March 26, 2010
The World's Most Beautiful (Virtual) Choir
Choral conductor/composer brings global voices together online for a heavenly sound
A couple months ago, my wife and I heard one of the world's finest choirs, the St. Olaf Choir, conducted by Anton Armstrong. Their concert at Chicago's Fourth Presbyterian Church was nothing short of divine, bringing us to the gates of heaven. I doubt if even the angels themselves can top St. Olaf's.
Today, I discovered another amazing choir -- an ensemble of 185 voices from 12 nations . . . a collection of people who have never met one another, nor have they met the conductor for whom they were singing. This was conductor/composer Eric Whitacre's "virtual choir" singing his own composition, "Lux Aurumque" -- with each individual voice recorded with a simple webcam at each singer's home computer. Whitacre held online auditions, then put together a brief instructional video, followed by him "conducting" the piece for the virtual singers. They simply sang their parts into their webcams, and sent them to Whitacre, who enlisted someone to edit all the pieces together to form a choir. The result is nothing short of stunning:
Read more about how the project came together here. And as we near Palm Sunday and Easter, pay attention to the words (in Latin) and their translation:
Pura velut aurum
canunt et canunt et canunt
et canunt angeli
natum, modo natum
Pure as if gold
(They) sing/prophesy and (they) sing/prophesy and (they) sing/prophesy.
*'Gravis que' is actually written and said as one word, Gravisque, meaning "and [definition]." There are many words listed because it actually means all of those, in a poetic sense that is difficult to capture in one English word.