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.
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”.