Songs of Magic & Mystery
Members of the choir and audience always have a great time at our Hallowe'en concerts as we are able to serve up some unusual music. For me, one of the highlights had to be Earle Peach's setting of "Song of Amergin" - a poem by Robert Graves imagining the words chanted by the Druidic leader of the Milesians upon first arrival in Ireland. Another was Thomas Weelkes' "Thule, the Period of Cosmographie" in which the composer compares his love for the one of his current dreams with the strange stories brought home by voyaging explorers and "Anadalusian Merchants." Flying fishes and the burning volcano "Fogo" and other wonders apparently had nothing on the improbability of his own love's fulfillment!
The choir enjoys the time involved in the setup that gives the concerts their seasonal feel; Trinity - St. Marks is a great performance space for a small choir with high ceilings and lots of hard surfaces.
Congratulations are due to Nathan Zadworny, our tenor lead, who was a convincingly conspiritorial witch in the "Dido & Aeneas" excerpt. The choir was also given an "assist" by Ingrid Andre and a transparently concealed "echo" chorus. Thanks to Ingrid who substituted at the last sight-reading moment for a laryngeally afflicted Carolyn Burak, the soprano section leader. The two soloists returned later in the programme together with Peter Alexander (bass) and Fran Dietz (alto) for a quartet rendering of "I am stretched on your grave" - was this a trick or a treat? (er, the concept, not the performance!!)
More music from Earle Peach ("She Moved through the Fair" and "Praise to the Moon") and David Millard bestowed originality on the concert. The latter provided "The Green Lady" - a Somerset ditty about the fate of a murderous tree-spirit, and his beautiful setting of the Cymberline sourced words "Fear No More the Heat o' the Sun"
The choir was delighted to welcome Earle himself back into our ranks for this concert, where his expert commentary (to say nothing of his "perfect peach") helped the group to an in-tune, musically satisfying, and thoroughly entertaining evening for singers and audience (I am assured) alike.
- Alan Ryder
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