Madrigals and Partsongs from 1550 to the Present
"Dress up for Spring" - those readers old enough to remember the annual exhortation from Broadway Credit Clothiers ("Get 1 pair of pants at the regular price, get a 2nd pair free") will see that the choir dressed up the hall with no pants at all - just daffodils!
Thanks to Eve and Daphne once again for the floral festoonery In the end, choir wilted but happy - daffodils ... happy!
Of course in spring a young man's fancy does not turn to pants, two-for-the-price-of-one or not, but to "Sweet Love" - thus it was that the Vivaldi Chamber Choir's third concert of the 2005/2006 season honoured that emotion. Sometimes platonic, and sometimes born of eros or agape, the protagonist loved and longed for the green earth, the mystical tree, the soaring birds, the translucent dawn, the company of saints, the misty isle and...Flora.
The Altos The whole noise The Tenors
An agreeably large audience just about filled all the chairs set out, and what a responsive group! Apparent highlights - Earle Peach's "From the Air" a hymn to Mother Earth born of "separation anxiety," the Wilbye "Weep, weep mine eyes" and "Lay a Garland" by Robert Lucas Pearsall.
Choir and crowd were amused to learn that John Stafford Smith the composer of the next piece, a tribute to the eponymous "Flora" unwittingly provided the tune that Francis Scott Keys co-opted for the "Star Spangled Banner". He wrote the poem hurriedly while sequestered on a British ship, from which vantage point he had observed the fort at Baltimore suffer and then survive (evidenced by the fluttering flag seen at dawn's break) a night-long naval bombardment.
Thanks go to Susie Britnell, Bill Richards, David Millard and Fran Dietz for presenting the Dowland marquee piece "Come again", and to Jenny Skidmore for a beautifully lofted Blue Bird in Stanford's lushly calm (calmly lush?) partsong with solo soprano. The whole operation was wrapped up with an encore featuring the choir fa-la-la-ing and employing the animalistic talents of David, Fran, Ryan Beaucage and Susie with Earle Peach (on sarcastic bass) in Banchieri's "Contrappunta Bestiale." This ended nicely, greeted with merriment all round, with the dog (Ryan) of the group demonstrating that he is in training for "Wolf Trap" - or perhaps a wolf trap!
Door prizes, juice & cookies sent everyone home feeling good about the evening - cheers to the organisers!!
- Alan Ryder (Thanks to Andrew Beddoes for the photos)
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