Koojealion wrote:Are you saying that OTB is more innovative than the King's Singers?
If he's not, I'll do it.
The King's Singers are very talented. That is not the same thing as being innovative, especially by the standards of, as you have said, "modern a cappella". They are very, very good at what they do. It's just that innovation is not a particularly significant component of their M.O. They sing music that is centuries old. They sing choral scores by contemporary writers. They sing pop music in a style reminiscent of college groups a half century ago branching out from Broadway standards to the Beatles for the first time. They do all of this brilliantly. None of it is groundbreaking. (This includes the new works they commission, which may or may not be innovative on the parts of their respective composers, but can't rightly be considered innovative on the part of the ensemble.)
As far as them being "the originators of the modern a cappella style": for all their talents, the LAST thing their style accurately can be called is "modern a cappella". There's no shame in that. They're hardly trying to be the Jacks or the Harmonics, and when you've been around as long as the King's Singers, you certainly don't have any obligation to bend to the latest vogues in production/arranging/general style. But at the same time, it's inaccurate to label their work "modern" in a genre that has already put nearly a decade behind it since Kickshaw and spiralmouth.
There may have been a time when the King's Singers were, indeed, breaking new ground in what was at that time "modern a cappella". This is not that time. Being innovative in one decade does not guarantee the same status in decades to come, and I think it's safe to say that not a few others have evolved more quickly than the King's Singers in terms of staying "ahead of the curve" (or at least contemporaneous with it). And perhaps that's the real issue - not so much whether one group or another is breaking new ground in the present day (certainly both have in the past), but which group better illustrates the "cutting edge", if you will, in a cappella. In this case, I don't think there's much argument but that it's OTB.
In a nutshell: labeling the King's Singers as less innovative than others in today's a cappella is not necessarily pejorative - I'd contend that it's an accurate description of a group that has earned the latitude to keep doing things the way it has done for forty years, with little modification but much success.
Lead Arranger, Peter Hollens Productions
Ball in the House
Music Director, UWEC Fifth Element