A Quick Note About Contemporary Choir Music

John RutterCover of John Rutter

As we begin to study Baroque large scale choral works and sacred music (ex. cantatas and oratorios), you might notice a huge difference between the music heard in contemporary cantatas and those of the Baroque. Some of these differences are because:

  • Amateur musicians
  • The publishing machine (which, once again, is based on sales and not good music)
  • Poor training in the parts of composers
  • Music software

Many contemporary religious institutions can not handle Bach's work unless there is an impressive music ministry budget with a fully-trained music director, orchestra, and choir. Many church choirs are comprised of dedicated volunteers who may or may not have musical talent. Additionally, music publishing companies have a tendency to sell musical slosh that is easy to play, unimaginative, and elementary. Choral arrangers have a tendency to rely on software to create their music.

I firmly believe that a good composer can write good music, no matter what the level of talent. Eric Whitaker and John Rutter, for instance, have written amazing choral works with sacred text.

John Rutter: Magnificat

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