Notes for a reappraisal of the role of a cappella choir composition

marco Uvietta
Dipartimento di Lettere e Filosofia dell’Università di Trento


This contribution is an invitation to discuss the theme of contemporary choral composition. In recent decades the author has noticed a remarkable loss of interest in applying the languages of complexity to the choir, in particular the a cappella choir. Simplified languages have developed instead, which take the idiomatic aspects of the choir as insurmountable limits. Against this background, neo-tonal and neo-modal solutions have found fertile ground and, instead of offering themselves as a palette of possible solutions, have claimed to represent the “new” thing that would replace the avant-garde. Therefore, the territory between these two options has remained largely unfathomed: in short, what has been lacking is a process of assimilation of complexity that would make innovations mainly intended for instruments available to voices as well. In the last three decades this has led to a divergence between an atypical-instrumental treatment of voices (with a prevalence of solo ensembles) and an idiomatic-choral attitude (dominated by the history, repertoire and writings for choir of the past). The author hopes for a new experimental phase, a search for possible solutions to develop models that can adequately balance the two approaches.

Full text