German motets are my favorite choral genre (Natalie just snorted with laughter) and I was so excited to see a piece by Schubert on this year’s audition list. Franz Schubert only lived to be 31, but his composition output was vast and diverse including over 600 lieder (german art songs) 150 choral works, as well as many symphonies, piano compositions and masses. Let’s look into what is in the score:
Schubert is categorized as a composer of the late classical/early romantic era. The dissonant harmonies of the middle section and drastic contrasts in dynamics bring out Schubert’s romanticism. It is important in this style to show lots of contrast in dynamics and show your awareness of changes in tonality by “leaning into” dissonances. Unlike in this year’s earlier compositions, it is likely that Schubert himself indicated these dynamics. There are so many great opportunities to show your dynamics, including many crescendo/descrescendos indicated on sustained notes. Make sure that you do not begin these figures too loudly, otherwise you might find yourself scream-singing!
This piece is one where you might choose to color code your dynamics, as they change so frequently! Assign a different color to each dynamic marking, and you will soon find you will not miss a dynamic change. At one moment you are forte and the next pianissimo.