Thursday, March 28, 2019

Technology, Rehearsals, and Composer Ola Gjeilo

Tonight is going to be a very cool evening at LCA rehearsal. We have invited Ola Gjeilo, composer and pianist, to join us via Skype during our rehearsal tonight. This is not the first time I have experienced a Skype rehearsal. And of course as many people, I have interviewed for jobs, engaged with old friends, and connected with other directors via Skype or Facetime. But no matter what I love the fact the technology has made it so much easier for choir, conductors, and composers to make meaningful connections around music.
Ola Gjeilo
As a part of this evenings session I will be recording session and I hope to have that video posted on our social media pages early next week.

Choir of Royal Holloway
The music we will be performing on our spring concert from Ola is called Ecce Novum. We have previously performed this on holiday concert in December with piano. I am very excited to tell you that this time we will be adding strings (violins, violas, cello) in May.

12 Ensemble
The piece was originally performed by the Choir of Royal Holloway and 12 Ensemble. Ola wrote the text for this composition. It distills the joy of the birth of Christ into a beautiful "soundscape." Sung in Latin, this piece like many of Ola's focus mostly on the sound of the words, in combination with the instrumentation. Though the actual translation is beautiful, the text is there to support an overall concept of sound more that be clearly understood.
I look forward to sharing more insight from Ola after our session tonight.

Here is a link to the original recording.

And please come and hear our performance of the music on May 19th at First United Methodist Church in Lincoln, NE at 4pm.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Fern Hill: A Melancholy Masterpiece

Fern Hill, with text by Dylan Thomas, and the first of three settings called "A Dylan Thomas Trilogy" by composer John Corigliano will be featured on the Lincoln Choral Artists spring concert:
Modus Emotus: Exploring Human Emotion - Love and Longing.

Facebook Event Concert Page

I will be sharing a lot of information about this piece at our annual "InChoir" Event on Thursday, May 2nd. For more info visit: "InChoir" Event

Today, I simply want to give a little info on the feeling of and reasoning for performing this piece. It has become a Choral Masterwork and a huge part of the standard repertoire for American Choirs. This is second time I will have conducted the piece.

The music from it's open measures elicits a melancholy nature that moves quickly into moments of youthful exuberance and even dark flickers of hidden memories. The text, full text , which is really a memory of Dylan's childhood visits to a family farm, are filled with interesting and familiar tropes. This is definitely not the farm of the Midwest, it is in Wales, but it is quintessentially "American" in feel being interpreted and set by John Corigliano. I think many singers and audience attendees can and do make a strong familial connection to this text. I know I did about 20 years ago when I first heard this music on the Kansas City Chorale's recording on the same name, Fern Hill. I love the challenge of putting together an extended work for a choir like LCA to perform. Our last endeavors of this kind were Beethoven's Choral Fantasy and selected movements from Brahm's Requiem.

I am very excited to share this music and more about this piece in upcoming weeks, on May 2nd for the "InChoir" Event and culminating with the performance on May 19th. Both event will be held at First United Methodist Church in Lincoln, NE.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Video post for March 14, 2019

Today I'm posting another facebook live video as this week's blog post. I first give thank you to those involved with out Fundraiser concert back on March 3. I then give a little info on our upcoming concert on May 19th. Hope you enjoy!