Beyond Saul : a survey and analysis of Egil Hovland's mature choral works

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Weber, Roselyn Marie Hanson

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Egil Hovland is one of Scandavia’s most predominant living composers, having created a massive opus of works that encompasses nearly every genre and performing medium. Yet despite the many contributions he has made to the international community, his name and works remain virtually unknown outside of Scandinavia. For many years, the exposure to Hovland’s works in the United States has unfortunately been very limited. Most choral musicians have long had only one (if any) association with Hovland’s name, that being the 1971 motet, Saul. In recent years, however, a few select mature works by Hovland have been translated into English and performed by a growing number of American choral groups. The objective of this study is to move beyond Saul through the exploration of Hovland’s stylistic evolution, and via a survey of selected mature choral works and an analysis of the Credo, Op. 137, no. 1. While the few extant studies available in English have explored Egil Hovland’s choral music predating 1980, this study focuses on his mature choral works, dating from the late 1970s to the present. The significance of such a study is two-fold: first, Hovland’s later works represent a general departure from his earlier compositional techniques, shifting away from the experimentalism and extreme chromaticism that characterizes much of his earlier opus toward a simpler, generally neoromantic compositional idiom; and second, because of this general shift in character and style, much of his later music is accessible to a wider spectrum of both performers and listeners, and warrants the attention of choral musicians in the United States and internationally.




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