SATURDAY, MARCH 8, 2014 SUNDAY, MARCH 9, 2014
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Transcript of SATURDAY, MARCH 8, 2014 SUNDAY, MARCH 9, 2014
QUINTESSENCE: CHORAL ARTISTS OF THE SOUTHWEST
A Sense of Place
SATURDAY, MARCH 8, 20145 p m a t I mma n u e l P r e sb y t e r i a n C h u r c h 1 14 Ca r l i s l e B l v d SE
SUNDAY, MARCH 9, 20143p m a t S t . J o h n s Un i t e d Me t h o d i s t C h u r c h 262 6 A r i z o n a S t N E
Music about places that matter to us, journeys we want to go on, and the home we long to return to, including John Corigliano's masterful Fern Hill, and works by
Alice Parker, Judith Cloud, Stephen Paulus, William Billings, and others.
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MATTHEW GREER, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
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About the Program
When I turned 40, I planned a mid-life crisis for myself.
More accurately, I had a special gift in mind for myself, something to mark the onset of middle age. The gift I wanted was a solo road trip.
This was not because I dont like traveling with my wife. Amy and I travel really well together, Im happy to say; we mostly like to do the same things, were patient about each others quirks, were both fairly laid back and flexible in the face of glitches. When we travel, we have a kind of mischievous, what-kind-of-trouble-can-we-get-into vibe that I dearly hope we never lose.
Even so, I longed for a journey that was both unaccompanied and unplanned. I would wake up every morning and decide where to go that day -- with no more foresight than that -- and no one else there with whom I had to negotiate my plans. This required a bit of a sales pitch to Amy. Playing up the midlife crisis angle, I think I put it this way: I dont want a mistress; I dont want a sports car. I want a solo road trip, and I want you at the end of it.
I was given gracious leave, and some months later, I found myself in Baltimore (long story), settling into a one-way rental car, turning the key, firing up the GPS, and asking myself, Well, what shall it be? North or south? It was delicious.
Theres something about a journey like that that invites introspection, but one of the joys of my trip was to be mostly in places that I felt no particular attachment to, Over the course of our lives, we invest a lot of emotion and energy into places, whether they be towns or countries or buildings. Theres a lot of literature on this theme, of course, and a lot of music. This, I decided somewhere around Passasic, New Jersey, would be a great theme for a concert. So, here we are.
We open with Alice Parkers Kentucky Psalms, a group of four settings of 19th century American hymn tunes, for chorus, strings and flute. These are settings of psalms tied to a particular place: the American south, at the time of the Great Awakening, when churches rang out with vibrant hymn-singing. There is something about these pieces that make you hearken back, and inspires confidence and groundedness.
But several other works pieces on our program are about longing to be elsewhere, or mourning that a place is no longer what it was. Palestrinas great motet Super flumina babylonis is a poignant setting of the first two verses of the Psalm 137, the great poem of the Babylonian exile (how can we sing the Lords song in a strange and bitter land), and we link it to a William Billings piece that parodies the same text, Lamentation Over Boston. Billings, generally regarded as the first native American composer, wrote his lamentation to protest the occupation of his beloved Boston by the British in 1775. On the second half of our program, we pair James Erbs marvelous setting of the American folk song Shenandoah with one of the most famous motets of the early Renaissance, Heinrich Isaacs wistful Innsbruck, I Now Must Leave You.
Judith Clouds Mesa Songs evoke the southwestern landscape, both through their wide-open harmonies and through the atmospheric accompaniment of native flute and drums. The wonderful texts (found in your program) are by Betty Andrews, who wrote a good deal of poetry on southwestern themes when she was not writing scripts for TV shows like Gunsmoke and Dr. Kildare.
I have wanted to do John Coriglianos gorgeous Fern Hill for years, and it was the first piece I programmed for this concert. Corigliano, now 76 and the dean of American composers, wrote this extended setting of Dylan Thomas poem when he was just 21 years old (the poem itself been published only 15 years earlier), as a gift for his high school choral director. At 21, Corigliano was at a bit of a crossroads, trying to decide if he should be a composer. Writing this piece helped him to figure out that he should Enamored of Thomas poem, and steeped in the harmonic language of Barber and Copland, Corigliano set the piece for chorus and mezzo-soprano solo, with strings, piano and harp. Thomas poem is an elegiac tribute to the family farm in Wales that he used to visit as a child, and we include the entire text in your program. What a joy it has been to work on this piece.
My mid-life crisis trip was scheduled to be 14 days long. It really was wonderful, but after ten days and seven states, I was done. I was lonesome for Amy, for our cozy house and annoying cats. I dropped my rental car in Louisville and flew home. As Stephen Paulus reminds us in the last piece on our program, there is no such beauty as where you belong. Home.
Kentucky Psalms (1987) Alice Parker (b. 1925)
I. Zion (How did my heart rejoice to hear) II. Vergennes (My heart and flesh cry out for thee) III. Amanda (Death, like an overflowing stream) IV. Washington (Our souls, by love together knit)
Danielle Frabutt, flute Roberta Arruda , Kathie Jarrett, violin
Cherokee Randolph, viola; Lisa Donald, cello; Frank Murray, bass
Super flumina babylonis Giovanni Pierluigi di Palestrina (ca. 1525-1594) Lamentation Over Boston (1778) William Billings (1746-1800)
Mesa Songs (1995) Judith Cloud (b. 1954) I. High Mesa Land II. There Is a Color III. Power
Danielle Frabutt, native flute David Irving, percussion
Fern Hill (1961) John Corigliano (b. 1938)
Darci Lobdell, mezzo-soprano Roberta Arruda, Asmara Bhattacharya, Kathie Jarrett, Alan Mar, violin
Cherokee Randolph, Grazzia Sagastume, Barbara Clark, viola Lisa Donald, Ian Brody, cello; Frank Murray, bass Lynn Gorman DeVelder, harp; Amy Greer, piano
Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen Heinrich Isaac (ca. 1450-1517) Shenandoah American Folksong, arr. James Erb (b. 1926) The Road Home 19th Century American Hymn, arr. Stephen Paulus (b. 1949)
Ashley Morgan, soprano
Cell phones that ring during the performance will be sent to a place far, far away.
The Singers of Quintessence
Soprano: Anita Amstutz, Barbi Cappel, Rebecca Craig, Liz Hartwell, *Pauleta Hendrickson, Loren Kelly, Ashley Morgan, Checky Okun
Alto: Jane Belcher, Laurel Deming, Suzi Dressler, Amy Greer, *Trish Henning, Darci Lobdell, Julia Manganaro, Kelsey OHerron, Stacey Snowden
Tenor: *Bryan Butler, Lucien Daigle, Chris DeGraw, Bryan Garcia, Theodor Spannagel, Tyler Wilson Bass: Alfredo Beltran, David Cappel, Martin Doviak, Lars Fabricius-Olsen, James Graham, Jonathan Ice,
*Daryl Lee, Joseph Mitchell, Dwayne Moseley, Arnel Oczon, John Sitler, Jerry Spurlin Anita Amstutz's favorite places usually include creeks, streams and bodies of water and she's been known to swim in a freezing mountain lake in Glacier National Park with grizzlies in the vicinity. Among Barbi Cappels favorite places to journey are our national parks, which she visits regularly with Dave and a group of close friends, and where she can be found happily humming and singing (to herself, so as not to disturb the wildlife.) Rebecca Craig, originally from Springfield, IL, becomes more and more enamored with New Mexico the longer she is here in the land of enchantment. Albuquerque native Liz Drotning Hartwell loves being back in her hometown after many years away, but still yearns for the frozen utopia of St. Olaf College atop a very windy and occasionally chilly hill in Northfield, Minnesota. Growing up coast to coast, north to south, has made Pauleta Hendrickson realize that a sense of place comes not from a "place" but from a feeling of family, friends and faith - and she is grateful to have those in abundance. Loren Kelly is in her second season with Q, and is especially grateful to Matt Greer and the company of Q singers to sing this soulful treasure of choral music, and wondering about all that I left, that I lost, where I have wandered, the wondrous realms of place on earth and beyond I have seen, dreamed of and long for, with love in my heart to follow the road home. Ashley Morgan is a young soprano from the land of Pennsylvania, where she learned to be bold, speak her mind, and develop mad ninja skills. Native Washingtonian (now Albuquerquean of nearly 23 years) Checky Okun feels most at home in any big city with an extensive mass transit system but has a special attachment to New York City where her two wonderful daughters and new granddaughter reside.
Having moved to New Mexico in July, Jane Belcher thinks fondly of her Maryland hometown known for rolling green hills, horse farms, brick downtown streets, Civil War hi