Choral Gems

Music for a Summer's Evening

Saturday 25 June 2011
St Monica's, Cote Lane, Westbury on Trym

 

Gavin Carr - Conductor
Nigel Nash - Piano

In the whole of Bristol Bach Choir's 44 year history, this evening's programme is probably the widest-ranging we have ever presented. From early English madrigals, by way of well known opera choruses, arrangements of spirituals, and twentieth century choral classics, to a couple of items which defy categorisation other than that they are “fun”, there must surely be something here for everyone.

The inclusion of works by Verdi, Puccini and Wagner is especially appropriate on an evening with a long “Glyndebourne”-style picnic interval. Let us hope that the atmosphere invoked by Delius (To be sung on a summer night on the water), Stanford (The Blue Bird) and Morley (Now is the Month of Maying) will prevail, rather than that of Elgar's As Torrents in Summer - beautiful, but not what we wish for tonight!

Concert Order

John Bennet All creatures now
Thomas Vautor Sweet Suffolk owl
Orlando Gibbons The silver swan
C V Stanford The blue bird
Two Preludes (Nigel Nash, piano)
John Farmer Fair Phyllis I saw sitting all alone
Thomas Morley Now is the month of maying
John Wilbye Draw on, sweet night
Edward Elgar Salut d'amour (Nigel Nash, piano)
As torrents in summer
Frederick Delius To be sung on a summer night on the water
Ralph Vaughan Williams The cloud-capp'd towers
Gerald Finzi My spirit sang all day
INTERVAL
Giuseppi Verdi Anvil Chorus (Il Trovatore)
Va, pensiero (Nabucco)
Giacomo Puccini Humming Chorus (Madame Butterfly)
Richard Wagner 'Wach Auf!' (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg)
Grayston Ives Name that tune
arr. Roderick Williams I got a robe
arr. Andrew Jackman Swing low, sweet chariot
George Gershwin Three Preludes (Nigel Nash, piano)
Percy Grainger Country gardens
arr. Bob Chilcott Londonderry Air
Ernst Toch Geographical Fugue
arr. Bob Chilcott Ev'ry time I feel the spirit

Programme Notes

John Bennet (c.1575 - after 1614): All creatures now

Very little is known of John Bennet. His only solo publication was a book of madrigals in 1599, and he contributed All Creatures Now to Thomas Morley's collection The Triumphs of Oriana, which appeared in 1601. This latter was a set of 25 madrigals by 23 different composers; each madrigal ends with the same words:

Then sang the shepherds and nymphs of Diana: Long live fair Oriana!

It is generally assumed that Oriana refers to Queen Elizabeth. The flowers themselves discover means that they appear or show themselves. Both Diana and the bugle refer to hunting. See where she comes would have made the madrigal suitable for performance at some ceremony or occasion at which the queen was present.

The music is in the lightest and happiest mood, mostly homophonic, with a few excursions into imitative textures which do not obscure the words. Note the word painting on merry and hover, and the stately ending in deference to the queen.

All creatures now are merry, merry minded.
The shepherds' daughters playing, the Nymphs are fa-la-la-ing,
Yond bugle was well winded.
At Oriana's presence, each thing smileth,
The flowers themselves discover.
Birds over her do hover,
Music the time beguileth.
See, where she comes, with flow'ry garlands crowned,
Queen of all queens renowned.
Then sang the shepherds and nymphs of Diana: Long live fair Oriana.

   (back to top)

Thomas Vautor (fl. 1592-1619): Sweet Suffolk Owl

Not a lot has been discovered about the life of Thomas Vautor either. He is however known to have worked for the Villiers family, and his one published book of madrigals Songs of Divers Airs and Natures, London, 1619) was dedicated to the infamous George Villiers, First Duke of Buckingham, scandal-ridden courtier, intimate of King James the First, and presumably Vautor's patron.

Sweet Suffolk Owl is Vautor's best-known piece; the style might be described as excitable, with lots of word painting and sudden changes of texture. Note the imitative te whit te whoo, and the rolling quavers on rolls. Towards the end the duple meter is interrupted by a section in three time to the words and sings a dirge for dying souls. This appears to quote from William Byrd's keyboard piece The Bells. Dight means 'dressed'.

Sweet, sweet Suffolk owl, so trimly dight
With feathers like a lady bright,
Thou sings't alone, sitting by night
Te whit, te whoo, te whit, te whoo.
Thy note, that forth so freely rolls,
With shrill command the mouse controls,
And sings a dirge for dying souls,
Te whit, te whoo, te whit, te whoo.

   (back to top)

Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625):The silver swan

The idea that swans sing only as death approaches is an ancient one indeed - it is first recorded in Aeschylus's play Agamemnon (458 BC), and is referred to in the works of (among others) Plato, Ovid and Martial. The Roman philosopher and naturalist Pliny the Elder however noted that experience disproved the theory (he doesn't say how he carried out the experiment).

Orlando Gibbons' take on the myth is a wistful miniature. Technically it is an accompanied song rather than a madrigal, as despite skilful part-writing and some imitation the tune remains in the top part. The piece has an ABB structure, with the music from Leaning... being repeated at Farewell... In connection with this, note one subtlety: the poignant chord at the point where the sopranos sing gainst is not particularly apposite; but the second time around the word is death. A rare example of a composer writing music for later words.

The piece comes from Gibbon' First Set of Madrigals and Mottets of 5 parts: apt for Viols and Voyces (London, 1612).

The silver Swan, who living had no note,
When death approached, unlocked her silent throat.
Leaning her breast against the reedy shore,
Thus sung her first and last, and sung no more:
Farewell, all joys; O death, come close mine eyes;
More geese than swans now live, more fools than wise.

   (back to top)

C. V. Stanford (1852-1924): The blue bird

This is one of those 'eternity caught in a moment' pieces. Poets from Wordsworth to John Clare to Edward Thomas have described scenes from nature which may hint at, but do not directly refer to any wider conclusions which might be drawn.

The words here are by Mary Coleridge (1861-1907), and the setting is one of Stanford's best-known and most distinctive. Note how the harmonies have enough movement to keep the piece pushing gently forward, but also have a static 'eternal' feel. The ending is remarkable. Stanford repeats the first line, finishing with an unresolved dominant seventh chord in the 'wrong' key; this manages both to sound final and to suggest that the scene continues in some way. It is one of the first English pieces not to end on a common chord.

The piece comes from a set of eight pieces for unaccompanied chorus published in 1910.

The lake lay blue below the hill,
O'er it as I looked, there flew
Across the waters, cold and still,
A bird whose wings were palest blue.
The sky above was blue at last,
The sky beneath me blue in blue
A moment, ere the bird had passed,
It caught his image as it flew.

Stanford: Two Preludes op.163 nos. 2 & 10
Andante espressivo; Waltz
(Nigel Nash, piano)

Stanford's piano music is one of the most neglected genres of his substantial output. He clearly had an affinity for the piano and played it from an early age. He gave a piano recital in his home town of Dublin when aged only nine, and played the piano throughout his life mainly as a chamber musician and as an accompanist to singers, seldom as a soloist. The Andantino and Waltz are taken from his first series of 24 Preludes in all the keys, Op.163 which date from 1918.

   (back to top)

John Farmer (c.1570-c.1601): Fair Phyllis I saw sitting all alone

Fair Phyllis is from Farmer's first Set of English Madrigals, which was published in London in 1599 on his return from four years spent in Dublin as organist of both Christ Church and St Patrick's cathedrals.

It is one of the best-known of all English madrigals, and one of the most straightforward. There is a good variety of texture: the first line is just the sopranos - appropriate as Phyllis is all alone; the second has the whole choir together - appropriate for the flock - and then there is imitation (parts coming in one after the other with the same motif) to indicate the ignorance of the shepherds and the searching of Amyntas, division into pairs to indicate the separated lovers, and finally the voices all together when they meet.

Fair Phyllis I saw sitting all alone
Feeding her flock near to the mountain side.
The shepherds knew not, they knew not whither she was gone,
But after her lover Amyntas hied,
Up and down he wandered whilst she was missing;
When he found her, O then they fell a-kissing.

   (back to top)

Thomas Morley (1557/8-1602): Now is the month of maying

Thomas Morley - composer, publisher and theorist - was the leading composer of secular music in Elizabethan England, and one of only two contemporary composers to set Shakespeare's verse to music. Now is the month was published in 1595. It is a Ballett rather than a madrigal - a light dance style piece with verses, the tune in the top part and (here) a Fa-la-la refrain.

May Day celebrations were widespread in Elizabethan England. Barley-break is an outdoor game which usually involved three couples stationed at three bases. The couple at the middle base tried to capture the others. The name may come from the breaking of the barley when the inevitable rolling-around occurred. In literature of the time the game is usually used as a sexual metaphor: it has been suggested that none of the images in Now is the month mean quite what they appear to mean.

Now is the month of maying,
When merry lads are playing, fa la,
Each with his bonny lass
Upon the greeny grass. Fa la.

The Spring, clad all in gladness,
Doth laugh at Winter's sadness, fa la,
And to the bagpipe's sound
The nymphs tread out their ground. Fa la.

Fie then! why sit we musing,
Youth's sweet delight refusing? Fa la.
Say, dainty nymphs, and speak,
Shall we play barley-break? Fa la.

   (back to top)

John Wilbye (1574-1638): Draw on, sweet Night

Melancholia was a popular concept in early seventeenth-century England, covering anything from minor annoyance and fear to sickness and depression. The Oxford clergyman Robert Burton published his great treatise The Anatomy of Melancholy in 1620; he thought of it as a medical textbook, although it is now regarded as a work of literature admired for its prose style. This madrigal, which dates from 1609, has a common frame of mind with Burton's book: the (anonymous) poet longs for night whose darkness reflects, and whose silence partly assuages, his melancholic feelings.

It is one of the longest, and quite possibly the greatest, of all the English madrigals, a miracle of musical concision in which not a note is out of place. Almost every phrase in the piece can be related to the first four-note motif sung by the sopranos (the melody at My life so ill, which appears to be new, is in fact the original melody upside-down). Another remarkable aspect of the piece is that the text gives almost no opportunity for word-painting - this abstraction seems to increase the sense of grief. Note the use of the words and music from the beginning to separate the two verses, and the complex but always lucid six-part counterpoint.

It comes from Wilbye's second book of madrigals, London, 1609.

Draw on, sweet night, best friend unto those cares
that do arise from painful melancholy;
my life so ill through want of comfort fares, that unto thee I consecrate it wholly.
Sweet night, draw on. My griefs, when they be told to shades and darkness, find some ease from paining;
and while thou all in silence dost enfold, I then shall have best time for my complaining.

   (back to top)

Edward Elgar (1857-1934): Salut d'amour op.12

This piece was composed by Elgar in July 1888, and was originally written for violin and piano. He was engaged to be married to Caroline Alice Roberts, and originally called the piece "Liebesgruss" ('Love's Greeting') because of Alice's fluency in German. When he returned home to London on 22 September from a holiday, he presented it to her as an engagement present. The dedication was in French: "à Carice". "Carice" was a combination of his wife's names Caroline Alice, and was the name to be given to their daughter born two years later.

It was not published until a year later, and the first editions were for violin and piano, piano solo, cello and piano, and for small orchestra. Few copies were sold until Schott's changed the title to "Salut d'Amour" , with "Liebesgruss" as a sub-title. The French title, Elgar realised, would help the work to be sold not only in France but in other European countries. The first public performance was of the orchestral version, at a Crystal Palace concert on 11 November 1889.

Elgar: As torrents in summer

This is the best-known of Elgar's pieces for unaccompanied choir. It is an extract from his cantata King Olav (1896). The words, by Longfellow, which appear to be self-sufficient, are in fact the 7th and 8th stanzas of eleven of a poem called The Nun of Nidaros. In this Astrid, the eponymous nun, hears these words of wisdom (and others) from St John in a vision. Elgar pulls off a neat trick in the musical setting: although the music for verse one is nearly the same as that for verse two, the second seems more intense because of the words. Fountains here are of course springs or sources rather than water features.

As torrents in summer, half dried in their channels,
Suddenly rise, tho' the sky is still cloudless,
For rain has been falling far off at their fountains;
So hearts that are fainting grow full to o'erflowing,
And they that behold it marvel, and know not
That God at their fountains far off has been raining!

   (back to top)

Frederick Delius (1862-1934): To be sung of a summer night on the water

We can supply the summer night but not, alas, the water to sing on for this one. There are no words - the chorus is instructed to 'sing on the vowel "uh" as in love' - and the water reference is apt as Delius's slithery chromatic harmonies seem fluid if not positively overhydrated. The vocal lines in every part seem to be obeying the force of gravity and slipping downwards like a stream flowing gently over rocks. Note the ending, which dies away to pppp on an added sixth chord in a key distant from the one in which we started.

This piece is the first of two for unaccompanied chorus which Delius wrote in 1920.

   (back to top)

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958):The Cloud-Capp'd Towers

Written in 1951, three years after the 6th symphony, some of whose musical material it shares, this is the second of Three Shakespeare Songs. The words are from The Tempest, Act IV, Scene I. RVW here uses mostly simple major and minor chords but experiments with the most extreme contrasts of these chords - note examples on the words towers (at the beginning), dissolve, leave, and perhaps most poignantly, dreams towards the end. In this it powerfully reinforces the text, and turns the music into something rich and strange, as a different quotation from the same play has it. The effect is to underline the insubstantial nature of the phenomenal world, as intended in Prospero's words to Ferdinand and Miranda. A rack is cloud or mist. Note the ending, which takes a major chord and changes it to a minor one, as if to mirror the act of falling asleep.

The cloud capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

   (back to top)

Gerald Finzi (1901-1956):My spirit sang all day

This is the third of a set of seven partsongs dating from 1937. It is suffused, as is much of Finzi's music, with a recognisably English turn of harmony, and it has a free approach to the rhythmic setting of the text in which the irregular rhythms are hardly noticeable to the listener - art concealing art - and the hesitancy as well as the elation of Bridges' love poem can be expressed. Whist means still or silent.

My spirit sang all day O my joy.
Nothing my tongue could say, Only My Joy!
My heart an echo caught O my joy
And spake: Tell me thy thought, Hide not thy joy.
My eyes gan peer around, O my joy,
What beauty hast thou found? Shew us thy joy.
My jealous ears grew whist:O my joy
Music from heaven is't,Sent for our joy?
She also came and heard:O my joy,
What, said she, is this word?What is thy joy?
And I replied, O see,O my joy,
'Tis thee, I cried, 'tis thee:Thou art my joy.

   (back to top)

Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901): Anvil Chorus (Il Trovatore)

Date: first performed in 1853.

Plot Summary: too complicated for the space available. It concerns swapped babies, a troubadour, gypsies and several tragic helpings of revenge. There is a poem which starts:

This is the story
Of Il Trovatore

but no-one has been able to finish it satisfactorily.

What's happening: Spain, the 15th century. Dawn. In a ruined building at the foot of a mountain range a chorus of Gypsies praise the women who brighten up their lives, while at the same time the men of the group work at their anvils. The women look on and supply the men with drink when requested.

Listen out for: the tunes.

See how the clouds melt away
from the face of the sky when the sun shines, its brightness beaming;
just as a widow, discarding her black robes,
shows all her beauty in brilliance gleaming.
So, to work now!
Lift up your hammers!
Who turns the Gypsy's day from gloom to brightest sunshine?
Fill up the goblets! New strength and courage
flow from lusty wine to soul and body.
See how the rays of the sun play and sparkle
and give to our wine gay new splendor.
So, to work now!
Who turns the Gypsy's day from gloom to brightest sunshine?
His lovely Gypsy maid!

Verdi: Va pensiero (Nabucco)

Date: first performed in 1842.

Plot summary: Nabucco (Italian shortened form of Nebuchadnezzar) defeats the Israelites and takes them captive to Babylon. He is later struck by lightning and rendered insane. Upon his religious conversion he regains his wits and saves his heir; the statue of Baal mysteriously falls over; he frees the Israelites.

What's happening: Babylon, 6th century BC. The enslaved Hebrews are taking a break from their forced labour, and sing of their lost homeland.

Listen out for: the sense of drama given by the changes in dynamics; the sure sense of direction created by Verdi's melody and harmonies.

Fly, thought, on wings of gold;
go settle upon the slopes and the hills,
where, soft and mild, the sweet airs
of our native land smell fragrant!
Greet the banks of the Jordan
and Zion's toppled towers....
Oh, my country so beautiful and lost!
Oh, remembrance so dear and so fatal!
Golden harp of the prophetic seers,
why dost thou hang mute upon the willow?
Rekindle our bosom's memories,
and speak to us of times gone by!
Mindful of the fate of Jerusalem,
give forth a sound of crude lamentation,
or may the Lord inspire you a harmony of voices
which may instill virtue to suffering.

   (back to top)

Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924): Humming chorus (Madama Butterfly)

Date: first performed in 1904.

Plot summary: Japanese girl falls for untrustworthy American, who leaves her. Three years later he sails back with an American wife; suicide of heroine.

What's happening: Nagasaki, Japan, 1904. As an offstage chorus hum this melancholy tune, the heroine Butterfly, her child and her maid settle down to the long wait for her (as it turns out) faithless lover Pinkerton to return. The maid and child are soon asleep, but Butterfly keeps her lonely vigil.

Listen out for: the very effective simplicity of the tune and accompaniment, with the choir in octaves throughout; maximum atmosphere created with minimum means.

   (back to top)

Richard Wagner (1813-1883): 'Wach Auf!' chorale (Die Meistersinger von N├╝rnberg)

Date: first performed in 1868.

Plot summary: Pretty girl is offered as the prize in a song competition. Young handsome and talented newcomer wins both competition and heart of the girl.

What's happening: Nuremberg, Germany, 16th century: a meadow outside the town where the population has gone to witness the song contest. The apprentices call for silence; the crowd recognises and greets the musical cobbler Hans Sachs.

Listen out for: the chorale, which starts Wach auf! This is based on a tune written by the real Hans Sachs. The final section after this is enthusiastic acclaim of Sachs.

Apprentices: Silence! Speak no word, let no sound be heard!
People: See! Meister Sachs! Begin!
Awake! The dawn of day draws near;
from deepest woods I hear
a soul-cheering nightingale,
his voice sounds o'er hill and dale;
the night sinks down in western skies,
the day from eastern realms doth rise,
the red glow of the dawn awakes
and through the cloudbank breaks.
Hail, Nuremberg's Sachs!

   (back to top)

Grayston Ives(b.1948): Name that tune

Any introduction to this jeux d'esprit would take away from the surprise element which is a large part of the piece's charm. Suffice it to say that a) 'Name those tunes' would be a more accurate title, and b) it's the hardest piece to sing (and conduct) on tonight's programme. Grayston "Bill" Ives was at one time a member of the King's Singers. He has an enviable comic touch.

   (back to top)

arr. Roderick Williams (b.1965): I got a robe

Many of you will remember Roderick Williams, who sang the Bass arias in our recent performance of Bach's St Matthew Passion in Bath Abbey; his Mache Dich was one of the highlights of an evening not short of highlights. This arrangement of a well-known spiritual shows another side to Roddy's musicality: simple but effective, with nice contrasts between solos and tutti, and between slower and faster sections.

   (back to top)

arr. Andrew Pryce Jackman (1946-2003):Swing low, sweet chariot

This tune has of course been rather hijacked recently by England Rugby supporters. This arrangement freshens it up nicely, with cool minim chords on the piano in the first and last sections, and a middle section more inspired by Soul. At the end of this middle section listen for a very effective passage for choir alone, which is marked Hushed and ecstatic, and which leads back gently to the opening cool chords.

   (back to top)

George Gershwin: Three Preludes for piano (Nigel Nash)

These preludes were first performed by the composer at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York in 1926. Each prelude is a well known example of early 20th century American classical music, with a strong influence of jazz. Gershwin originally planned to compose twenty four preludes for this group of works. The number was reduced to seven in manuscript form, and then reduced to five in public performance, and further decreased to three when first published in 1926.

The first prelude, Allegro ben ritmato e deciso in B flat major, begins with a five-note blues motif and virtually all the melodic material in the piece is based on this theme. Syncopated rhythms based on Brazilian baio rhythms and chords containing flattened sevenths occur throughout. Although these sounds are far from adventurous by modern standards, to the audiences of the late 1920s they were almost unheard of.

The second Prelude, Andante con moto e poco rubato in C sharp minor, also has the distinct flavour of jazz. The piece begins with a subdued melody winding its way above a smooth, steady bassline. The harmonies and melodies of this piece emphasise both the interval of the seventh and the major/minor duality of the blues scale. Gershwin himself referred to the piece as "a sort of blues lullaby."

In the third piece, Agitato, after a brief introduction, the main theme is revealed: two melodies that together form a question-and-answer pair. This pair is used throughout to provide harmonic structure, with the question harmonised using E-flat minor chords, while the answer is harmonised with E-flat major chords. After a brief, highly syncopated middle section, the melodies return in octaves, causing a battle between major and minor. Major eventually wins, and the piece concludes with a flourish.

   (back to top)

arr. Percy Grainger (1882-1961) arr. Tall:Country Gardens

It is not generally known that the tune Country Gardens was not written by Percy Grainger. It is an English folk tune, collected by Cecil Sharp. Sharp published it, without words, in his collection Morris Dance Tunes Set 1 (c. 1907) with the subtitle Handkerchief Dance. Percy Grainger's piano version, which adds some typically Graingerish slippery harmonies and a lot of extra vitality, was published in 1912, and rapidly became very popular. Note that Country Gardens is the correct title, not In an English Country Garden, words sometimes used for the last phrase.

This evening's version of the tune, freely arranged for SATB a cappella by David Tall, owes a certain amount to Grainger's version, particularly in the harmony. It doesn't use any words - the choir are asked to sing syllables such as Du, lu, drrum and dum. There's a bit in the middle where the men whistle. All jolly good fun. Two You Tube versions are worth looking out: Grainger's own piano roll recording (typically fast and aggressive), and for a completely different take on the piece, try Rolf Harris.

   (back to top)

arr. Bob Chilcott (b.1955):Londonderry Air

This melody was collected from a local fiddle player in the mid nineteenth century by one Jane Ross of Limavady, County Londonderry. The words, often thought of as quintessentially Irish, were actually written in 1910 by an Englishman, Fred Weatherly (who came from Portishead). Originally intended for a different tune, they were modified in 1913 for the present well-known melody when a copy was sent to him from America by his sister-in-law. Weatherly remarked with perhaps justified satisfaction that the song is not political but was (and is) sung equally by people from different traditions.

Bob Chilcott has overlaid the well-known melody with a piano part that is different from it: simple-sounding but harmonically quite complex. Lovers of smoochy choral singing will enjoy this one.

O Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling,
From glen to glen and down the mountain side,
The summer's gone and all the roses falling,
'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide.
But come you back when summer's in the meadow,
Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow,
'Tis I'll be there in sunshine or in shadow,
O Danny boy, O Danny boy, I love you so.
And when you come and all the flowers are dying,
If I am dead, as dead I well may be,
Ye'll come and find a place where I am lying
And kneel and say an Ave there for me.
And I shall hear the soft your tread above me,
And all my grave shall warmer, sweeter be,
For you will bend and tell me that you love me,
And I shall lie in peace until you come to me.

   (back to top)

Ernst Toch (1887-1964):Geographical Fugue

Ernst Toch was a serious classical composer. Born in Vienna, he was educated at Heidelberg University and taught at the Mannheim Conservatory until 1933, when left Germany for America via England. In the US he wrote the music for several films - the best known perhaps being The Cat and the Canary starring Bob Hope - and won a Pulitzer prize for his Third Symphony. He introduced the idea of the spoken chorus in his suite Gesprochene Musik (spoken music), first performed in Berlin in 1930, of which the present piece is the third movement. Toch himself understandably described his most famous composition as an "unimportant diversion".

Originally called Fuge aus der Geographie, it was translated into English by the American composers Henry Cowell and John Cage; in practice the two versions are very similar. The original first line was Ratibor! (the German version of Racibórz in Southern Poland), and Athen (Athens) was replaced by Tibet.

Trinidad!
And the big Mississippi
and the town Honolulu
and the lake Titicaca,
the Popocatepetl is not in Canada,
rather in Mexico, Mexico, Mexico!
Canada, Malaga, Rimini, Brindisi
Yes, Tibet, Tibet, Tibet, Tibet,
Nagasaki! Yokohama!

   (back to top)

Arr. Bob Chilcott (b.1955):Ev'ry time I feel the Spirit

According to his Facebook page, "Bob Chilcott is one of the world's premier composers and choral conductors in Britain today". In this speedy and energetic Spiritual arrangement he has given the choir soul-inspired harmonies but has restricted all parts to the same rhythm throughout, and he has provided the piano with a great variety of texture within the prevailing harmonies. The structure is simple: the chorus (to the words Ev'ry time...) appears four times with three verses in between, and there is a short coda which extends the chorus and breaks up the eight-bar phrase structure. A suitably upbeat ending to our concert this evening.