all of the text and audio files to the photo students, and they really enjoyed the project.  Then they all came to see what we did to their photos!  You won't be sorry!
 
Cheers,
Tim Reno
Siena College
on November 18, 2012 1:14am
"Twilight in Technicolor"
 
 
Available from JW Pepper, Sheet Music Plus, and Sheet Music Plus digital print.
Click through the links for audio samples and look-inside images.
on November 18, 2012 6:57am
There is always "Vincent" (Starry. starry night).
 
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