- What is Rutter’s “What Sweeter Music” about?
- The history of the composition of “What Sweeter Music”
- John Rutter and his musical style
- The structure of “What Sweeter Music”
- The use of counterpoint in “What Sweeter Music”
- The instrumentation of “What Sweeter Music”
- The text of “What Sweeter Music”
- The meaning of “What Sweeter Music”
- The reception of “What Sweeter Music”
- The legacy of “What Sweeter Music”
Rutter is known for his beautiful choral music, and this setting of “What Sweeter Music” is no exception. It’s the perfect choice for a winter concert or holiday service.
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What is Rutter’s “What Sweeter Music” about?
Rutter’s “What Sweeter Music” is a setting of an anonymous 17th-century English carol. The text reflects the joy of the Christmas season, and the music is written in a light, lilting style that creates a warm and festive mood. This piece has become one of Rutter’s best-loved works, and it is sure to bring holiday cheer to any concert or gathering.
The history of the composition of “What Sweeter Music”
Rutter composed “What Sweeter Music” in 1986, basing it on a traditional English carol. The text is adapted from a poem by Robert Herrick, and the original melody comes from the 15th century.
The composition is scored for SATB choir and piano, and has become a popular choice for Christmas concerts and services. Rutter himself conducted the first performance of the piece, with the Cambridge Singers and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
John Rutter and his musical style
John Rutter is a contemporary composer of choral music, born in London in 1945. His musical style is characterized by a use of simple harmonies and melodic tunes, often borrowed from folk or popular sources. Rutter’s music is primarily sacred, but he has also written a considerable amount of secular music, including several works for children’s choirs.
The structure of “What Sweeter Music”
“What Sweeter Music” is a six-part roundsong, meaning that each new voice enters with the beginning of the next phrase, starting at different points in the song. The result is a constantly shifting texture and an overall feeling of forward motion, created by the increasing number of voices as the song progresses.
The piece is built on a simple foundation: a three-note motive that is first sung by the sopranos and then passed around to all the other voices in turn. This motive forms the basis of all the melodic material in the piece, and by manipulate it in different ways Rutter creates a wide range of emotions, from pure joy to quiet contemplation.
The work is also notable for its use of counterpoint, or the weaving together of multiple melodic lines. This technique is used throughout the piece, but perhaps most effectively in the final section, where six different voices combine to create a rich tapestry of sound.
The use of counterpoint in “What Sweeter Music”
Rutter is a master of counterpoint, and this is evident in his composition “What Sweeter Music.” The use of counterpoint creates a rich and textured sound that enhances the emotional impact of the piece.
The instrumentation of “What Sweeter Music”
What Sweeter Music is written for mixed voices (SATB) with piano or orchestra accompaniment. The piano/orchestra edition includes a score for string bass, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, and percussion.
The text of “What Sweeter Music”
The text of “What Sweeter Music” is a Christmas carol written by English composer John Rutter. The lyrics are adapted from a poem by Robert Herrick, “To Daffodils.” The carol was first published in Rutter’s collection Carols for Choirs 5 in 1981.
The meaning of “What Sweeter Music”
“What Sweeter Music” is a composition by the English composer John Rutter. It was written in 1984 and is a setting of the poet Robert Herrick’s poem “To Music, to Becalm His Fever”. The work was first performed by the Cambridge Singers and the City of London Sinfonia, conducted by the composer, at St Paul’s Cathedral, London on 25 January 1985.
The piece is in three movements, each setting a different stanza of Herrick’s poem. The first movement is for mixed voices with piano accompaniment; the second is for boy sopranos, men’s voices and piano; and the third is for women’s voices and piano.
The opening line of Herrick’s poem, “What sweeter music can we bring”, is set as a round in the first movement. This provides a starting point for the composition, which explores both the sound and meaning of Herrick’s words.
The reception of “What Sweeter Music”
Rutter’s “What Sweeter Music” has been extremely well-received, both by audiences and by critics. The work has been described as “one of the most popular pieces of choral music written in the last fifty years” (The Guardian) and “a perfect carol” (The Times).
The legacy of “What Sweeter Music”
John Rutter is a contemporary composer who has written numerous pieces of choral music. One of his most well-known works is “What Sweeter Music,” a setting of a poem by Robert Bridges. The piece was written in 1984 and has since become a staple of holiday concerts and choral festivals around the world.
“What Sweeter Music” is a beautiful and evocative piece that captures the spirit of Christmas. The opening line, “What sweeter music could Rutter have written?,” perfectly sums up the feeling of many listeners who have been touched by this work. Rutter’s legacy as a composer will be cemented by this piece, and it will continue to bring joy to generations of singers and listeners for years to come.