Voicing Mixed Voices
Without Churchill’s gifts of oratory, would the Allies have prevailed in World War Two? His speeches resonate these many decades later. This choral work, Finest hour, takes its music very explicitly from Churchill’s own composition – the melody and rhythm contained within his spoken intonation. The choir simply reproduces this melody and frames it in harmony, enhancing perception of what is already there though perhaps unnoticed. It is hoped that the music also heightens the emotions of this stirring speech.
The conductor listens to a click track through earphones (it’s preferable that these are worn discreetly, and should be either in-ear earbuds or, ideally, bone conduction headphones where available, as these leave the ear free to listen). The work may be performed with video or audio; in both cases, the audio track contains the click track on the left channel and the speech on the right channel. The left channel should be sent only to the conductor’s headphones, and the right channel to front-of-house loudspeakers. It’s possible to perform the piece with a very simple speaker setup, such as using a single speaker placed amongst the singers.