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Vancouver Chamber Choir concert program will delight and inspire

by on February 29, 2012

In anticipation of the Vancouver Chamber Choir’s performance on March 1st, The Fredericton Playhouse asked Dr. Willis Noble to share his knowledge of the pieces that will be performed on Thursday night.

Dr. Willis Noble is a Professor of Music, St Thomas University, and Organist and Choirmaster at Christ Church Cathedral, Fredericton, NB.

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As a programme starter the English madrigal As Vesta was from Latmos Hill descending has the listener and the performers ascending and descending musical hills. The work, in six voices, portrays Vesta, Roman goddess of the hearth, and her attendants in an encounter with the maiden queen (Queen Elizabeth I/Oriana) on a mythical hill. In a similar vein the English composer, theorist, editor and organist Thomas Morley writes the madrigal Arise, Awake using explosive and colourful melodies and rhythms.

Gabrieli’s Magnificat, for three choruses, simply spills over with a stunning blend of voices weaving in and out of the music. This is Italian Renaissance splendour at its best. The motet Komm, Jesu, Komm is perhaps one of Bach’s best loved choral pieces, owing to the transparency of its structure, in which each line of the text is set to music of a different character expressive of the meaning of the text. The choir is separated but the unity of thought and feeling is beautiful and graceful.

Sir John Tavener (born 28 January 1944) is a British composer, best known for such religious works as his short unaccompanied four-part choral setting of William Blake’s The Lamb. The work was written for his nephew Simon in one afternoon in 1982. It is now often performed as a Christmas carol.

For his A Medieval Bestiary, Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer has paraphrased a selection of texts from the 12th century Latin prose “bestiary” transcribed by Terence Hanbury White. Schafer has long been a committed environmentalist and educator, whose many eclectic interests are reflected in his music—combining a wealth of techniques from traditional harmony to serialism and Sprechstimme. Schafer provides us with a bit of the scientific prose and its related moralization in this work, where it is hard not to smile at White’s fantastical treatment of the original text. As White affirms at the close of the volume he transcribed: “It was a seventeenth-century student of the Bestiaries who said: ‘as dutiful children let us cover the Nakedness of our Fathers with the Cloke of a favourable Interpretation’ and this is all that I have tried to do.”

Since 2008 the choral conductor and composer Robert Ingari has been an assistant professor of music at L’Université de Sherbrooke. As a composer, Ingari has written choral works of varying styles and difficulties for unaccompanied voices and for choir and instrumental accompaniment including keyboard, marimba, string orchestra and chamber orchestra. The Deux Chansons de Paul Verlaine, like his other choral works, are praised for their lyricism, rich sonorities and expressive power.

Jon Washburn’s musical experience is wide-ranging and eclectic, reflected in tonight’s program. He has had many compositions published, performed and recorded around the world. Each year he conducts more than 50 concerts, broadcasts and CD performances of twenty separate repertories. He brings his wide international experience into the writing of Dona Nobis Pacem.

Composer and choral director Electo Silva is one the most outstanding defenders of the Cuban essence in his compositional style and musical interpretations. He is director of the famous chorus Orfeón Santiago. His book “30 Canciones Cubanas” has received much critical acclaim. Audiences enjoy his Timba rhythm found in his Cuban Songs.

The British choral conductor, organist, and composer Sir David Willcocks needs no introduction. His musical arrangements of Christmas carols are sung throughout the world. Less familiar are his folksong arrangements. His repertoire ranges from England’s Tutor era to 20th century composers such as Ralph Vaughan Williams. And it is the style of Vaughan Williams that Willcocks adopts in these charming Five Folksongs. Willcock’s deep love for English folksong is felt in every bar of this singable music.

Tickets for Vancouver Chamber Choir are still available at the Fredericton Playhouse box office 1-866-884-5800, or online at www.theplayhouse.ca.

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