A “best of” program including favorites from our first decade and a newly-commissioned work: music from medieval convents, 18th century Venetian conservatories, 19th century European choral societies, and American colleges and women’s club choirs.
Amy Beach’s cantata-length secular work, The Rose of Avontown, Naomi Stephan’s “O virtus Sapientie” on a text of Hilegard of Bingen, and Clifton J. Noble, Jr.’s splendid swing arrangement of “The Erie Canal” with down-and-dirty piano accompaniment. That mule named Sal may never be the same!
A North Carolina Women’s Choral Festival sponsored by Women’s Voices Chorus, featuring nine choirs from the Triangle and beyond.
This program includes everything from “Boogie-woogie Bugle Boy” to Holocaust songs to a rediscovered composition on the blessings of peace. This program honors the women’s experiences of war. As we have learned this music, it has become our way of partaking of the courage women have shown, even in their unimaginable suffering, when the fires of war swept over their lands.
Music illustrating just that, including “The Harp Weaver”, Elinor Remick Warren’s musical adaptation of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s 1922 Pulitzer Prize-winning poem, with guest artists Gerald Whittington, baritone, and Emily Laurance, harp; and Claude Debussy’s “Salut printemps”.
Music honoring mothers. The first part present sacred music devoted to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and to the Church as a mother. The second part celebrates “other” mothers, including adoptive mothers and stepmothers, in all the feisty imperfection many of us know as mothers—and all of us know as daughters—in the relationships between mothers and children. Includes “Nancy Hanks” by Katherine K. Davis, and the Triangle area premiere of Lana Walter’s “Magnificat.”
Music about divine and human love. The first half of the program dwells on the power of sacrificial love to bring healing and peace to a troubled world. The second half begins by portraying the rocky course of romantic love: longing, rejection, and separation. Only at the end do straightforward expressions of admiration seem likely to be reciprocated! Includes “Three Flower Songs” by Amy Beach, and “Mag auch heiss das Scheiden brennen” by Mary Wurm.
The first part of today’s program presented images of Jerusalem—Zion, the holy city, a metaphor for the people of Israel, or for Heaven. The second part visited the city in modern, secular terms: it is the place where pleasurable excitement, even wickedness, may be enjoyed.
Our first commissioned piece: “Magnificat ‘Regina coeli'” by Katherine Dienes of New Zealand, as well as “Past Life Melodies” by Sarah Hopkins and Helen Caskie’s “Three New Zealand Country Songs”. Performed on May 9, 2000.
Music honoring the times and places women have found to compose or to sing music together, including an arrangement by Amy Beach of Oliver Wendell Holmes’ poem “The Chambered Nautilus”, pieces by Hildegard of Bingen and Ysaye Barnwell (of Sweet Honey in the Rock), and an audience sing-a-long of “The March of the Women”, a suffrage song, by Dame Ethel Smyth. Our first program entirely by women composers.