Sunday, May 16, 2010

Nocturnes and Privilege

Volti (and other choirs) @ First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA
Friday, May 14, 2010

Daglarym/My Mountains by Donald Crockett
performed by Volti
directed by Robert A. Geary

Mary Hynes by Samuel Barber
lo son la Primavera by William Hawley
National Weather Forcast by Henry Mollicone
performed by Colla Voce, Head-Royce School
directed by Robert Wells

Paghahandog by Robin Estrada
performed by Volti

Cantate Domino by Jam Pieterzoon Sweelinck
She Walks in Beauty by Eric W. Barnum
Gai Bintang by Budi Susanto Yohanes
performed by The Acalanes High School Chamber Singers
directed by Bruce Lengacher

privilege by Ted Hearne
O Magnum Mysterium by Morten Lauridsen
performed by Volti

Like Snow from Midwinter Songs by Morten Lauridsen
Hear My Prayer, O Lord by Henry Purcell
Let me fly arr. Robert DeCormier
performed by Ecco, Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir
directed by Clifton Massey
David Belles: piano

Nocturnes by Morten Lauridsen
performed by all choirs
Morden Lauridsen: piano

A program of music that leaves one feeling envy for the performers and the opportunity they have to crawl inside this music and experience these pieces multiple times through rehearsal and performance. Most of these works linger well after their vibrations strike ear drums with the rare quality of language delivered through aesthetic means.

The standout composition was Ted Hearne's privilege. The forlorn "oh, mother, it's leaving me behind" from a translated traditional Xhosa anti-Apartheid song at the conclusion of the final movement leaving a strong emotional resonance consistent with the compelling voices expressed through the piece. The setting of David Simon's (writer for The Wire and Treme) statement in an interview with Bill Moyers providing a starkly honest description of contemporary urban reality: "we pretend to need them/we pretend to educate the kids/but we don't/and they're not foolish/they get it." Each movement offering similar honesty with a direct simplicity and a vibrant resonance with contemporary life. I need to hear more of Hearne's music an ideas.

Robin Estrada's Paghahandog was another standout with its application of abstract constructs (and alternative notation) that took the instrument of choral voices and made a joyful, animated sound. An adventurous aural/oral work with strong resonance for how one conceptually approaches sounds that morph between different performers.

Each of the High School choirs performed at a very high standard and were well suited to augment Volti with the rich sound of Morten Lauridsen's Nocturne as it bathed the room with the warmth of its sound. A fitting piece to conclude with its embrace of choral music's deepest traditions and harmonic fabrics. This one leaving the impression of the depth of repertoire that Volti builds upon as an evolving and profoundly human endeavor.

1 comment:

Jerrie Hurd said...

Sorry I missed this one.