Sunday, June 28, 2009

Here's Dave and daughter helping us represent at I Madonnari this year

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

May 09 review

After the burn, a choral afterglow : After postponing its season closer, due to Jesusita Fire, Quire of Voyces masters its make-up date

June 3, 2009 7:34 AM

Picking up where it was forced to leave off, Quire of Voyces capped its season Sunday afternoon in a beautiful, resolving fashion at St. Anthony's Seminary chapel. Originally scheduled a few weekends back, this rich concert program was one of several cultural events in town cancelled or postponed because of the Jesusita Fire.

Under the circumstances, the performance gained a certain ceremonial air, something akin to a resilient afterglow from the burn. An assemblage of candles in the performance area took on a perhaps unexpected symbolism.

Sunday's program proved to be a neat balance of material. All-important nods to the English Renaissance mastery of William Byrd and Thomas Tallis -- a specialty of this group -- mixed with the early 20th century British stuff of Ralph Vaughan Williams' 1922 "O vos omnes" and composer-organist William Henry Harris' choral maze "Faire is the heaven" to close the concert.

Not incidentally, the group performed three pieces by living composers, including John Tavener, Irish choral figure Michael McGlynn and the Quire's composer-in-residence, Michael Eglin, via a world premiere of "Five Songs of William Blake."

In a sense, Mr. Eglin's new piece was the de facto centerpiece. While leaning toward traditional musical vocabulary in these song settings, Mr. Eglin cues off the delicate mixture of mysticism and earthiness in Blake's writing.

Handsome features rise from the overall structure of his songs. "Hear the voice of the Bard" pares down to a slow, mournful final verse, and "Cradle Song" is a lullaby-like passage of sweetness amid darker turns in other songs. On the final song, "Night," Mr. Eglin's writing evolves with each new stanza and poetic sentiment. Led with typical boldness and subtlety by director Nathan Kreitzer, the choir put forth a luminous first performance of Mr. Eglin's ambitious creation.

Tavener, the British composer famed for his inspired melding of ancient choral tradition and modern, quasi-minimalist styles, supplied the concert's opener, the 1985 "Hymn to the Mother of God," written in memory of his late mother. The brief, beguiling piece involves a slightly mind-altering effect, with a simple hymn set into a polytonal drift by setting groups of singers out of phase with each other.

Further intrigue entered the picture in the works "Lux aeterna" and "The Road of Passage," by Mr. McGlynn, whose claims to fame include the populist "River Dance" and also more serious efforts in the choral music world. This music came from the latter region of his musical life, although he often finds ways to incorporate Irish folk music qualities and new age-ish flavors into his music.

Mr. McGlynn also shows an obvious fascination with pure sonic splendor in the unique forum of choral music, spinning out haunting chords and voice blends that enchant on their own terms, regardless of the compositional housing.

From a local's standpoint, those ethereal choral effects seemed to gain extra expressivity in this inspired and resonant chapel setting, flecked by candlelight in a city thankful the latest fire's ravages weren't any worse.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

NCCO new choral journal

The National Collegiate Choral Organization is pleased to announce that the inaugural issue of its online journal, The Choral Scholar, is now ready for you to access at

Volume 1, number 1 includes the following articles:
"Performing Bach: One or Many?" by Robin Leaver
"A Boy Was Born: An Examination of the Stylistic Influences on the Young Benjamin Britten" by Stephen Sieck
"Voice Science in the Choral Rehearsal: Examining Glottal Onset" by Duane Cottrell
"We Have Something Really Going Between Us Now: Columbia Records' Influence on the Repertoire of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, 1949-1992" by Mark D. Porcaro.

There are also forums for reader feedback. We also welcome article submissions according to the guidelines on the website.

David Schildkret
Founding Editor
thanks for the photo, Ann, even got the BVM in there

Monday, March 16, 2009

I loved the opportunity to sing and prepare for the Howells and the Martin. As a theater director, I'd find certain plays, not many, but a few, that, no matter how long you rehearsed them, seemed to still have more to the miracle of the loaves and fishes or some endlessly replenishing spring of clear, fresh water, the possibilities grew more plentiful the more you worked. The Martin, for me, was that. Once I kinda sorta had the music, I had only begun the journey latent in that amazing piece. I feel almost guilty for having only gone thus far and no further. Sunday it worked. Irridescent haired Lance and I hugged right after we finished. Temmo smiled. But I could easily linger longer with the Frank Martin Mass.

Monday, March 2, 2009

QV England Tour

hi all, this blog is for qv singers, to post musings, pics, whatever for their fellow singers. It was Sarah's idea, and I think a good one....