A Quick Note About Contemporary Choir Music
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