Friday, January 24, 2014

A Sacred Music Composition Contest - Held by the Suspicious Cheese Lords

We recently had occasion to mention the ensemble Suspicious Cheese Lords, and explain their peculiar name, à propos of a Mass celebrated in the E.F. at Our Lady of Grace in Greensboro, North Carolina on January 12th. Their specialty is rare and unrecorded music, including works by lesser known composers. To the Cheese Lords goes the honor of having made the first ever recording of Palestrina’s Mass O admirabile commercium; both they and the pastor of Our Lady of Grace, Fr. Eric Kowalski, are to be congratulated for bringing such a work out of the recording studio and into its proper home, the Church.

On their website, the SCL have announced an initiative which I hope will meet with a great response, a contest for new compositions of sacred music. The terms of the contest are given below, (with my emphases for the most salient points,) and of course also listed on their website, under the button labelled “composition contest.” NLM is very glad to help the Cheese Lords promote this initiative, and we are very much looking forward to reporting on the results when the contest is over. I would strongly encourage other bloggers to spread the word about this, especially those who write about liturgy and music. Likewise, if any of our readers know musicians who might be interested, please pass this information to them.

1) This contest is limited to residents of the United States and Canada not older than 35 at the time of entry submission.
2) Only one work per composer will be accepted.
3) Entries are to be scored for a cappella men’s choir, including male altos (the comfortable range of our male altos extends to the D a major ninth above middle C). Composers are encouraged to not exceed more than six independent lines, whether solo or ensemble parts, for any significant length of time. Applicants may set texts from the book of Psalms or Proverbs. The choice of language and/or translation is left to the discretion of the applicant. Entries must be ten minutes or less in length.
4) Compositions must be received not later than 5:00 PM, Aug 1, 2014.
5) Entries may be submitted either electronically or through regular mail. Applicants who wish to submit electronically must e-mail a completed application form and a pdf file of their entry composition to Applicants who wish to submit their application by mail must send a completed application and four (4) clearly reproduced copies of their entry compositions to: SCL Competition Contest, 1236 Euclid St NW, Washington, DC 20009. Non-readable copies or pdfs will be eliminated from the contest and the composer so notified.
6) Application materials will not be returned. Applicants who choose to mail their application are strongly urged to retain a copy of their entry for their own reference.
7) The composer’s name must not appear on their entry composition. A pseudonym shall be clearly printed on the manuscript and on the Application Form. Compositions are to remain anonymous to the judges.
8) Suspicious Cheese Lords claims the right for first performance of the entry submission; therefore, compositions must be works that have never before been performed in public, outside of a studio or classroom in an academic forum or workshop setting. Entries may have been previously submitted in other contests, providing that no part of the composition has been a prize-winning entry as of the date of submission.
9) Performance of the prize-winning piece is offered during the 2014-2015 season; however, Suspicious Cheese Lords reserves the right to award the prize without performance, as well as the right to perform more than one prizewinning entry. It also reserves the right to make no award, if, in the opinion of the judges, the compositions submitted to not meet standards of excellence.
10) This competition is not open to current or former members of the Suspicious Cheese Lords, or their immediate relations.

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