Craig Yale to pursue his Doctorate. Johnson also

Craig Morris Johnson was born on born June 15, 1962 born in Crow Wing County Minnesota . His parents were Morris Melvin Johnson and Marjorie Kathryn Johnson. Johnson also has a few siblings including the sister that also changed her middle name to Hella in order to honor the village in Norway that their family originated from. Growing up Craig was always considered to be musically inclined. He learned piano at a young age and developed a passion for music and the arts. Johnson decided that he wanted to pursue music as a full time career and attended St. Olaf College in Minnesota where he studied piano and sang in the choir. He graduated from St. Olaf in 1984 and decided that he wanted to further his education and study at Julliard and The University of Illinois. After he achieved his Masters in Musical Arts he went to Yale to pursue his Doctorate. Johnson also is a recipient of National Arts Fellowship and because of this high honor he was able to study with Helmuth Rilling at the International Bach Academy in Stuttgart, Germany. Johnson has taught chorus at the University of Texas for eight years and is currently the Resident Artist in Choral Music at Texas State University. Aside from teaching Johnson is a composer and has received several awards for his work. From local awards such as being the 2013 Texas State Musician to national awards like the Grammy he won for his classical composition. Johnson has composed and arranged hundreds of pieces throughout his career. He is still composing and arranging songs in Texas, where he currently resides. The first piece I choose to write about was The Motherless Child. The song Motherless Child was a different pick for me. The song is in English, and it tells a story about being a long way from home; weather it be a forgotten friend or a motherless child. The song also repeats “sometimes I feel like a”. This phrase gives the audience a bit more to the storyline of the song. In the story even though they feel this despair there is a string of hope knowing that it is only sometimes that they feel this way. The tune of the song was very appealing  to me.  Overall the song had a slow, sad feel to it. This leads me to believe that it was sung in a minor key.  It was done acapella;  there were lots of transitions throughout the song.  It starts as the whole group just singing chords, then it transitions to one singer.  Then it moves into the whole choir singing; after that the song goes crazy.  Everyone is singing while two people are singing in an opera style over the other voices. This song has many different arrangements, and is sung by many different groups. The song overall is very powerful, and left me with goosebumps. Sheet Music (SATB w/ Solo) Video Link  The second piece by Johnson that I chose was Let the River Run. I chose this song because it was familiar to me because we sang it for concert choir my Freshman year.  What I really enjoyed about this arrangement was the drums.  It gave a very upbeat feel.  You can just feel the joy in the song as it repeats “Let the River Run”!  I think the main part to take away from this song is how when all of the notes come together it just makes glorious chords. Throughout the song the parts aren’t distinctly split up.  There isn’t much of just guys, and just girls.  It was mainly everyone, and I loved that.  It almost added a Gospel feel to the song.  I enjoyed reviewing this song because it just leaves me with a smile on my face.Sheet Music (SATB) Video Link final piece that I chose was Requiem. The main reason I chose this song was due to the fact that we’re singing it this year. This song is once again in English and tells a story of people asking the Virgin Mary for help after a disaster. Johnson arranged this after Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans and surrounding areas. Hearing this piece is a way different experience for me than it is singing it. When I heard this recording I felt more emotional about what message was being conveyed by the words than I do when we are singing them in choir. The one phrase that sticks out to me when singing and when listening is; “In the dark night of the soul bring some comfort to us all.” This part of the song is so powerful because of the amount of crescendo that happens during the phrase, then to be released in the next phrase. The piano that accompanies this piece moves very elegantly and steadily throughout the piece. The piece is written in a minor key which provides it with a dark undertone that makes the piece come across as sad and emotional.   Sheet Music (SATB) Video Link researching Craig Hella Johnson I found that I really enjoy his work, even though the songs that I chose range in tone and meanings. I would say that Requiem is my favorite song of Johnson’s that I have heard. Even though that song might be my favorite, everyone will take something different away from each song, weather it me the words or even the tune.  I think that the songs can apply to one’s life as people go through different stages in their life. His music has something for everyone.  When anyone is listening to his songs they can be sure to have they repertoire expanded, and there love for music as well.


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