Hard to imagine, but a few weeks from now we'll be in Singapore. Our arrival is being announced by this promo video which features us singing Rasa Sayang, a Singaporean song. Those of us who were there last time are thrilled to go back. But we're getting ahead of ourselves - first Santa Clara, Sacramento, Berkeley, and San Francisco.
Viewing entries in
Mahler's favorite corner of Italy is also one of ours. In the memory of most of the ensemble, we've found ourselves in Brixen/Bressanone 3 times in the last few years, both summer and winter, and have made friends - many familiar faces in the audience. Our community sing + concert in Aosta and Val Gardena in 2012 was a blast. Samuel Runggaldier ( who organized it) and friends always come to our concerts when we're in the neighborhood and are very audibly enthusiastic. Tolbach, site of tonight's concert, 75 minutes from Brixen, has a festival in honor of Gustav Mahler who spent the summers of l908-10 there. The Sala/Saal Gustav Mahler is a really great acoustical room, and our first outing of the tour seemed to be a hit. We put 3 Mahler songs into The Gypsy in My Soul in his honor. It rained in Tolbach, and the heatwave may have broken. Tomorrow night Spanish Gold in the Cathedral in Brixen.
The Early Music Guild of Seattle had us to Town Hall tonight as the last event in their International Series. We went back to our early music roots, added on some Russian, and ended with Swing Down Chariot. In the audience were Doug Wyatt, one of the very first members of Chanticleer in 1978, and Gabe Lewis-O'Connor (and his wife and mother) who lives in Seattle now. It's always great to see people we've sung with along the way, and really inspiring to see guys from Chanticleer's beginning.
Here is a great review in the Madison Magazine from our February 21st performance:
Chanticleer still sets the standard
The “world’s reigning male chorus” still gets it right after all these yearsAuthor: Greg Hettmansberger
Not everyone was in a hurry to leave their seats at intermission of the concert presented by [Chanticleer] www.chanticleer.org in Shannon Hall Saturday night. Some of us just had to catch our breath, even if the dozen men on stage never seemed to. A gentleman one row back was heard to say: “They’re so precise!” Italics and exclamation point were in his voice, not an editorial addition.
Few better descriptions could have been given more succinctly: In half a program that already spanned over four hundred years, Chanticleer again and again made each style authentic with energy and yes, precision that may be matched, but hard to imagine it being exceeded.
Yours truly expected no less, although it has been at least sixteen years since I’d heard the ensemble in live performance. Not surprisingly, only one current member was singing with them back then—but the group had already been around for a little over twenty years, and personnel turnover is a gradual, but regular thing.
This season’s program is “The Gypsy in My Soul,” music inspired by, if not originally from, the spirit of the nomadic folks of central Europe. Fittingly, the group opened with an arrangement of “Wayfaring Stranger,” that began with a single voice, then two, gradually building to the full complement of voices. Next came part of what the group does best (which is saying something): A set of three motets from Palestrina, Byrd and Victoria, with the outer examples each a setting of lines from the Jews’ exile in Babylon.
Astonishing variety of mood, language and style followed in selections from Poulenc’s sassy and saucy “Chansons Francaises,” modern folk-like original songs by Ligeti, and actual Hungarian folksongs arranged by Bartok. In between came a stunning arrangement of Villa-Lobos “Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5,” that ubiquitous and seductive music originally for soprano and eight cellos. Alto Cortez Mitchell was the hypnotic soloist, and the ensemble made the “accompaniment” virtually orchestral.
The second half featured some extraordinary rarities from Rautavaara and Falla, with a compelling “Nino de rosas” of contemporary composer Steven Sametz. His setting of the seventeenth-century text of Jacinto de Evia describes an encounter between a gypsy girl and Christ as a child, and the result was mesmerizing and provocative.
Too many tantalizing possibilities were listed from the closing set of “to be selected from,” but we were treated to an amusing and beguiling “Caravan” of Duke Ellington, “Journey to Recife” by Dick Evans and Brian Hinman’s arrangement retitled “Swing Down, Chariot.” Many in the nearly sold-out house must have had their appetites whetted, as a throng lingered to talk with members of the group and purchase a CD or two in the Sunset Lounge adjacent to the Union Theater’s Shannon Hall. It had been a night to recall memories … and make some new ones.
We have now performed our new Christmas program in Washington DC, Manassas, VA and Chicago. Audiences are in the spirit, and so are we! having the weather cooperate with our travel, is a big plus.We're now in New York for two concerts at our new home here, St. Ignatius Loyola,as well as one in Westport, CT at Christ and Holy Trinity Church.
Meanwhile our Music Director Designate, Fred Scott, was interviewed by Georgia Public Broadcasting in preparation for the broadcast of our Christmas show which we'll be taping at St. Ignatius.
Also meanwhile on the West Coast, in San Francisco and environs, LAB XIII is caroling like crazy. Ben Johns reports:
There are two more caroling events for LAB XII this weekend, including a third appearance at Davies Symphony Hall on Sunday. The season is in full swing!"