Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Composers have to make a living: this affects both "Christian" and new secular classical music

There’s been some attention to the “low brow” nature of some Christian music, as in a July 14 article in the Washington Post by Brant Hansen, “I’m a Christian radio host: our music isn’t high art, but it’s just what people want .”  I’ve never liked the idea of holding hands in a crowd and singing the same melody over and over again, even as I pay attention to the way stanzas of church hymns are constructed in my own composition.

A LTE today gives "another reason contemporary Christian music seems clichéd and overproduced".  That is, composers and song writers get royalties (especially after a legal settlement in the late 1980s) and have to feed families (especially in Christian-Land).  Complexed, nuanced harmonies and rhythms aren’t singable by average congregations. It sounds like a very Timo-esque point (maybe from both Timo’s).

Classical composers have to get commissions to earn a living, which may explain why a lot of classical music today seems clever and uses ordinary objects in novel ways.  There seems to live a certain parallel with the Christian music world.

I do recall when I attended MCC Dallas in the 1980s, that Danny Ray, who attended and lived in my condo complex for a while, was recognized as the composer of a number of standard hymns. My all time favorite is Dallas-composer Jane Marshall’s “Our Eternal King”. Above is a performance in Abilene, TX.

Another link, for a performance by the First Baptist Church in Dallas (Criswell's church in the 80s).

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