CONSIDERING THE MARKET FOR CHORAL MUSIC
Cypress Choral Music seeks choral music that is 1) well written, 2) relevant and 3) marketable.
We wish that Cypress could guarantee sales of a composition. Alas, we have music in the catalogue that has never sold a single copy – even though the music is well-crafted – and even though it continues to be presented in the same attractive way as all selections in the catalogue. When that happens the company loses money and the composer feels disappointed/disillusioned. On the other hand, one of our Cypress pieces has sold over 200,000 copies. In effect, music that sells well gives us leeway to publish music that is less marketable. Cypress usually gives a future prognosis to the composer – a reality check – during the publishing process. Big sales are certainly not the bottom line for us but we need to stay in business for the sake of all our composers.
Maestro Jon Washburn (Vancouver Chamber Choir director) once commented that Mozart’s “Ave Verum Corpus” is among the most exquisite/perfect motets ever written. Over 230 years later the piece is performed continually by the best choirs but also by high school and community choirs. Intuitive voice leading, sweet spot vocal registers, ABA form, a memorable melody, SATB without divisi – all of these factors make the composition approachable for the wide spectrum of choirs around the world. Such craft takes great skill. A piece doesn’t need to be “difficult” to be a masterpiece.
Please study the choral music pie chart below. Where does your music fit into the spectrum? Here are a few thoughts:
Note: Cypress is happy to take a chance on formidable music if it is well written with intuitive voice leading, relevant subject matter and is “convincing”. We’ve seen music “take off” after years of languishing – so we are always hopeful. Serendipity – the right place at the right time with a special performance – can make a big difference to any composition. For example, this performance of Katerina Gimon’s “Fire” at a National ACDA Convention generated much attention and many sales. (see here)