Taking its title from a set of brilliant improvisations by Antony Saunders of George Gershwin’s I Got Rhythm for choir and piano, this concert showcases jazz-enriched choral music.
John Rutter celebrates another jazz great – George Shearing – in his choral suite Birthday Madrigals, written for his friend’s 75th birthday. Five poems from the era of the Elizabethan madrigal and two by Shakespeare are set to jazz rhythms combined with the styles of the English madrigal and part-song.
In the Beginning by Aaron Copland takes text from the Book of Genesis (King James Version) to describe the six days of creation followed by a day of rest. It is scored for choir and mezzo-soprano soloist.
Mystic composer Morten Lauridsen uses poems in French, Spanish and English by the twentieth century poets Rainer Maria Rilke, Pablo Neruda and James Agee with the common theme of night in his song cycle Nocturnes for choir and piano.
In Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine, composer Eric Whitacre and poet Charles Anthony Silvestri create a soundtrack to Leonardo da Vinci’s imagination as he dreams about the possibility of flight.
Heitor Villa-Lobos believed that if Johann Sebastian Bach had been born in twentieth century Brazil, he would have composed music like the Bachianas Brasileiras suite, fusing his own style with Brazilian folk and popular music. No 9 is written for an ‘orchestra of voices’.
Please join us after the concert for summer refreshments in the garden
St Albans Chamber Choir will whirl you away at their concert Wynde, Whirlwinds and Flight on Saturday 28 February at St Peter’s Church, in an imaginative programme that spans almost half a millennium, from the court of Henry VIII to the invention of powered flight.
The Tudor composer John Taverner took the popular love song Westron wynde when wyll thou blow? as the basis for his Western Wynde Mass. Despite using the delightful melody no less than thirty-six times in all, Taverner varies it with such brilliance that the ear never tires of his inventive figurations and counterpoints.
Flying on to Renaissance Italy, contemporary American composer Eric Whitacrevividly depicts in sound Leonardo da Vinci’s dreams of a man acquiring the ability to overcome gravity and fly like a bird in the Tuscan sunrise. Whitacre drew his inspiration for Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine from the inventor’s famousnotebooks, and this atmospheric work has deservedly become his most popular composition for unaccompanied choir.
Ralph Vaughan Williams is best known for his evocations of the English countryside through the use of folksong and traditional melodies, andValiant-for-Truth (1940) and The Voiceout of the Whirlwind (1947) are typical examples of his style. In the last years of his life, though, his compositions take on a far darker and more enigmatic mood, and in A Vision of Aeroplanes (1956) he provides a highly imaginative setting of the prophet Ezekiel’s apocalyptic dream of the four creatures flying over the earth in wheeled chariots. The choral writing is very virtuosic, while the organ part is positively cataclysmic, described by one critic as being like the ‘roar of an aircraft squadron’!