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Gold Platters

As Jack has admirably grown this community, he has filled the silver platter with his credible taste for music.   But if one looks at the collection, it may be already far too big, deep, or wide to be a useful tool for the conductor.   When I look at some of the pieces, some I feel are worthy, others unworthy.   Each of us, no doubt, has an individual opinion.  
Might it be time to create a new tier of better than silver?  And allow other tastes to flavor the pot?   Is it feasible to select, say, one piece every 3 months for a gold platter, and have either the composer community, or perhaps the 'silver platter' community, vote to select such pieces?    Then the generally accepted really good works would have our concerted and agreed-upon democratically mutual support.
Just an idea  .....
on May 21, 2014 4:02pm
Please share your opinions about this idea. I welcome and encourage open and honest critique. You really won't offend me.

There are a few parts to my process I would like to share. ChoralNet is a bit stuffy. If I used only the criteria of "highest quality choral music" I would be limiting performance options for your works. I have tried to spotlight works for various levels and voicing and use the criteria of usefulness rather than compositional strength alone. Though these often go hand in hand, I have found many pieces to be useful or " just right" for what I or my choir needed at the time, though I may not have given them my highest marks. My highest criteria is to decide if a conductor that purchased the music would find value in his/her purchase.

My experience with choirs at the college level and professional level are somewhat limitted. My opinions are more knowledge based at k-12, community and small church choir levels.

I would welcome help and suggestions for worthy repertoire by one composer for another.

Applauded by an audience of 3
on May 22, 2014 5:29am
To me this seems a slippery slope. There are various opinions as to what constitutes great pieces, functional pieces, etcetera. For some that is the function of state selection committees, publishers, and so on. It is like selecting a movie based on a critics rating - some you agree with, some you don't. One could argue that main stream publishers do that by selecting or not selecting pieces and composers to publish. One effort to do critical review/recommendation that is not tied to the publishing industry is the Encore Project
As I understand it, the main function of this community is to promote composers of choral music, not to determine whether a work is viable enough to promote in some way. I think most composers would rather welcome a discussion as to how to make conductors more interested in looking through the works within the collection. In order for us to do that there needs to be an incentive for them to visit and then a way to browse in some efficient manner. Yes, eliminating all but 10 pieces (exaggeration)  would make that much easier, but doesn't that ruin the function of this community, as well as eliminating potential works that one might find useful that another does not?
Applauded by an audience of 2
on May 22, 2014 8:57am
I agree that this becomes tricky, and it depends on what the ultimate purpose of the forum is, and as there isn't an objective standard for what makes a great piece of music it's a struggle to provide consistent curation through an ever shifting panel.
And I think curation is ultimately what you are talking about. Stuart is correct that this should be the realm of publishing companies, though most pander to what they think will sell rather than what they think is great.
Same issue with composers self-promoting; I've rarely heard a composer tell someone that they SHOULDN'T perform one of their pieces because it's junk.  ;)
Project Encore is a good resource for this sort of thing, and so are some small publishers, though they're hard to find.
What I WOULD be interested in is someone (jack or otherwise) taking on the process of curation through a blog or a series of featured pieces/composers and developing a reputation as a critic.
Conductors that trust his taste would then have a go to resource for their own programming.
As a side note, if any one here is interested in being a curator, this is what I'm trying to do with my own company See-A-Dot Music Publishing, which is based on having a highly selective catalog. And I'm always looking for guest bloggers.  :)
on May 22, 2014 1:27pm
Good contributions, thank you.   Both Stuart and Fahad, though, perhaps partly miss the point:  Jack is ALREADY acting as a curator.   I'm just proposing, or more mildly, suggesting, perhaps that it's time to develop that role a bit more, and perhaps acquire some additional input.   This is not to argue against the main points either of you have made. 
on May 26, 2014 8:04pm
Hi William and Jack,

I think the silver platter concept is working well with the main advantage being the front page promo during the week it is selected. I don't think the gold platter concept is really necessary to guide people to cream of the crop pieces. What might be nice is each week including an emphasis of the link to all silver platter pieces within the post (perhaps using a simple sentence and link directing conductors to the list).

If increasing the select-ness (yes I know that is not a word) of the featured piece is desired, perhaps featuring a piece every other week during off season times for buying pieces (like April through June) and doing weekly features during on session times (like mid July through mid October) could keep the pool from "diluting".

These are mostly brainstorms and not strong opinions, but I think more attention could be drawn to selected pieces without adding a higher tier (gold) which could potentially devalue the silver pieces.

God bless,
Michael Sandvik

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