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Our Spring 2008 concert consisted of lullabies and nursery rhymes by composers both classic and modern, as well as folk song settings from England, Canada, Samoa, Wales, and elsewhere.
To celebrate winter, this concert on January 13, 2008, featured a variety of works both sacred and secular. Highlights included Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols and the premiere of a new piece, “Herself A Rose,” by Eleanor Daley in honor of WVC founder Mary Lycan. Also included were Magnificats by Porpora, Dufay and Lana Walter, and pieces by Byrd and Purcell.
A celebration of love in all forms, this concert on Friday, May 4th, 2007, featured a second performance of our last-commissioned work, Lana Walter’s Welcome Love. The four a cappella settings of 17th-century love poems were a chorus favorite from the moment we began preparing them for their premiere in 2004.
This concert featured Amy Beach’s The Chambered Nautilus, a major work with lush, impressionistic harmonies we first performed in 2000. Its text, by Oliver Wendell Holmes, challenges the listener to summon the courage to grow and change. We also premiered a new work by Eleanor Epstein. Funded by a major gift from the Gidwitz family in honor of President Sue’s bat mitzvah, these newly-commissioned arrangements of Hebrew songs will make a significant contribution to the repertoire of Jewish music for women’s voices.
An airborne program of music inspired by things that fly. Mendelssohn’s “Surrexit pastor bonus,” with its Easter angel dialogue; Emma Lou Diemer’s Hope is the Thing , a suite of Emily Dickinson settings with references to our featured friends; and John Govedas’s “Mulligatawny Macbeth,” a setting of the Witches’ Song from Macbeth replete with shrieks and cackles. This concert included guest instrumentalists on oboe and organ.
On Saturday, January 21, 2006, Women’s Voices Chorus performed Gustav Holst’s “Ave Maria,” along with music by Benjamin Britten, William Byrd, Imogen Holst, John Tavener, and John Rutter; and a Scottish folk song, “Tarry Wool.” The centerpiece was a choral suite, The Dancers, by Welsh composer Grace Williams. This rediscovered work from 1954 has wonderful texts by, among others, Hilaire Belloc and May Sarton, and is scored for strings and harp, as well as soprano soloist and women’s chorus.
A salt-water program featuring Amy Beach’s “The Sea Faeries”, the Afro-British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s “From the Green Heart of the Waters,” Leonie Holmes’s “The Estuary,” and a French folk song, “Roulez Juenes Gens, Roulez,” about the girls who go down to the docks to meet the sailors.
From sacred music about mountains—specifically, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem—to music inspired by mountains to music from the mountains, particularly fiddle tunes and folk songs from our own Appalachians, this concert was a musical mountain tour. Highlights: Nicola Porpora’s “Ecce nunc” (1742) in its first modern performance; Arvo Part’s “Peace Upon You, Jerusalem,” Schubert’s “Coronach,” and a folk song, “At the Foot of Yonders Mountain,” collected and arranged by the folklorist Annabel Morris Buchanan.
A chronological sampler of Canadian pieces: music of indigenous peoples; folk songs imported from France, the British Isles, and many other countries; and performances of European sacred works, ranging from the 17th century to a work premiered three months before.