As our concert approaches this weekend, we wanted to share some program notes on some of the pieces to be performed written by our artistic director, and founder, of the choir – Ralph B. Woodward. The concerts will truly be a journey across the history of music in both time and geography. We hope that you enjoy learning more about the music, its place in the world and the relationship our choir has with some of these pieces. Of course, no reading takes the place of hearing the real thing! Please join us on May 2 & 3. (Additional concert details available in the previous post – Tickets available from our website or at the door).
Hodie Apparuit: This is a short motet by the great Franco-Flemish master Orlando di Lasso and is a prime example of 16th Century polyphony. Its wonderful interweaving of parts makes it an extremely gratifying work to sing and to hear (the kids love it).
Bonne Nuit: One of the great joys of working with these young people is to see what they can do with the Art Song. We sing many of this genre–usually those by German masters. However, in the beginning years of our choir, the very early ’80’s, one member’s mother (who also belonged to our first choir board) loaned me a book of songs which happened to contain the charming “Bonne Nuit by the French composer, Jules Massenet (probably best known to most for his violin solo, “Meditation”–from the opera, Thais). I then made an adaptation for the choir and we have done it periodically over the years. I had never heard this charming song before, and I have never heard it since — other than being sung by our choir.
Techot Volga ( by M. Fradkin): This is a much loved by older Russians, and was first sung by our choir in 1987. It speaks of the permanence of the ever-flowing Volga and the stages and changes in our lives. It is wistful, expressive and very beautiful. .
Caliche (by R. Alarcon): This popular Chilean song, in the “cueca” dance rhythm, is a real favorite. It refers, in endearing terms, to dark-complected “Caliche, ” which I originally thought meant a pretty girl. In fact, this is a symbolic reference to a black ore that is mined in Northern Chile and which sustains many miners of that area and their families.
Turn Ye to Me: from Scotland, is a bitter-sweet song of parting of someone who is leaving a loved one to go to sea.
Follow Me Down to Carlow: a rousing Irish dance tune, is one of the Choir’s all-time favorites.
Makedonska Devoice: from the Republic of Macedonia (formerly part of Yugoslavia and not to be confused with Greek Macedonia) was introduced to me by a friend from Bosnia. It is very tuneful, rhythmic (in 7/8) and very popular all over the Balkans.
Vienna, City of My Dreams: This captivating waltz by Rudolf Sieczynski is much loved the world over (and especially by German-speaking people). It is full of irresistible Viennese charm and one of our favorites,
Kaya Kaymanta Ripusaj: An Andean song of farewell from Bolivia in the ‘quechua’ language (language of the Incas)–with a couple of Spanish words. The melody and complimentary harmonies (which we have added) have a unique, mystical quality.
Palomita del arrozal: This song is also from Bolivia, but from the Santa Cruz region–which is lower and more tropical. It’s lyrics are mostly Spanish–but also include words of the native Guarani people of that area.
Kapusi Kali Kongo: is a novelty song from Zambia with fascinating poly-rhythmic percussion.
On the Sunny Side of the Street by Jimmy McHugh: This popular American standard will be a lively, refreshing return to our own shores. The perrformance will be complete with skat singing by the choir and the artistry of jazz pianist extraordinaire, Steve Keen.