Every Concert Is A Surprise Party

Hearing my music performed live is surreal.
Kind of like a birthday party. But with less cake.

From my vantage-point in the audience, I’m a little nervous – but without the anxiety that can come with performing. It’s more like excitement, because all the effort – writing confusing sketches, shaping those sketches into a draft, editing those drafts into something clear, and handing over the score to someone who will interpret and practice and lead others in their practicing and interpreting – is finally going to materialize in the open air.

And who knows what will happen then??

De Profundis sketch
Pretty clear, right? An early sketch of De Profundis.

Surprise Party

The strangest moment of the concert happens to me after the piece is over. After that little moment of silence, when my adrenaline is in full force, and the applause begins. The conductor steps aside during the applause, and then points to me, “David Archer (1985 – )”, which is how I’m known in the program. Because to be alive and also present at a classical music concert is a rare feat for a composer. It’s worth a remark.

Then there is some creaky shifting in pews as the audience looks around to see who they are now clapping for. It’s the guy who’s stood up to clap back at the choir from the middle of the hall to say thank you. Some people are startled to be sitting next to him.

It always feels like a surprise party, but in reverse. Because I’m the surpriser. It’s so sneaky, and it works every time.

Recent Concerts

I got to attend two important concerts recently in Vancouver:

De Profundis (Out of the depths…)

On March 21, Oculus Chamber Choir (Ben Ewert, director) sang the premiere of De Profundis, a setting of Psalm 130/129 in English and Latin. This was a gorgeous concert of choral laments, with sacred music dating back to the 16th Century. To lament is to be human.

De Profundis Premiere 10422252_1813989085493224_108358199603226174_n


And then on March 29, Brian Wismath led a quartet presented by Vox Humana (the amazing Kirsten Birley, Stephanie Sartore, Carman J. Price, and Stephen Bélanger) in The Little Match Girl Passion. Compassio served as a prelude to the longer work. This extremely skilled group of singers gave a moving performance of my piece for choir, singing one on a part. It was a privilege to hear this!

Compassio March 2015IMG_5290

Scores and info about these two pieces are available here:
De Profundis
More choral music

Read more about the choirs here:
Oculus Chamber Choir
Vox Humana Chamber Choir

Thanks for reading the blog. Next time I’ll share a new recording with you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *