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Eric William Barnum

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This Saturday my choir, the Young New Yorkers' Chorus had the pleasure of premiering new works by three young composers, including Eric William Barnum. Mr. Barnum's work, "Venus' Lament" (all three works were set to texts of Shakespeare, and he chose an excerpt of Venus and Adonis) was by far my favorite of the bunch -- lovely melodies with complex harmonies, and a very appropriate setting of the text.

So many contemporary choir composers these days are all about writing only harmony -- stringing together a bunch of chords that sound unusual and pretty, but never creating a melody. Now that I've learned "Venus' Lament" and gotten to hear snippets of a couple of Mr. Barnum's other works on his website, I'm amazed by his ability to write melody while incorporating unusual and beautiful harmonies.

Unfortunately, I didn't see any place on his site to buy recordings of his compositions, but if you live around Minneapolis/St. Paul, you can see them live. He is composer-in-residence at Kantorei, a chamber choir based in the Twin Cities.

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