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Choir ends season with love

By: Anna Borowiecki

  |  Posted: Saturday, May 24, 2014 06:00 am

CHOIR SEASON – i Coristi ends its season with Primavera on Saturday, May 24.
CHOIR SEASON – i Coristi ends its season with Primavera on Saturday, May 24.
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i Coristi Chamber Choir
Saturday, May 24 at 7:30 p.m.
Holy Trinity Anglican Church
10037 – 84 Ave.
Tickets: $18 adults, $13 students-seniors. Call 780-420-1757 or purchase online at tixonthesquare.ca

For choirs, spring is more than a season. It is a ritual of celebration.

For its 20th anniversary season finale, i Coristi Chamber Choir welcomes the season of warm suns and gentle winds with Primavera.

The 23-member mixed choir sings this salutation tonight at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Edmonton.

“Typically at this type of concert the music is framed with love songs and new beginnings,” said music director Rob Curtis.

The concert focal point is Jonathan Dove’s beautiful song cycle The Passing of the Year for double chorus and piano.

“I sang this in 2005 when I was part of the Madrigal Singers at the University of Alberta. We took three movements to Los Angeles for the National Choral Convention. I’ve always liked it and wanted to do it again. This was the first piece I picked and the others were centred around this theme,” Curtis said.

Dove sets the sparkling, spring poetry from various English poets including William Blake, Emily Dickinson and Lord Alfred Tennyson.

“The character of the music is very energetic. The way Dove puts music together and layers it creates beautiful shifting melodies.”

A second equally noteworthy piece is the world premiere of St. Albert composer Trent Worthington’s Jag Vill Möta. i Coristi specifically commissioned Worthington to write music to one of Swedish poet Karin Boye’s texts.

Born in 1900, Boye committed suicide 44 years later. She led a tragic life as a lesbian and at one point had a crisis of faith.

“This poem speaks of the fear of needing protection. The poem is not specific about what, but it ends with a line about casting the armour away and living without the need for protection,” Worthington explained.

“To me the poem spoke volumes and I felt I needed to address it and was grateful for being given the opportunity to bring it to air.”

The former artistic associate for Pro Coro Chamber Choir, Worthington now limits his musical pursuits to composing while teaching Grade 7 math and science at Sir George Simpson Junior High School.

“It was hard not to be moved when you read the poem and pondered the significance not only for this lady in the early 1900s but also for people in the current news. It’s not universally accepted in many cultures and music is a way to share ideas and leave a footprint in the larger society.”

As glum as the poem sounds, Worthington reassures us that Boye talked about spring dawning that dispelled the cold and sprouted shoots for a new life.

Curtis is full of praise for Worthington’s setting.

“He does an incredible job of getting at the different shades of meaning,” Curtis said. “It starts strong and militant, but you hear the vulnerability. There’s lots of imagery about the cold, a counterpoint to the arrival of spring and he nails the cold sound. It’s great writing for choir. He understands what a choir’s instrument is like and he takes great advantage of its possibilities.”

Also on the program is Tarik O’Regan’s Beloved, All Things Ceased, a sensual love poem taken from the text of St. John of the Cross.

“On the surface it’s a poem about someone sneaking out to meet their lover but it’s also a metaphor for the soul encountering God.”

Lastly, Ralph Vaughn Williams’ folk songs and Felix Mendelssohn’s tunes of spring love pepper the program.

“All great things come with spring. We have some really fantastic music and this will be an energetic, fun concert.”

i Coristi is hosting its annual auditions on June 9 and 10 at Holy Trinity Anglican Church at 7 p.m. The church is at 10037 – 84 Ave.


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