To date, the focus of the Consonant Classical Challenge has been on composers who write primarily orchestral works. We'll expand our scope a little and include some composers who are better known for their choral compositions.
Eric Whitacre is one such composer. Thanks to his social media savvy, Whitacre's probably the best-known choral composer in the world. As with many who write choral and vocal music, Whitacre is most concerned about the beauty of the melodic line, and the ease with which it can be sung.
Whitacre paints with harmonic pastels, piling up thirds in pleasingly dense clouds of sound. His work for string orchestra, "October," provides a good introduction to Whitacre's basic style.
While his orchestral and wind ensemble music isn't significantly different stylistically than his choral works, its in the latter type of compositions that Whitacre really shines. The harmonic language for "Lux Aurumque" is the same as for "October," but listen to the subtle shades of tone Whitacre adds by using the human voice.
Eric Whitacre's work with the Virtual Choir project made him a household name among choral singers. Here's the composer talking about the third Virtual Choir project, which will give you a good idea of how this interactive project works.
And finally, the results of Virtual Choir 2.
Eric Whitacre is not only a relatively young composer, but one who has a great deal of appeal -- even to those not normally interested in classical music. An organization looking to expand its audience should consider programming his work. If the participation level of the Virtual Choirs are any indication, it's music the whole world's interested in.
New American Classics Eric Whitacre Choral Music
Light & Gold
The Music of Eric Whitacre