Born that I chose is called “Spotless
Born on May 5, 1978 in Norway, Ola Gjeilo is a pianist and composer who now lives in the New York City. Ola grew up in a musical home and often listened to classical, pop, jazz, and rock music; which helped create the wide variety of content that he includes in his pieces. He started playing and writing his own music at the age of five and also learned to read music at a very young age. Gjeilo first attended the Norwegian Academy of Music, and later he transferred to Julliard. He got a bachelor’s degree in composition from the Royal College of Music in London, meanwhile, he was still attending Julliard and was presented with a master’s which was also in composition. Ola Gjeilo’s life and only job is composing, and he currently lived in Manhattan, New York. Gjeilo has many popular choral pieces as well as piano pieces too. He claims that wants people to feel “a sense of honesty” in his music, and bring a happy, uplifting feeling when listening or performing it. The first choral piece that I chose is called “Spotless Rose.” This is the first piece that I listened to of Ola Gjeilo’s, because it was one of the first to pop up on YouTube. When I first heard this piece, I instantly felt shocked. I enjoyed listening to it so much more than I thought I would. I think that it is somewhat of a more simple piece, but I love how all of the voices blend together and make the perfect, beautiful tone. There is a sort of warmth in this song that I really appreciate and I really like the style of it. It is written for SATB and is performed A Capella in the version that I listened to. The resonance and space created in all of their voices is truly stunning and I really appreciate listening to music like this, especially thinking about how much time was put into rehearsing and performing this piece. It can be performed in either English or Norwegian; the version that I heard was performed in Norwegian, which personally, I enjoyed very much. I think that it makes the piece sound so put together. Overall, this is a really beautiful piece of choral music, and I think it was a good first impression of Gjeilo for me. The second choral piece of Ola Gjeilo’s that I listened to is called “Tundra.” I listened to a few versions of this piece, and my favorite was the one performed by the BYU Women’s Chorus. This piece is written for SSAA, so it is an all women’s piece, which I thoroughly enjoy. The lyrics are written in English. Gjeilo first came up with the instrumental part of the piece, including piano and strings. He came up with the title “Tundra,” and his friend named Charles Anthony Silvestri to help write the lyrics. He wanted the song to be based on a place close to his heart- the Hardangervidda mountain plateau, which is in Norway and near where his father was raised. This piece is just simply stunning. The moment I heard the women sing the first note, it immediately sent chills throughout my whole entire body. The sound of the women’s voices incorporated with the gorgeous instrumental background is probably enough to enough to send goosebumps down anyone’s body, maybe even tears. I really feel this piece deeply. And when I look at the words of the piece also while listening to it, I feel it on an even deeper level, because the words are absolutely beautiful. I have never listened to a piece and thought, wow, I could probably listen to this piece over and over again. And I definitely did. I listened to it about five times straight, and another five times later. The ladies’ voices, the instrumental background, and the words all went together so well, and I can honestly say that this is definitely one of my new favorite musical pieces. The last piece of Ola Gjeilo’s that I listened to is “Ubi Caritas.” This is an A Capella choral piece that is relatively slow, but has a good meaning. The song is written and performed in Latin. When I looked at the translation to the song, I noticed the English meaning of the words and I thought it was amazing. The piece is about how God is where love is, and how we rejoice Him. I really think that this meaning of the song is super cool. “Ubi Caritas” started originally as an older piece by Maurice Durufle. It was the first piece that Gjeilo and his choir class in Norway looked at and performed, so it has a sentimental meaning to him. Gjeilo later decided to make a new piece like the old one, but adding his own content to it. Once again, this is another gorgeous choral piece by Gjeilo. The flow and blend of the voices is so soothing to the soul and mind, and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this piece; of course, over and over again just like the other ones. Going into researching more and listening to Gjeilo’s music, I did not really think anything of it. Little did I know, I completely fell in love with his music. It is just the type of music that I love- delicate, slow, yet so very meaningful. It was so easy for me to just get lost into the music, which is not something I often do. I listened to it, closed my eyes, and really felt it on a deeper level than I would have expected. Gjeilo really knows how to compose music that is heartfelt and simply stunning to listen to. My favorite piece was the “Tundra” SSAA piece, and I honestly cannot stop listening to it. It is gorgeous. Gjeilo’s music really makes me want to live in the moment. It makes me want to pause, reflect on everything, and enjoy what I have in my life. There is nothing specific that says to “live in the moment,” but that is the message I feel from his pieces. I did not get the chance to contact him, but I wish I would have. His pieces are truly incredible.