Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Something You're Going To Want To Do

On November the 1st and 8th, I'm singing with Chorus London in some pretty fantastic concerts.

The concerts are basically the same actually - or at least the music being sung is the same - Orff's Carmina Burana - you can see the first/last movement here - and Ruth Watson Henderson's Voices of Earth. Both concerts will have Chorus London and the Amadeus Choir and a children's choir, along with orchestra.

On Novemeber 1 the concert happens in London at Centennial Hall. On Novermber 8 the concert happens in Toronto at York Minster Park Baptist Church.

A few of the differences will be: the childrens choirs will be different for each city, and I believe the pianists will be different as well. We were told a few weeks ago that Ruth Watson Henderson herself will be one of the pianists for the Toronto date.

I think these will be very hot concerts - 200 voices, amazing music, orchestra, hmmm yes. I'd never heard all of Carmina Burana before I entered the ensemble and it is one crazy b!tch goddess of a piece of music - the rhythm is crazy at times, it's sung in medieval Latin and German. There are even some yiddish words thrown in for good measure. The translations of the lyrics are pretty crazy too. Some highlights:

"If the world were all mine from the sea up to the Rhine, this I would willingly forgo to have the queen of England lie in my arms."

"Some gamble, some drink, some live without discretion. From those who spend their time in gambling, some are stripped bare, some win clothes, some are dressed in sacks; there no-one fears death, but for the wine they throw dice."

"May God grant, may the gods grant, what I have set myself to do, and that is, to unlock the bonds of her virginity."

Voices of Earth draws its lyrics from the Canticles of the Sun and poetry by Archibald Lampman. One of my favourite parts of singing it is the way the two choirs are written. There are many times when one choir is kind of singing the back up vox for the other choir. Sometimes this means that the lyrics get a little skewed. At one point our choir gets to sing "oo-ooooooo grass." And at another "a pool, a pooool, cool." Or another favourite "with joy for Captain fancy at the helm." I want to meet Capt. Fancy.

The V.O.E (as I've taken to calling it in my head because I don't have anyone to talk to such choral matters about) is something you'll want to take in for a variety of reasons
  1. it's Canadian - the composer and the poetry (Archie L is from Morpeth, ON)
  2. it's rarely performed due to the whole 2 choir, plus childrens choir, plus orchestra/double piano thing
  3. you can't just go out and buy a cd of it - there are no commercial recordings available
  4. it was written in 1991 - which means you can't be sick of it yet
  5. it is a big challenge to sing - from the unfamiliarity with it, to the fact that it changes time signatures about 1,538 times, or the insane rhythms, or maybe the sharp text painting
Basically you need to come to this concert and you have 2 chances to do it. I've linked both choir's websites in the post - and you can get tickets from the 'home' choir for each date. I have a small mitt full of tickets for the London date. Let me know if you want one/some/all/a punch in the face.

Oh, yeah, siiiiigh and one last reason why you may want to come to this concert.... double sigh... this, cough, will... ugh... be (I can do this), my first, siiiiiiiiiigh, concert as... deep breath... a soprano (of the 2nd variety). There, I said it. So you'd better come.

(ps - if you call for tix in London, mention my name - i'm required to sell a certain number)

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