HomeHear the Weird, Lovely A Cappella Suite That Won the Pulitzer Prize for Music

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The 97th annual class of Pulitzer Prize winners was announced late yesterday, and the Pulitzer Prize for Music has been awarded to a composition for unaccompanied voices for what appears to be, according to a Pulitzer spokesperson, the first time in the its 70-year history. Caroline Shaw's winning work Partita for 8 Voices is, well... tough to characterize—maybe the best way to describe it would be "music as we know it, and then some."

In its four movements—"Allemande," "Sarabande," "Courante," and "Passacaglia," named for Baroque dances—the partita combines rich, closely stacked harmonies with elements of spoken narration and atonal vocalization patterns like whispers, grunts, croaks, sighs, and gasps. (A heads-up about the vaguely NSFW third movement: Even though Shaw's melodies don't have lyrics, keep some headphones handy if you're cubicle-bound!)

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