One of this year’s stand-out choral pieces from Galaxy Music is Latvian composer Raimonds Tiguls’ Moonlight Sound Design. Watch the performance by The Wartburg Choir below.
Moonlight Sound Design was commissioned and premiered by the youth choir Kamēr conducted by Māris Sirmais in Riga, Latvia in 2012. Moonlight Sound Design is dedicated to my father who died by way of an accident. The title of the piece is inspired by the fact that the studio I have is in my father’s country house in an attic room, and the night moon shines directly into it. In the USA, it was performed by the Wartburg Choir conducted by Lee Nelson at the 2017 National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association in Minneapolis. Galaxy Music published the piece as part of their Lee Nelson Choral Series.
Moonlight Sound Design is composed for 3 or 4 Soprano Soli, SATB Chorus and Hang* but can be performed with Piano or Guitar accompaniment as well. The piece should not sound sad, but rather ethereal. It is more about longing than sadness. To create a more ethereal mood, the soloists may be staggered throughout the audience, if possible. This will also provide more dimension to the sound. The Bass section should sing the octave E-flat in bars 5–23 and bars 38–56 with a “didgeridoo” effect.
*The Hang (pronunced haŋ in German) is a musical instrument created by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer in Bern, Switzerland. Its name comes from the Bernese-German word for “hand.” The instrument is constructed from two half-shells of deep-drawn, nitrided steel sheets glued together at the rim, leaving the inside hollow, and creating a distinct “UFO” shape. The top (“Ding”) side has a center “note” hammered into it, and seven “tone fields” hammered around the center.