A warm Christmas in Santa Fe

Saturday, December 8th, 2012
Temperatures were on the warm side – as they were in Chicago – we haven’t had a white Christmas yet, except a bit as we left Boston for Purchase. Guess we won’t have a white Christmas, unless something radical happens in the San Francisco Bay Area where we are heading today to start our run there in Berkeley on Monday night. Last night’s concert was a wonderful experience as described here by Jace: The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis has an ideal acoustic for the concert, and a pretty church, too. The audience was very attentive and the performance was essentially sold out. The audience here clearly knows music (after all they clearly hear plenty of good singing in Santa Fe) and they were at once attentive and enthusiastic. Even in the back row, the sound was warm and clear. You could hear every word, and several people clearly knew the repertoire. All in all a great concert experience in one of our country’s more unique cities.

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3 Responses to “A warm Christmas in Santa Fe”

  1. Jean Kenin says:

    Oh Liv,
    I am going to try to tell you about our exquisite experience last night, but I am afraid words will not do it justice. Stephen and I rode to Santa Fe with your folks, which was in itself a treat.
    The cathedral where the performance was held has very lively acoustics- I believe you could hear a whisper across its great expanse.
    Chanticleer entered from the back, with quiet clear soprano notes floating on the ethers, then riding on the sustained bass note, with harmonies drifting in and out and around the room as if carried by angels who were weaving a delicate golden braid for wrapping around the great Christmas tree of our hearts. They had us.
    This vocal group is perfection in so many ways- and I have to try to enumerate them. They have above all perfected ensemble. The restraint they exercise- never bursting into raucous loudness, but bringing the volume up (and rarely) only as far as required while still maintaining the purest balance and blend is the first thing I want to mention. Rare! Though each member of Chanticleer is capable of beautiful solos – and we heard many from time to time in the course of the performance- there don’t seem to be any divas in the group. Divas are not what they are about: pure choral experience is. People like me, who have spent their lifetimes trying to create/be a part of such singing must all sigh deeply, longingly, in the presence of such astonishing beauty.
    Then they were pitch and tone perfect, so that in the unfolding of each piece the listener could recognize the full vision of the composer: delicate chords shifting to ever increasing spiritual heights, mesmerizing overtones, and an almost out-of-body blend that has to do with the purity of the male voices, the very subtle, sometimes non-existant vibrato. I grew up listening to recordings of boys choirs from England- the Kings College Choir, New College Oxford, Cambridge, etc, – boys and mens voices bringing what was for my family the epitome of Christmas music to our home. In Chanticleer I was able to relive and revive that experience, but with the added intentional perfection, scholarship and practiced professionalism these twelve men bring to the music they sing.
    The musical selections, their groupings, the wonderful pitch fork note-finding (the note is purely, softly vocalized, and then everyone coming in on a different perfect pitch related to the first- I love that), the wonderfully synchronized bows, the crisp walk into and out of the room, the flawless configurations of singers re-staged for maximum sound and blend for each piece, the unwavering artistry.
    As I write, moments, actually sounds of the evening are floating around my head, and I realize I am still transported, and so deeply grateful for the power and beauty Chanticleer brings to our time.
    Afterwards we went over to La Fonda for water, some beverage before our drive home, and in the lobby we came across some of the members of the group. Real, actual, darling men in the flesh. When they heard we were from Taos they said, oh, our wonderful development director is from Taos. And we said, here are her parents. And they met your folks and said, we love Liv.
    We do love Liv!
    And thank you for all you do to help sustain these amazing magical musicians.

  2. Bill McArthur says:

    The concert was extraordinary. Your musicianship was unparalleled. You introduced me to Arvo Part! Most of all, your enthusiasm for the music, the audience, and each other took me back to the days when I performed in a touring college choral group. As I sat in the front row, I felt as though I shared in your joy of the moment. Thank you all and Happy Holidays.

  3. Doug says:

    Yes…I was in Santa Fe when they performed ….tickets (if you could get them) were $50.00! But, then again…Santa Fe has a lot of very wealthy people. There are two kinds of people who live in Santa Fe…the very, very wealthy and those who work for the very, very wealthy. Fortunately, I was able to talk to a few of the group, on a flight from Santa Fe to San Francisco, the day after their concert. Interesting guys…

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