Critique “Let There Be Peace on Earth”

This blog post is a critique of this performance of “Let There Be Peace on Earth” by Craig Courtney.  Please listen to this performance and choose three of the following criteria to comment on; Tone, Intonation, Musicality, Diction, Accuracy, Balance, Blend, Presentation.

This assignment is due on Tuesday November 12th, at 11:59 pm.  It is worth 15 points and you may earn 2 bonus points for each classmate’s comment that you comment on for a maximum total of 6 bonus points.  The link to the grading rubric and a document explaining the criteria can be found here.

Love y’all more than Starbucks red cups

Mrs. R.

5 thoughts on “Critique “Let There Be Peace on Earth”

  1. I most enjoyed the balance offered by the choir. I could clearly point out each section’s part, and there was a masterful combination when the piece split, meaning that they had an even dynamic marking across each section (soprano/alto). Moreover, I loved the balance between the accompanists and the voices. Not one overpowered the other so that each could do their job properly without the distraction of dynamics. Finally, I found that the sopranos challenged the very high pitches and supported them with adequate air so that it was clean and beautiful.
    At the very opening of the piece, the choir is intended to be a beautiful unison that sounds like one voice. I, unfortunately, feel as if this was not entirely executed, for there was a lack of intonation, and thus the blending had not the resonating wave but a dissonance. Many of these voices just needed to alter their vowels to prevent the flat pitch. What is more, I did not like the way that they faded into their cut-offs for several- two examples are at 1:48 and 2:00. This may just be more of a personal preference, but I wanted them to release more directly instead of trailing off. Some may argue that this added to their stylistic delivery, but I perceived it more like inattention or laziness by the choir members. One final issue was the regularity of their breathing. Today we talked about not breathing after the dotted half note because it did not mark the end of the phrase. They should only either sneak a breath where it will not create so much space that you are changing the note value entirely or breathe when the phrase is done (indicated by commas/periods/rests). Here it sounds like this:
    To take each moment (breath) and live each moment (breath) in peace eternally
    There should be one long phrase with a breath at the end so it does not sound fragmented.

  2. Accuracy: At the beginning of the song, the choir was a bit ahead of the piano, which made it sound off. I am not sure if the conductor started them late or if the choir members messed up, but they were definitely not on tempo at first.
    Blend: While listening, I could hear many individual voices sticking out. I think this would be solved if the members of the choir simply listened for one another’s voices.
    Presentation: Many of the choir members appeared to be rocking back and forth while others were standing completely still, which was really distracting. Additionally, the choir just looked very bored and it was clear that they were not passionate about this piece.
    Overall, I think this choir did a good job, but they have a lot of things they could improve on.

  3. Overall, this piece sounded immature and forced. The accuracy of the music was present, but the intonation and diction areas were lacking. Transitions used sliding unnecessarily which gave the piece an immature feel. The blend of the group was off, it felt that the song was very top heavy. The top sections of the piece were very forced and did not blend out with the rest of the group. The sopranos were strained and completely overpowered the altos through the song. The diction seemed off and it was difficult to understand some of the words if the listener was not familiar with the piece. While the musicality and accuracy was technically correct, to me this piece was not pleasing and as a listener seemed forced and difficult for the performers. In general this presentation was accurate but seemingly sloppy. The top heavy sections could be worked on, the blend of the piece could be balanced and intonation and diction could be more strictly enforced.

  4. I enjoyed this piece, but I believe there are more negatives than there are positives. In the beginning, the blending of the singers were not accurate. Many voices stand out at the start of the song, when everyone should be in unison. However, I really enjoyed the balance of each part. Although I thought each section did a good job of maintaining the correct volume throughout the piece, the first sopranos overpowered the altos (at 1:13) and scooped while trying to reach the high note, especially on the word “be.” At one minute and twenty seconds, the singers did a great job of blending when they were in unison. At the words “begin” and “me,” the choir tended to get a little pitchy because of the vowels for those words. At three minutes and thirty four seconds, the altos did a great job on accuracy and blending in their section. Throughout the performance, many of the singers swayed side to side in different directions, while other singers remained still. I believe the presentation would have looked cleaner if they swayed together or if the singers did not sway at all, but let their emotion drive their movements.

  5. I thought that this piece was performed well, but had many weaknesses. I believed that this piece was accurate in dynamics, rhythm and pitch; however, the intonation was very immature and quite off. This is very evident when they sang “begin” in the first verse. The blend of parts was good toward the middle of the song and filled the room with sound. I felt that due to the childish sound the choir produced, the piece was not performed as well as possible. Throughout the song, the energy level was appropriate, and made the piece enjoyable to listen to. I agree with many posts before me that the movement of the choir as a whole was sporadic and not uniform. This took away from the music and distracted from the peace that the song was intended to bring. Conversely, I felt that the instruments added to the piece was pleasant and did not take away from the choir. Overall, the performance was mediocre with some highlights.

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