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Wienhorst: Sacred Music
]Click here to buy Wienhorst: Sacred
Music from Amazon now. -- Richard Wienhorst's sacred music has a very
contemporary, almost scary, yet inspiring sound. Richard was a weekend
band musican, who sobered* up and decided to study music theory and composition.
The "wicked" syncopations and dissonant harmonies he uses may well come
in part from his early band musician years.
Wierhost came to love church music and later went on to become the chief
instructor of musical composition at Valparaiso University. Although he
sometimes forgot to shave, he was otherwise quite well prepared for his
lectures and did a great job of introducting other wierd composers (besides
himself) such as Karlheinz Stochausen. -- His setting of the Seven Last
Words of Christ is quite popular in colleges and universities, but it
too difficult for the average church choir. Wienhorst has said that his
style is drawn from harmonies used by composers of the middle ages.
That may be true, but for sure, he introduces new elements, such as more
elaborate syncopations and dissonances
and sometimes strange endings, like, for example ending a movement on
an "added 6th chord in the Eli section of the Seven Last Words.
(The Seventh Word) "I kept trying to find another way, another chord to
cadence on," he said quietly with a strong Midwest accent, "but the
music just kept coming back to that chord -- the soprano line just kept
coming back, insisting that it wanted to end on the 6th. There was no
other way for me to end it." Wienhorst often likes to end a tune on a
perfect 5th -- in the style of a lot of ancient music. Wienhost rarely
cadences, or even uses a major triad. A perfect 5th (especially when sung)
has a strange purity about it, perhaps because it fits so nicely into
the overtone series.
Beause of his heavy use of 4ths, 5ths, and major seconds, some critics
think his music has an Asian influence. "It's really funny," he said once,
"...funny to read what musical theorists say about your music. The way
they interprete it, the chord you use and so on. Often, I was not thinking
in those musical terms at all when I was composing that music." "As a
composer, you've got to keep growing," he once said informally to a group
of music majors, while leaning on a bannister is the music building. "When
you listen to music you wrote a year ago, you shouldn't really like it
very much any more. Otherwise, that's a sign you're not growing and maturing
as a composer."
NOTES:"sobered up " -- don't take me too seriously
here. This meant as a friendly jibe at Professor Wienhorst.
out Wienhorst's "scary" but inspiring Sacred music at Amazon.
To learn more about music see also