Monthly Archives: May 2013

Program Notes from Mr. Woodward

Children of the Salt Lake Children's Choir in their robes.

The Salt Lake Children’s Choir ready to sing at the First Presbyterian Church.

Tonight, May 11, is our last Spring Concert in Salt Lake for 2013.  Here are a few more program notes for pieces being performed tonight:

Anicka dusicka   arr. M. Schneider-Trnavsky
This lovely dance song has the combination of spice and melodic charm  for which Slovak songs are so widely known and loved..  It is one of the most  popular folk songs of Slovakia.

 

Las Amarillas  arr. by Stephen Hatfield
Back in 1997, when I first saw this arrangement of a southern Mexican huapanago, I thought it was one of the best (but most difficult) arrangements of ethnic music I had ever seen.  However, not wanting  to avoid a worthwhile challenge for the choir,  I immediately had our kids prepare  and perform it–and was glad I did (as was the audience!). Since then, it has been sung all over the world (mostly by groups older than ours)– and we have also done it once since.  However, it has been many years since we have tackled it and I am delighted this year’s group has the opportunity.  It is rhythmically complex, exciting, and great fun for all involved.

 

Springtime in the Rockies  by Robert Sauer
By the time we come to this sentimental favorite, we will have been on a wonderful musical journey (including a trip to the Norwegian mountains) and it will feel good to be back home.  Of local interest is that the composer, a German immigrant, was a member of the BYU music faculty when the song was written in 1927.  There will be more great things yet to come on the program, but this will start us on the home stretch.

Program Notes from Ralph B. Woodward: Moonlit Night

Moonlit Night (Mondnacht) by Robert Schumann

In many ways, I relate more to the music of Robert Scumann than any other composers of the German Romantic Era,  and this is one of the greatest of all his songs.
The characteristic interplay between piano and voice is exquisite, and the overall effect of the song is simply transporting (especially as sung by these young voices).  As with all our settings of such music, the accompaniment  is left untouched, the vocal parts enhanced with appropriate harmonies only sparingly and at strategic points. I don’t think this song can ever be programmed too often.
Text of the English translation sung by our choir:

 

It seemed as if, serenely, by heav’n the earth were kissed
That she so bright and queenly must dream of heav’nly rest

 

The breeze was lightly straying through cornfields waving light
and forest leaves were sighing as starlit was the night

 

And my rapt soul, her pinions, in eager joy out spread,
moved o’er the earth’s dominions as homeward on she sped.

Program Notes: Stars

Leading up to the concerts this weekend, we will be publishing some “Program Notes” by the choir’s director, Ralph B. Woodward, about pieces you will hear :

Stars (verse, Sara Teasdale) by R. Woodward
The poem conveys in simple, vivid terms the wonder and reverence elicited by being outdoors witnessing the infinite majesty of the heavens. The music uses in great measure the ethereal, openness of the whole-tone scale (in similar fashion to that heard in some of Gustav Holst’s “The Planets”).  Despite the other-worldly sounds of the song, our young singers really respond to its evocative effect and message.
Alone at night
On a dark hill
With pines around me
Spicy and still,And a heaven full of stars
Over my head,
White and topaz
And misty red;

Myriads with beating
Hearts of fire
That aeons
Cannot vex or tire;

Up the dome of heaven
Like a great hill,
I watch them marching
Stately and still,
And I know that I
Am honored to be
Witness
Of so much majesty.