Pre-concert lecture and reception: 2:30
Join the Seattle Bach Choir, led by artistic director Dr. Anne Lyman, for our third concert of the 2016-2017 season, Spring Songbook! We will perform an assortment of a cappella gems from across the centuries. Many of the pieces are favorites of the choir from our 30+ year history and will be sung on our international tour to the Low Countries in July 2017.
The program will open with two pieces of Renaissance music by natives of the Low Countries, Josquin Des Prez and Pierre de La Rue. Josquin and de La Rue were contemporaries who were highly admired for their rich, many-voiced pieces of polyphony, most notably for their creative architectural construction and varying textures. We will then take the audience from early Europe to early American with our presentation of pieces by Colonial-Era composers Supply Belcher and Elisha West. Unlike the refined elegance of the sixteenth-century polyphonists, Belcher and West wrote in a more rugged, hymn-like style, reminiscent of shape-note singing. We will follow this with a beautiful arrangement of Stephen Foster’s tune Hard Times Come Again No More and Kevin Siegfried’s hauntingly humble Shaker Songs.
The centerpieces of our program features works from the rich store of early 20th-century a cappella music. Trois Chansons by Maurice Ravel, his only three pieces of a cappella choral music, were written while the composer was awaiting enlistment into the French Army during World War I. Ravel composed the poignant texts himself and, in the words of a friend, “gave the purest of his heart to this sublime music.” Another famous trio of pieces are the Reincarnations by Samuel Barber. The third in the set, “The Coolin,” is arguably the most beautiful. The poet James Stephens said of it: “I sought to represent that state which is almost entirely a condition of dream wherein the passion of love has almost overreached itself and is sinking into a motionless languor.” We will round out our program with pieces by such noted composed and arrangers as Alice Parker, Robert DeCormier, Steven Zegree, and William Dawson.
We hope you will join the Seattle Bach Choir for Spring Songbook. As always we will offer a pre-concert lecture with wine/cheese reception at 2:30 PM.