In a program filled with joy and lyricism, we celebrate music’s power and beauty with “music about music”: Britten Hymn to St. Cecilia, Carter Musicians Wrestle Everywhere, Elgar There is Sweet Music, Finzi My Spirit Sang All Day, Sametz I Have Had Singing, Vaughan Williams Silence and Music, and Renaissance works by Goudimel, L’Estocart and Sweelinck.
Eight premieres are on the program, 3 by winners of our first nationwide New Voices Competition, and 5 premieres from local composers—Bay Area luminary Maia Aprahamian, our 2005 Composer-in-Residence; Choral Artists’ discovery Robin Estrada, a recent SF Conservatory graduate; John Kelley, winner of G. Schirmer’s 1997 Young Americans Choral Competition; Jerry Mueller, professor of music at City College; and Martha Stoddard, music teacher in San Francisco and Artistic Director of the Oakland Civic Orchestra.
Britten Hymn to St. Cecilia, the major work on the program, is a 3-part a cappella work for choir and 5 soloists. The music and lyrics are spiritual and innocent yet at the same time sensual, and even erotic in places. The text consists of poems by W. H. Auden. Auden’s muse, Cecilia, was a real person and is regarded as the patroness of musicians. An account of her life is found in “The Second Nun’s Tale” in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, drawn from the 13th century Golden Legend, a mediaeval book of ecclesiastical lore.
Altogether, it’s a program that shows just how much of a Bay Area treasure the Choral Artists have become in 20 years!