Vor Singet

Published: 2011

It has been documented that Mozart was so impressed by the contrapuntal mastery of Bach’s Motet Singet Dem Herrn that he interrupted a choir after they sang a few bars of the work, exclaiming “Here, at last, is something from which one can learn!” Vor Singet, focuses on the Motet’s Chorale; a gentle and compassionate section of the motet which contrasts with the relentless melismatic writing of the opening and closing sections. This chorale, sung by a semichorus, forms the crux of the musical material in Vor Singet around which dense harmonies are woven, either hummed by the remainder of the choir, or repeating the words “Singet dem herrn ein neues Lied” (sing to the lord a new song). Amongst this vocal writing is an an obligato Cello part, including musical ideas adapted from Bach’s melismatic writing in Singet. The combination of these elements in Vor Singet is intended to reflect the boundless and sustaining legacy of Bach’s work, expressed through a completely new composition by a young Australian composer. Bach’s music seems to transcend time, place and musical style and this has been proven many times all over the world by some of the most contrasting musicians. Vor Singet is therefore another example of the unwavering impact of Bach on music in the 21st Century.

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