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Written for an intermediate level ensemble, this high energy piece would be a great concert closer. It was written to explore choral writing without the use of poetry. Abandoning poetry opens up many compositional doors for the choral composer since being unrestrained by text yields a greater ability to choose your own rhythm and form among other things. I chose to make up syllables that would fit each of the motifs in the piece. The bass ostinato throughout the piece is based on the rhythm of a taiko drum pattern I heard many years ago while the upper parts explore short motifs and contemporary harmonies. The uniting of these two ideas felt to me like a “fusion” of different musical styles, thus the title.
This piece is written for an advanced ensemble with the ability to do up to 8 parts divisi. In order to bring more emotional weight to this anti war composition I created two sections that rely solely on the idea of descending stepwise motion. Each voice descends at different times and using different note lengths until finally coming to rest. The text takes Latin quotes, phrases and sayings and weaves them into a tapestry that carries a strong and timeless message.
This piece was written for an intermediate level ensemble. The wonderful poetry by D.H. Lawrence is set in such a way that the choir and the piano meet as equal partners in shaping this wonderful imagery; “Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings…”
“To light, to water, and the flow of birds through ancient stars.” This fantastic poetry written by Malca Litovitz, so rich with imagery of the Canadian Winter, provided the inspiration for a composition that embraces word painting.
Written for an advanced ensemble, this wonderful parable by Will Allen Dromgoole has a dreamy quality and the music reflects that by using subtle syncopation and a scale that produces chords and melodies that straddle the gulf between darkness and light.
I wrote this for my wife Allison Girvan’s small but advanced youth choir, Laline, the smallest of 3 ensembles that she directs. I decided to compose a song much as a contemporary songwriter would, with my own lyrics and a form based around repeating verse and chorus. This is probably one of the easiest pieces of mine to learn yet one of the hardest to perform since the long phrases require a great deal of attention to dynamics, breathing, and consistency of tone.
Written for an intermediate to advanced level ensemble this piece takes the listener into the mind of a young boy as he plays the blues but lives in a world of green. Subtle shades of gospel are woven into contemporary harmonies.
My choral work; "When the Earth Stands Still", has many many wonderful performances featured on youtube. Two of the best are done by The University of Johannesburg Choir and the Luther College Nordic Choir of Iowa, USA. So interesting to see how music can be interpreted so differently.
Les Choristes, the University of Western Ontario's fabulous womens choir under the direction of Jennifer Moir just premiered a new song cycle I was commissioned to compose titled "Fireflowers". This 6 song cycle features the fabulous poetry of one of Canada's great poets, Emily Pauline Johnson. My Home and Native Land Friday, December 1, 7:30 […]
Click to listen at CDBaby Source: ♫ Breath - Don Macdonald. Listen @cdbaby Choral music composed by Don Macdonald. This recording is different than most choral CD’s – two voices sing every part on the album resulting in a blend and synergy that is unique in choral recordings. Composer Don Macdonald and his wife, Allison […]