Sarah Riskind

Choral conductor and composer

Muusika (Uusberg)

Every choral director must have some favorite pieces they keep coming back to, some new composers they’ve discovered, and some works their choirs had a lot of success with! I’m going to reach out to some conductors and ask them to tell me about a piece we should all know about. Sometimes those publisher websites and repertoire lists can be so overwhelming that you don’t know where to start…

I will do the first one myself. Estonian composer Pärt Uusberg’s Muusika  is a work you need to know. “It must be somewhere, the original harmony…” Read the poem here

Voicing: SATB div. a cappella

Why do singers like it?
Lush cascading harmonies and rich divisi

What is meaningful about it?
In addition to the gorgeous text about music, it is a great way to introduce singers to the amazing history of Estonian choral music and the Singing Revolution

What is challenging about it?
Changing time signatures with a constant eighth-note (but the tempo is not fast) and Estonian language

What is easy about it?
It is completely diatonic in G Major. You can teach it quickly with sol-fa

Where did I perform it?
I conducted it with the Walden School Young Musicians Program chorus, a group of 60 young composers ages 10-18 and about 25 faculty and staff. I also sang it with the University of Washington Chamber Singers under the direction of Dr. Geoffrey Boers.

Where can you order it?
JW Pepper sells it