More from our Venice concert

Here are a few more videos from our concert in Santa Maria dei Miracoli, Venice, thanks to Darrell.

“Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” arr. Nina Gilbert

“Deep River,” arr. Alex Blake

“Wade in the Watah,” Ysaye Barnwell, soloists Judy Moore and Rachel FitzSimons

“Daemon Irrepit Callidus,” Gyorgy Orban

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Concert in Chiesa Santa Maria dei Miracoli

For our last concert of the tour, we sang in Chiesa Santa Maria dei Miracoli in Venice. This small, beautiful, 15th-century church is entirely built from marble, with an ornate ceiling containing many portraits of biblical figures. There are over a hundred churches in Venice; it seems like there’s another lovely Renaissance chapel every time you cross a bridge. Here’s a little more information about Miracoli, as well as a resource about Venetian churches in general.

We had a small, but enthusiastic, audience for this last concert, and we ended the tour with an hour of music both American and Italian, concluding appropriately with Allan Friedman’s arrangement of “Nunc Dimittis,” a piece about departing. Below are recordings of three pieces from the final concert, provided by our resident videographer, Darrell Edgley.

I hope you’ve enjoyed following along with Women’s Voices Chorus as we’ve made our way through central Europe! Our travels have ended for now, but we hope that this marks only the beginning of exciting new ventures for our group.

“Sweet Prospect” by William Walker, soloist Virginia Kraus

“Ave Maria” by Paula Tillen, directed by Laura Delauney

“Followers of the Lamb,” a Shaker hymn adapted by Allan Friedman, soloist Mary Greenwood

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Singing in San Marco

On Friday, July 6, we had the honor of singing in the evening mass at San Marco in Venice. Here’s a recording of our performance of Giovanni Gabrieli’s Jubilate Deo in San Marco with a slideshow of some of my personal Venice photos from our tour. A special thank you to Darrell Edgley, husband of choir member Jo, who recorded our concerts throughout our travels! I hope you enjoy the sights and sounds of Venice with Women’s Voices Chorus:

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The Sala della Musica and Acoustic Mapping Project

(Our tour is now over, but I will continue posting for the next few days with more photos and recaps of our time in Venice.)

On the morning of our second day in Venice, Women’s Voices Chorus went “behind the scenes” in a tour of a lesser-known, but musically fascinating, locale: the Ospedaletto of Santa Maria dei Derelitti. The Ospedaletto was a charitable institution famous for its tradition of instructing orphan girls in music. We visited both the church and the Sala della Musica, the sites of the girls’ sacred and secular performances.

Painting in the Sala della Musica

Painting in the Sala della Musica with the orphan girls represented by muses surrounding the figure of Apollo. The girl on the right holding a ring is actually holding a Venetian cookie of a variety that’s still sold today.

In the Sala della Musica, the girls would sing from an upper gallery behind a “chastity screen” while potential patrons (or potential husbands) would listen to them in the chamber below while enjoying chocolate, tobacco, and other delicacies. Renowned Venetian composers such as Niccola Porpora were affiliated with the Ospedaletto and wrote music specifically for the girls.

Some Women's Voices Chorus members visit the upper gallery in the Sala della Musica

Some Women’s Voices Chorus members visit the upper gallery in the Sala della Musica

The view that the musicians would have had from behind the screen in the Sala della Musica

The view that the musicians would have had from behind the screen in the Sala della Musica

Our visit to the Venetian Ospedaletto was not only an interesting musical tourism destination: we were also helping out an interdisciplinary research project at Duke University. The Acoustic Mapping Project is organized by professors and graduate students from the disciplines of Art History, Computer Science, Physics, and Visual and Media Studies, and it involves using software to create digital models of acoustic spaces. Through computer modeling of the acoustics of a space, special software allows a recording to be processed so that it sounds as though it was performed in a particular room. For instance, singers could be recorded in a room at Duke University, and that recording could then be made to sound exactly as if they were singing in the Sala della Musica in Venice.

The unique shape and properties of the Ospedaletto Sala della Musica made it an interesting subject for this research project. While Women’s Voices Chorus visited, we made a recording of eight members singing selections from Niccola Porpora’s Magnificat in the gallery to compare with a similar recording that those same singers made at Duke, and a researcher took laser measurements of the space to enable more accurate digital mapping.

We were excited both to see this historically-interesting  venue and to help expand the boundaries of acoustic technology. In the next few days, keep an eye out on this site for a recording of WVC members singing in the Ospedaletto, as well as more photos and reminiscences from our performances and tours in Venice!

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Touring Venice and Singing at San Marco

Today Women’s Voices Chorus spent all day in Venice, first taking a tour and exploring the city on our own, then providing the music for an evening mass in San Marco. In the morning, we had a tour of St. Mark’s Square, San Marco Basilica, and the Doge’s Palace, after which the choir members had several hours of free time for lunch and wandering through the city.

We met up in the early evening to sing at the 6:45 mass in San Marco, which was an amazing experience. The mass was held in a side chapel, and the four pieces that we sang were perfectly chosen for the occasion and space. We performed Giovanni Gabrieli’s Jubilate Deo and Adrian Willaert’s Regina Coeli, both of which were composed specifically for San Marco. As Allan noted, San Marco is a fascinating and important site for those interested in the history of European music. We also performed two beautiful American pieces, Randall Thompson’s Alleluia and selections from Lana Walter’s Magnificat. The final movement of Walter’s Magnificat has the double choir arrangement that’s characteristic of Venetian music like Gabrieli’s works, so it was particularly appropriate for this venue. It was a great pleasure to sing in such a historic and monumental space!

Here are a few photos taken during our visit to Venice today:

St. Mark's Square

St. Mark’s Square

View down a Venice canal

View down a Venice canal

Choir members Rachel, Laura D., and Laura G. wander through the Venice streets

Choir members Rachel, Laura D., and Laura G. wander through the Venice streets

The view from the boat leaving Venice after our performance

The view from the boat leaving Venice after our performance

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Freshly arrived! Near Venice

As soon as we arrived at the hotel in Monastier di Treviso (about 25km northeast of Venice), some of us just had to go out onto the balcony right away.

I love my camera’s zoom so very, very much.

Jen G on the balcony

“Jen! Look this way!”

Katie on the balcony

“It’s your turn, Katie! C’mon!” Katie: “What?”

We Three Women

Diane, Jan, and Sue R. hanging out together

Grey on the balcony

For Grey, I just waved, and this was his response.

Alana on the balcony

Allan’s mom is so cute.

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