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Chanticleer Program Notes

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This program, titled She Said/He Said, is a complex and emotionally charged dialogue between the sexes. Godliness bestowed upon women (by men) is extolled in works by Andrea Gabrieli and Eric Whitacre. The bawdiest of Renaissance Madrigals, standards by Cole Porter and Ravel’s dramatic Trois chansons will revisit this this age-old topic. She Said/He Said features the wide-ranging voices of Hildegard von Bingen, Stacy Garrop, Joni Mitchell and more.

notes by Andrew Morgan, Kip Cranna,
Joseph Jennings, Jace Wittig, Gregory Peebles and Brian Hinman.
Thanks to Valérie Sainte-Agathe, Alessandra Cattani, Katja Zuske, and Elena Sharkova for assistance.

Gaude gloriosa à 5 – Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1525 – 1594)

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the focal point for some of the most inspired writing in musical liturgy. Composers from the Middle Ages to the present day have composed countless works—from brief motets to elaborate masses—in Her honor. Full of adoration, reverence, passionate pleas for mercy, and solemn prayers for intercession, the Marian motet was perhaps most perfectly realized in the hands of Renaissance masters from Italy and Spain.

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina was born in the Italian town from which he took his name. He was maestro di cappella at St. Peter’s in Rome from 1551 to 1554 and from 1571 until his death in 1594. His fame as the outstanding representative of the Roman school caused his name to be directly associated with the “strict” style of Renaissance counterpoint used as a pedagogical model by students of nearly every succeeding generation. In Gaude gloriosa, Palestrina demonstrates his mastery of these contrapuntal techniques. The meticulous voice leading and refined dissonance treatment now universally idealized as the “Palestrina style” are pervasive, and the composer infuses this motet with a celebratory spirit.

Gaude gloriosa, Joy be yours, glorious One,
super omnes speciosa. surpassing all others in beauty.
Vale, o valde decora, Farewell, supremely lovely Lady,
et pro nobis Christum exora. pray for us to Christ.

Regina caeli laetare à 8 – Tomás Luis de Victoria (c. 1548 – 1611)

Spanish composer and organist Tomás Luis de Victoria, like many of his contemporaries, traveled to Rome to learn his art. It is possible that Victoria studied with Palestrina while he was there; he was certainly one of the few late-Renaissance composers to master the subtlety of the Prince of Rome. Victoria’s many compositions, comprised exclusively of sacred works, brought him a great deal of fame during his lifetime, primarily due to his ability to publish lavish volumes of his works.

Victoria felt a great affection for the four Marian antiphons, composing numerous settings of these texts. Regina caeli laetare, for eight-voiced double choir, displays Victoria’s penchant for music of a joyful nature. Lively, dance-like alleluia sections break up the predominant texture, comprised of close imitation and fast scalar passages.

Regina caeli laetare, alleluia: Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia:
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia. For He whom you were worthy to bear, alleluia.
Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia: He has risen as He said, alleluia:
ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia. Pray for us to God, alleluia.

O frondens virga – Hildegard von Bingen (1098 – 1179)

Hildegard of Bingen is one of the earliest documented female composers of the West. Her compositions, however, were only one in the polymath’s astounding array of gifts. In addition to her duties as a Magistra of her convent, the Abbess—also a mystic and botanist—experienced her first divine visions at the age of three, as she explains in her autobiography, Vita. A person of letters in the truest sense, not only was von Bingen a confidante of Popes and magistrates, among her accomplishments is the creation of Ordo virtutum, the earliest extant morality play. By the time she had reached adolescence, either because of her unusual nature, or as an attempt to position themselves politically, von Bingen’s parents enclosed her in a nunnery. Therein, she was placed under the care of Jutta, another visionary with her own disciples, who played a pivotal role in Hildegard’s education and upbringing. Written by the Abbess to be sung by the daughters of her convent during the hours of the Office, O frondens virga finds its roots in Gregorian Chant, the wellspring of much liturgical melody.

O frondens virga, O virginous branch,
in tua nobilitate stans You grow and blossom with such nobility
sicut aurora procedit. like the breaking dawn.
Nunc gaude et laetare Now rejoice
et nos debiles dignare. and lift us to your heavenly treetop.
A mala consuetudine liberare From our sins deliver us
atque manum tuam porrige and with your hand
ad erigendum nos. raise us up.

Ave Virgo sanctissima – Francisco Guerrero (c. 1532 – 1585)

Although his music is relatively neglected today, Francisco Guerrero was second in importance only to Victoria during the Spanish Renaissance. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Guerrero received his musical training in Spain, rather than Rome, studying with his older brother Pedro and, more importantly, Cristóbal de Morales. He taught himself to play the vihuela (a Spanish predecessor of the guitar), cornett, and organ. At the recommendation of Morales, Guerrero was appointed maestro de capilla at Jaén Cathedral at only seventeen years of age. He went on to serve in the same position at the Seville Cathedral, a post he held until his death. The effort and money he invested in publishing his music paid off in a certain degree of fame during his lifetime, becoming known as far away as South America. Indeed, his music remained widely performed in the cathedrals of Spain and New Spain for more than two hundred years after his death. His setting of Ave Virgo sanctissima is a fine example of High Renaissance motet composition, drawing the primary melody from plainsong and developing it imitatively in all vocal parts.

Ave Virgo sanctissima, Hail, most holy Virgin
Dei mater piisima, most pious Mother of God,
maris stella clarissima. bright star of the sea.
Salve semper gloriosa Hail, ever glorious
margarita pretiosa, precious pearl,
sicut lilium Formosa, like a beautiful lily,
nitens olens velut rosa. as full of perfume as the rose.

Tirsi morir volea — Andrea Gabrieli (c. 1532 – 1585)

Andrea Gabrieli—uncle to the somewhat more famous Giovanni of the same surname—was a leading figure in the musical culture of Renaissance Venice. Like other preeminent composers of the time, the elder Gabrieli was equally comfortable in sacred and secular spheres, and his skill as a composer is observed equally in his polychoral motets for San Marco and the bawdiest of his madrigals. In Tirsi morir volea, (with a poem by Guarini) Gabrieli persistently and quite evidently plays on the common Renaissance poetic device of equating “dying” with the notion of sexual climax. Seen in this light, the madrigal represents a masterpiece of understated eroticism. In the manner of his double-choir sacred works, Gabrieli uses seven parts, divided into three-plus-four, to create a sensual dialogue between the shepherd Tirsi (represented by the lower voices) and the nymph Clori – two ardent lovers who “return to life in order to die again.”

Tirsi morir volea, Thyrsis desired death,
gl’occhi mirando di colei ch’adora looking into the eyes of the one he adored
quand’ella, che di lui non men ardea li disse: when she, who burned no less for him said to him:
“Oimé, ben mio, deh, non morir ancora “Alas my dear, do not die yet
che teco bramo di morir anch’io.” For I desire to die with you.”
Frenò Tirsi il desio Thyrsis reined in his desire
ch’hebbe di pur sua vit’allor finire, to end his life now,
ma sentia mort’in non poter morire, but felt death in being unable to die,
E mentre’l guardo suo fisso tenea and while he kept his gaze fixed
ne’ begli’occhi divini on these beautiful divine eyes
e’l nettare amoroso indi bevea. he drank the amorous nectar.
La bella ninfa sua, che già vicini, His beautiful nymph, who felt
sentia i messi d’Amore Love’s beckoning draw nigh,
disse con occhi languidi e tremanti: said with languid and trembling eyes:
“Mori, cor mio, ch’io moro.” “Die my love, for I die also.”
Cui rispose il Pastore: The shepherd answered her:
“Et io, mia vita, moro.” “And I, my life, die.”
Così moriro i fortunati amanti Thus the fortunate lovers
di Morte si soave e sì gradita died so sweet and welcome a death
che per ancor morir tornaro in vita. that they returned to life to die again.

Quando nascesti, Amor? – Adrian Willaert (c. 1490 – 1562)
Lasso ch’i’ardo

When Adrian Willaert was appointed as maestro di cappella of San Marco—a position he seems to have come upon through special intervention of the Doge—Venice was rivaled in her musical excellence only by private patrons maintaining chapels particularly intended for the singing of polyphonic masses. So well loved was Willaert’s style that he was called by many contemporaries “the new Pythagoras”. His perfection of both polyphonic and polychoral styles led contemporary writer Andrea Calmo to effuse, “your music, my dearest friend, has been distilled in seven alembis, purified in nine waters, and refined in flames”—high alchemical praise for transformative music. His madrigal compositions are beautifully nuanced interpretations of text; in the following two selections, the composer sets sonnets. Quando nascesti, Amor? uses two groups of voices in a polychoral style to create a dialog on the origins of love. The text is a sonnet by Serafino dell’Aquila. In contrast to his work in the polychoral style, Lasso ch’i’ardo is wonderfully illustrative of Willaert’s versatility as a composer, with achingly beautiful lines and expressive text painting showing a clear link to his Franco-Flemish training.

Quando nascesti, Amor?

Quando nascesti, Amor? When were you born, Love?
Quando la terra sì rivestì di verde e bel colore. When Earth was dressed in flowers and verdant color.
Allor di che nascesti? Of what were you created?
D’un ardore che otio e lascivia Of lust and sloth, of a fire
in se richiud’ e serra. which is self-contained.
Chi ti costrinse à farne tanta guerra? Who gave you power to distract the breast with war?
Calda speranaza e gelido timore. Warm hope and chilling fear.
In cui fai la tua stanza? Where do you dwell?
In gentil core che sotto el mio valor In gentle hearts, which bow beneath my influence,
tosto s’atterra. first and best.
Chi fu la tua nutrice? Who nursed you?
Giovinezza, e le serve che furno à lei d’intorno, Youth, and those things which serve her;
Vanità, gelosia, pomp’ e bellezza. Vanity, jealousy, grace, and beauty.
Di che ti pasci? What do you feed on?
D’un parlar adorno. Ornate words and flattery.
Offendeti la morte o la vecchiezza? Have age or Death any power against thee?
No, ch’io rinasco mille volte il giorno. No, for I die and return to life a thousand times a day.

Lasso ch’i’ardo

Lasso, ch’i’ardo, e altri non me’l crede; Alas, I burn, and none will believe me;
sì crede ogn’uom, se non sola colei even if all the world believed, she whom I wish
che sovr’ogni altra, vorrei: above all would believe, still does not:
ella non par che’l creda, e sì sel vede. she does not seem to believe, and yet she sees.

Infinita bellezza e pocca fede, Infinite beauty, yet of such little faith,
non vedete voi’l cor negli occhi miei? do you not see my heart in my eyes?
Se non fosse mia stella, i’pur devrei If my fate were not otherwise, I would
al fonte di pietà trovar mercede. find mercy at the fountain of pity.

Oimè se tanto amate – Claudio Monteverdi (1567 – 1643)

Monteverdi’s eight books of madrigals span the stylistic gamut from Marenzio-inspired early works to later, groundbreaking continuo madrigals almost akin to dramatic cantatas. From Monteverdi’s 1603 collection of Madrigals (Book IV), Oimè se tanto amate shows the composer clearly looking forward. Line, harmony, and tempo are subservient to the text more often than not. There are early examples of stile rappresentativo—rhythmic declamations of words and phrases in a natural rhythm, dictated by the cadence of speech more than by note values or counterpoint (an early precursor to operatic recitative). Melody is often set clearly in one or two voices, while others supply harmonic support and energy to amplify the emotion in the text. Such is often the case in this selection, which represents the culmination of nearly every hallmark Venetian element of style—inventive harmony, subtle counterpoint, witty double entendre, and wonderfully imaginative text painting.

Oimè, se tanto amate Oimè [a sigh], if you are so fond
di sentir dir “Oimè” deh perché fate of hearing “Oimè” spoken, why do you
chi dice “Oimè” morire? make whomever says “Oimè” die?
S’io moro un sol potrete If I die, you’ll be able to hear
languido e doloroso “Oimè” sentire. only one languid and sorrowful “Oimè.”
Ma se, cor mio, volete But, my sweetheart, if you will let me draw life
che vita habbia da voi, e voi da me, from you, and you from me, then you will have
havrete mill’e mille dolci “Oimè.” thousands and thousands of sweet “Oimès.”

Schöne Fremde, from Gartenlieder – Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (1805 – 1847)
Wasserfahrt, from Sechs Lieder, op. 50 – Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847)

The Mendelssohn family hailed from Hamburg, Germany—at the time an independent city-state—and had four children. Fanny and Felix each showed extraordinary promise as musicians at a very young age, playing the piano from early childhood and composing major works by the advent of their respective teenage years. Fanny was considered for some time to be the superior musician, and their shared musical tutor and mentor (Carl Friedrich Zelter) spoke of her quite favorably. She composed well over 400 pieces of music in her lifetime but was ultimately beholden to time and place—it was not considered acceptable for a woman to have a musical career, thus her efforts were restricted to chamber music. Nonetheless, her works have endured, earning her a place as one of the best-understood female composers from the period. Schöne Fremde, from Gartenlieder, displays her gifts for melody and playful text painting, setting at text by Eichendorff.

Felix Mendelssohn wrote his Sechs Lieder (op. 50) just before 1840. Scholars often remark that the composer’s shorter works succeed in emotional intensity where longer works are lacking—certainly in Wasserfahrt, he captures the dreary atmosphere and melancholy mood of Heinrich Heine’s poem.

Schöne Fremde

Es rauschen die Wipfel und schauern, The treetops rustle and shiver
Als machten zu dieser Stund as if at this hour
Um die halbverfallenen Mauern about the half-sunken walls
Die alten Götter die Rund. the old gods make their rounds.

Hier unter den Myrtenbäumen Here behind the myrtle trees,
In heimlich dämmernder Pracht in secretly darkening splendor,
Was sprichst du wirr wie in Träumen what do you murmur, as if in a dream,
Zu mir, phantastische Nacht? To me, fantastic night?

Es funkeln mir zu alle Sterne The stars glitter down on me
Mit glühendem Liebesblick. with glowing, loving looks.
Es redet trunken die Ferne The horizon slurs tipsily,
Wie von künftigen, großem Glück. as if from the future, filled with happiness.

Wasserfahrt

Am fernen Horizonte Appearing on the far horizon
Erscheint, wie ein Nebelbild, Like a picture in the fog,
Die Stadt mit ihren Thürmen, A city, with its towers
In Abenddämm’rung gehüllt. Shrouded in the evening dusk.

Ein feuchter Windzug kräuselt A damp gust of wind eddies
Die graue Wasserbahn; The course of the grey water;
Mit traurigem Takte rudert With a mournful rhythm
Der Schiffer in meinem Kahn. The boatman rows in my boat.

Die Sonne hebt sich noch einmal The sun lifts itself once more,
Leuchtend vom Boden empor Glowing upwards from below the horizon,
Und zeigt mir jene Stelle, And shows me that place
Wo ich das Liebste verlor. Where I lost what is dearest to me.

Nachtwache I, from Fünf Gesange, op. 104, no. 1 – Johannes Brahms (1833 – 1897)
Im Herbst, from Fünf Gesange, op. 104, no. 5

Johannes Brahms was one of the major forces of German Romanticism in the 19th century. His musical output includes works in nearly all the main genres of the time. Brahms was a prolific composer of choral music, with equal emphasis on accompanied and a cappella works. While his reputation with choral audiences might rest on Ein Deutsches Requiem (for chorus and orchestra) or his Liebeslieder Waltzer for chorus and piano, his unaccompanied output is no less notable. An avid researcher into musical practices of the past, he was particularly interested in the madrigals and motets of preceding centuries and strove to reimagine the musical innovations of the past in his own compositional voice. Nachtwache I and Im Herbst serve as the bookends to a set of five songs published in 1889—when Brahms was advancing in age, still a bachelor, and only months away from declaring his career as a composer to be finished (a declaration he would be unable to uphold). Some of his finest compositions come from this period, and Brahms scholars often point to Fünf Gesange as the apex of the composer’s a cappella choral output. The pieces recall the intimacy of the Renaissance madrigal and show the popularity of a cappella singing in the late 1800s, as music began to leave the realm of the court and enter the domain of the emerging bourgeois class.

Nachtwache I

Leise Töne der Brust, Gentle sounds of the soul,
geweckt vom Odem der Liebe, inspired by the breath of love,
hauchet zitternd hinaus, blow tremblingly forth;
Ob sich euch öffenen ein Ohr If you open an ear
öffn’ ein liebendes Herz! Open a loving heart
und wenn sich keines euch öffnet, and, if none opens to you,
Trag’ ein Nachtwind euch let the night wind carry you
seufzend in meines zurück. sweetly back to me.

Im Herbst

Ernst ist der Herbst. Somber is the autumn,
Und wenn die Blätter fallen, and when the leaves fall,
sinkt auch das Hertz so does the heart sink
zu trübem Weh herab. into dreary woe.
Still ist die Flur, Silent is the meadow
und nach dem Süden wallen and to the south have flown
die Sänger, stumm, silently all the songbirds,
wie nach dem Grab. as if to the grave.

Bleich ist der Tag, Bleak is the day
und blasse Nebel schleiern and pale clouds veil
die Sonne wie die Herzen, ein. the sun as they veil the heart.
Früh kommt die Nacht: Night comes early:
denn alle Kräfte feiern, for all work must come to an end,
und tief verschlossen ruht das Sein. and Being, itself, is deep at rest.

Sanft wird der Mensch. Man becomes kindly.
Er sieht die Sonne sinken, He sees the sun sinking
er ahnt des Lebens and realizes that life
wie des Jahres Schluß. is like a year flying by.
Feucht wird das Aug’, His eye grows moist,
doch in der Träne Blinken yet in the midst of his tears
entströmt des Herzens shines streaming from the heart
seligster Erguß. a blissful effusion.

Trois chansons – Maurice Ravel (1875– 1937)
1. Nicolette
2. Trois beaux oiseaux du paradis
3. Ronde

Following closely on the heels of Debussy and anticipating the compositional force of Les Six, Ravel was a man apart. Slight and meticulously dressed, Ravel composed with an accuracy and artifice which caused Stravinsky to call him “a Swiss watchmaker.” A fervently patriotic man, Ravel attempted to enlist in the army at the onset of World War I, but was rejected due to his small stature. Whilst awaiting an eventual appointment as an army truck driver in 1916, Ravel wrote the music and text for these three songs for unaccompanied choir. Trois chansons was Ravel’s only foray into the medium of choral music save the ill-fated cantata that was at the center of the scandal surrounding his well-publicized loss of the Prix de Rome in 1905. While the second song, Trois beaux oiseaux du paradis, is the most overtly linked to war and patriotism, Nicolette (dedicated to his good friend, the poet Tristan Klingsor) is a witty fable about a girl who denies all suitors (a grizzly wolf, a handsome page) until she meets a fat, ugly, and excessively wealthy landlord who offers her all his money. The two live happily ever after. In the third movement (Ronde) Ravel sets a dialogue between the old men and women of a village, who entreat the young to stay away from a dark wood. The poetry catalogues all the frightening mythological creatures one can imagine as a caution. However, in a charming turn at the end of the song, the young claim that the advanced age of the villagers was enough to scare all the demons away.

Nicolette

Nicolette, à la vesprée, Nicolette, at vespers
S’allait promener au pré, Went walking through the fields
Cueillir la pâquerette, la jonquille et la muguet. Culling daisies, daffodils, and lilies of the valley.
Toute sautillante, toute guillerette, Skipping, glancing everywhere,
Lorgnant ci, là, de tous les côtes. Spying up and down the coast.

Rencontra vieux loup grognant, She met an old, growling wolf,
Tout hérissé, l’oeil brillant: Bristly with sparkling eyes:
«Hé là! ma Nicolette, “Hey there, Nicolette,
viens-tu pas chez Mère-Grand?» Do you want to come with me to Grandmother’s?”

A perte d’haleine, s’enfuit Nicolette, Breathless, Nicolette fled,
Laissant là cornette et socques blancs. Leaving behind her cap and white socks.

Rencontra page joli, She met a handsome Page
Chausses bleues et pourpoint gris: with blue shoes and grey doublet:
«Hé là! ma Nicolette, “Hey there, Nicolette,
veux-tu pas d’un doux ami?» Don’t you want a boyfriend?”
Sage, s’en retourna, pauvre Nicolette, Wisely, she turned away, poor Nicolette,
très lentement le Coeur bien marri. very slowly, with an unhappy heart.

Rencontra seigneur chenu, She met an old lord,
Tors, laid, puant et ventru: Twisted, ugly, stinky and fat:
«Hé là! ma Nicolette “Hey there, Nicolette,
veux-tu pas tous ces écus?» don’t you want these gold coins?”
Vite fut en ses bras, bonne Nicolette, Quickly she ran into his arms, good Nicolette,
Jamias au pré n’est plus revenue. Never to return to the field.

Trois beaux oiseaux du paradis

Trois beaux oiseaux du paradis, Three birds from paradise
(Mon ami z’il est à la guerre) (My beloved is gone to war)
Trois beaux oiseaux du paradis Three birds from paradise
Ont passé par ici. passed by here.

Le premier était plus bleu que ciel, The first, blue as the sky,
(Mon ami z’il est à la guerre) (My beloved is gone to war)
Le second était couleur de neige, the second, white as snow,
Le troisième rouge vermeil. the third, deepest red.

«Beaux oiselets du paradis “Little birds from paradise,
(Mon ami z’il est à la guerre) (My beloved is gone to war)
Beaux oiselets du paradis Little birds from paradise,
Qu’apportez par ici?» What are you bringing this way?”

«J’apporte un regard couleur d’azur. » “I bring you a look from sky-colored eyes.”
(Ton ami z’il est à la guerre) (Your beloved is gone to war)
«Et moi, sur beau front couleur de neige, “And I, for your snow-white brow
Un baiser dois mettre, encore plus pur.» bring a kiss even purer.”

«Oiseau vermeil du paradis, “Red bird of paradise,
(Mon ami z’il est à la guerre) (My beloved is gone to war)
Oiseau vermeil du paradis, Red bird of paradise,
Que portez-vous ainsi?» What are you bringing to me?”

«Un joli cœur tout cramoisi.» “A heart all crimson.”
(Ton ami z’il est à la guerre) (Your beloved is gone to war)
«Ah, je sens mon cœur qui froidit… “Ah! I feel my heart growing cold…
Emportez-le aussi.» Take it with you, too.”

Ronde

Les Vieilles: The Old Women:
N’allez pas au bois d’Ormonde Don’t go to the woods of Ormond,
Jeunes filles, n’allez pas au bois: Young girls, don’t go.
Il y a plein de satyres, There are plenty of satyrs,
De centaures, de malins sorciers, Plenty of centuars and evil sorcerers,
Des farfadets et des incubes, des ogres, des lutins, Hobgobblins and incubus, ogres and imps,
Des faunes, des follets, des lamies, Fauns, will o’ the wisps, lamies,
Diables, diablots, diablotins, Flying devils of all sizes,
Des chèvre-pieds, des gnomes, des demons, Goat-footed things, gnomes, and demons,
Des loups-garous, des elfes, des myrmidons, Werewolves, elves, soldier bandits,
Des enchanteurs et des mages, Enchanters and magicians,
Des stryges, des sylphes, des moines-bourrus, Gargoyles, sylphs, and outcast monks,
Des cyclopes, des djinns, gobelins, Cyclops, wicked genies, goblins,
Korrigans, nécromants, kobolds. Sprites, necromancers, dwarves.
N’allez pas au bois d’Ormonde. Do not go to the woods of Ormond.

Les Vieux: The Old Men:
N’allez pas au bois d’Ormonde, Do not go to the woods of Ormond,
Jeunes garçons, n’allez pas au bois: Young boys, don’t go.

Il y a plein de faunesses, There are plenty of faunesses,
De bacchantes et de males fées, Hedonists and malicious fairies,
Des satyresses, des ogresses et des babaïagas, Satyresses, orgresses, crones,

Des centauresses et des diablesses, Centuaresses, and she-devils,
Goules sortant du sabbat, Witches from their Sabbath,
Des farfadettes et des démones, She-hobgoblins, she-demons,
Des larves, des nymphes, des myrmidons, Larves, nymphs, soldier-bandits,
Hamadryades, dryades, naïades, Tree nymphs, wood spirits, water nymphs,
Ménades, thyades, Hungry and drunken spirits,
Follettes, lémures, gnomides, Will o’ the wisps, lemurs, female gnomes,
Succubes, gorgones, gobelines. Succubi, gorgons, she-goblins.
N’allez pas au bois d’Ormonde. Do not go to the woods of Ormond.

Les filles/Les garcons: The girls and boys:
N’irons plus au bois d’Ormonde, We don’t go to the woods of Ormond anymore,
Hélas! Plus jamais n’irons au bois. Alas! Never again will we go to the woods.
Il n’y a plus de satyres, There are no more satyrs,
Plus de nymphes, ni de males fées, Nor nymphs, nor malicious fairies,
Plus de farfadets, plus d’incubes, Hobgobblins and incubus,
Plus d’ogres, de lutins, Ogres and imps,
De faunes, de follets, de lamies, Fauns, will o’ the wisps, lamies,
Diables, diablots, diablotins, Flying devils of all sizes,
De chèvre-pieds, de gnomes, de demons, Goat-footed things, gnomes, and demons,
De loups-garous, ni d’elfes, de myrmidons, Werewolves, elves, soldier bandits,
Plus d’enchanteurs ni de mages, Enchanters and magicians,
De stryges, de sylphes, de moines-bourrus, Gargoyles, sylphs, and outcast monks,
De cyclopes, de djinns, Cyclops, wicked genies,
De diabloteaux, d’éfrits, d’aegypans, Little devils, fire genies, capricorns,
De sylvains, gobelins, Tree-people and goblins,
Korrigans, nécromans, kobolds, Sprites, necromancers, dwarves.
N’allez pas au bois d’Ormonde. We don’t go to the woods of Ormond.
Les malavisées vieilles, les malavisés vieux The old women and the old men
Les ont effarouchés. Have scared them away.

Let Down the Bars, O Death – Samuel Barber (1910 – 1981)

Pennsylvania-born composer Samuel Barber became interested in music at a very early age. A triple prodigy in voice, composition, and piano, Barber had a long history with the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, beginning at the age of fourteen, and his place as one of the most important American composers to come of age between the World Wars is undisputed. Barber wrote in many musical idioms – opera, symphony, concerto, and song. Though Barber’s contribution to choral music was limited, the works that exist are staples of the repertoire. An excellent (although brief) marriage between two luminaries of the American artistic temperament, Barber’s treatment of Emily Dickinson’s poem, Let Down the Bars, O Death, uses stately dotted rhythms to evoke the unwavering march of mortality. However, the emotional landscape of the miniature remains true to the poetess, who once wrote in a letter to a friend: “…Death is perhaps an intimate friend, not an enemy…a preface to supremer things”.

Let down the bars, O Death
The tired flocks come in
Whose bleating ceases to repeat
Whose wandering is done.

Thine is the stillest night
Thine, the securest fold
Too near thou art for seeking thee,
Too tender to be told.

“Wait” Fantasy – arr. Steve Hackman (b. 1980)
“Wait” Music & Lyrics by Anthony Gonzalez/Yann Gonzalez/Morgan Kibby/
Brad Laner/Justin Meldal-Johnsen
Original material by Steve Hackman

Composer, conductor, arranger, producer, pianist and singer/songwriter Steve Hackman combines a virtuosic skillset with musical eclecticism. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, Hackman has worked in various roles with soloists and major ensembles, including the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Time for Three, Michael Cavanaugh, and Chanticleer, among others. Fluent in a breadth of musical genres ranging from traditional classical to contemporary popular, Hackman embraces this wealth of diverse material and synthesizes it into a uniquely new and compelling language.

Commissioned in 2013 for Chanticleer’s release Someone New, Hackman was inspired by “Wait,” from the French band M83. “Wait” became a point of embarkation for what can only be described as an epic choral fantasy, incorporating I Sing to use the Waiting, by Emily Dickinson. The repetitions of “No time”— impassioned and ethereal—break up the Dickinson text, creating a layered and dramatic meditation on Death and the illusion of Time.

No time, No time

I sing to use the Waiting,
My Bonnet but to tie
And shut the Door unto my House
No more to do have I

No time

Till His best step approaching
We journey to the Day
And tell each other how We sang
To keep the Dark away.

Send your dreams
where nobody hides.
Give your tears
to the tide.

No time, No time

There’s no end.
There’s no goodbye.

Till His best step approaching…

There’s no end.
There’s no goodbye.
Disappear with the night.

Send your dreams where nobody hides.
Give your tears to the tide.

There’s no end.
There’s no goodbye.
Disappear with the night.

No time, No time

I sing to use the Waiting
No time
I sing to keep the Dark away
There’s no end or goodbye…

No time

Till His steps approaching
We journey to the Day
And tell each other how We sang
To keep the Dark away.

No time

Give Me Hunger – Stacy Garrop (b. 1969)

Stacy Garrop, a Chicago-based composer and Bay Area native, is busy with commissions from across the United States. Her work covers a wide spectrum of sounds, from symphonies to chamber music, string quartets, solo songs, and choral music. Give Me Hunger is Garrop’s first composition for Chanticleer, and she shares these thoughts on the poetry and music:

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) was an American author known for his hard, unflinching observations that allow readers to experience Sandburg’s pride, disdain, love, hatred, and sympathy for humanity through his works. His poetry grasps the best and worst of mankind, from the noblest aspirations of man to the subjugation of the poor, as well as the trials and tribulations of the working class. Very few poems expose his softer side, and even fewer reflect his thoughts on love. “At a Window” (the poem’s original title) is one of these rare gems. Sandburg starts the poem angrily, challenging the forces that control the universe to take away all that he has; this anger quickly gives way to a surprising gentleness as he asks for love in place of all else. In my piece (titled Give Me Hunger, drawn from the first line of text), I reflect Sandburg’s enraged voice with a relentless ostinato (a repeating gesture) coupled with dissonant chords; for the poem’s softer side, I employ lush harmonies to anticipate the “coming of a little love.”

Give me hunger,
O you gods that sit and give
The world its orders.
Give me hunger, pain and want,
Shut me out with shame and failure
From your doors of gold and fame,
Give me your shabbiest, weariest hunger!

But leave me a little love,
A voice to speak to me in the day end,
A hand to touch me in the dark room
Breaking the long loneliness.
In the dusk of day-shapes
Blurring the sunset,
One little wandering, western star
Thrust out from the changing shores of shadow.
Let me go to the window,
Watch there the day-shapes of dusk
And wait and know the coming
Of a little love.

“At a Window” from CHICAGO POEMS by Carl Sandburg. Copyright 1916 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company and renewed 1944 by Carl Sandburg. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

A Boy and a Girl – Eric Whitacre (b. 1970)

An accomplished composer, conductor and lecturer, Eric Whitacre has received composition awards from ASCAP, the Barlow International Composition Competition, the American Choral Directors Association, and the American Composers Forum. In 2001 he became the youngest recipient ever awarded the coveted Raymond C. Brock commission by the American Choral Directors Association; commercially he has worked with such luminaries as Barbra Streisand and Marvin Hamlisch. In the last ten years he has conducted concerts of his choral and symphonic music in Japan, Australia, China, Singapore and much of Europe, as well as dozens of American universities and colleges where he regularly conducts seminars and lectures with young musicians. He received his M.M. in composition from the Juilliard School of Music, where he studied composition with Pulitzer Prize-winner John Corigliano. A Boy and a Girl, one of Whitacre’s most harmonically direct works, presents serial vignettes in the lives of two persons in love, from youthful stretching out in leisure and romance, to the grave and eternal embrace.

Stretched out on the grass
A boy and a girl
Savoring their oranges
Giving their kisses
As the waves exchange foam

Stretched out on the beach
A boy and a girl
Savoring their limes
Giving their kisses
Like clouds exchanging foam

Stretched out underground
A boy and a girl
Saying nothing
Never kissing
Giving silence for silence

Flower of Beauty – John Clements (1910- 1986)

While not a folksong in the strictest sense, Flower of Beauty sets a lilting melody to a lovely harmonization, at once reminiscent of folk singing and inspired by the English part-song style listeners might associate with Elgar or Stanford. The text is by British poet Sydney Bell, and was set to music by fellow Englishman John Clements in 1960.

She is my slender small love,
my flow’r of beauty fair
From the whiteness of her little feet
to the shining of her hair;
More fair she is than April rain
on daffodil or tree:
She is my slender small love,
my flow’r of beauty, she.

I know she walks in the evening
down by the riverside,
And the grasses lean to kiss her robes
who soon will be my bride:
More dear to me her little head
than earth or sky or sea!
She is my slender small love,
my flow’r of beauty, she.

L’amour de moy – Traditional French, arr. Alice Parker/Robert Shaw

This arrangement of a fifteenth-century French folksong, by two of America’s twentieth century choral luminaries, blends contemporary harmony with an ancient melody. The text is rich with sumptuous imagery and blushing love. While entirely secular, the piece uses much of the same imagery as the Song of Songs and plays on many of the same sensual and reverent impulses.

L’amour de moy s’y est enclose My love has enclosed herself
Dedans ung joly jardinet, Within a charming garden,
Ou croist la rose et le muguet Where the rose and the lily of the valley grow,
Et aussy fait la passerose. And also the hollyhock.

Ce jardin est bel et plaisant, This garden is beautiful and pleasant,
Il est garny de toutes fleurs; It is filled with all flowers;
On y prend son esbattement There, one can find pleasure
Autant la nuit comme le jour. During the night as well as the day.

Hélas! Il n’est si douce chose Alas! There is no sound so sweet
Que de ce doulx roussignolet, As that of this gentle nightingale
Que chante au soir au matinet: Who sings from dusk to dawn:
Quant il est las il se repose. When he is tired, he rests.

Je la vy l’autre jour ceuillir I saw her the other day
La violette en ung verd pré, Gathering violets in a green meadow,
La plus belle qu’oncque je veis, The most beautiful thing that I could see,
Et la plus plaisante a mon gré. And the most pleasing to my taste.

L’amour de moy, ma douce rose! My love, my sweet rose!

Two Chinese Folksongs – Traditional Chinese, arr. Chen Yi/Steven Stucky
小 河 淌 水 (Xiao He Tang Shui)
太阳出来喜洋洋 (Tai Yang Chu Lai Xi Yang Yang)

These two popular Chinese folksongs were co-arranged by Chen Yi and Steven Stucky for the Cornell University Chorus and Glee Club, who premiered the works in Beijing in 2008. The Yunnan love song Xiao He Tang Shui (“The Flowing Stream”) was arranged by Chen Yi. It segues into Tai Yang Chu Lai Xi Yang Yang (“The Sun is Rising with Our Joy”), a Sichuan working song arranged by Stucky. In the conclusion, the two tunes overlap to create an organic whole.

小 河 淌 水 (Xiao He Tang Shui)
The rising moon is bright, my sweetheart is in the deep mountain, he is like the moon walking in
the sky. My sweetheart! The flowing stream around the mountain is clear aside. The moon is
shining over the hillside, looking at the moon and thinking of my sweetheart, the breezes are
sweeping past the hillside. My sweetheart! Don’t you hear me cry?

太阳出来喜洋洋 (Tai Yang Chu Lai Xi Yang Yang)
The sun is rising, up to the mountain with my shoulder pole.
The hatchet is in my hand, I am not afraid of wild beast.
Passing many mountains, one after another.
If we work hard, we don’t have to worry about food and clothing.

Oy, polná, polná korobushka – Traditional Russian, arr. Konstantin Schvedoff

The lyrics for Oy, polná, polná korobushka, come from a verse-novella by Nikolai Nekrasov called The Peddlers. These sellers were a common sight in nineteenth-century Russia, and this song ostensibly tells the tale of a young lad willing to give up all of his merchandise to win his true love. The text, however, is open to other, more ribald, interpretations.

Oh, how full, how full is my basket
With Calicoes and brocades!
Have pity, my sweetheart,
Take the burden off my shoulders!

I’ll go into a rye field
And there will wait for you till night.
When I see my dark-eyed love,
all my wears I’ll display.

The foggy night has fallen,
And the brave lad is waiting.
Hark! At last she comes,
And the peddler sells his wares.

Only the dark night knows
The agreement they made.
Straighten up, tall rye,
And loyally keep their secret.

So in Love – Cole Porter, arr. Joseph Jennings
Willow, Weep for Me – Ann Ronell, arr. Joseph Jennings

Although well known for his arrangements of gospel and spirituals, Joseph Jennings wrote in a variety of styles during his tenure as Music Director of Chanticleer. Both of these virtuosic arrangements blend Jennings’ musical heritage with the popular and jazz idioms of the Great American Songbook.

Chega de Saudade (No More Blues) – Antonio Carlos Jobim, arr. Jorge Calandrelli
Portuguese lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes, English lyrics by Jon Hendricks/Jesse Cavanaugh

Jobim’s bossa nova classic, Chega de Saudade, needs little explanation. The piece proved to be a fitting opportunity to work with GRAMMY Award-winning arranger Jorge Calandrelli, who wrote several arrangements for Chanticleer’s album Lost in the Stars. The opening and closing of the piece are sung in Jobim’s native Brazilian Portuguese.

Chega de saudade a realidade é que sem ela não pode ser…
(“No more longing, the reality is that life can’t go on without her…”)
Vamos deixar desse negócio de você viver sem mim!
(“Let’s stop this nonsense of you living without me!”)

Thanks to Virginia de Freitas Battersby for Portuguese translation and assistance.

Hamburg Song – Tom Chaplin/Richard Hughes, arr. Steve Hackman
German text excerpted from the traditional Hamburg-Hymne

At a performance in Hamburg, Germany, a member of Keane remarked to an ecstatic crowd, “This is called ‘Hamburg Song.’ I wish I could say it reminds me of the good times, but…” Any music-lover can relate—a melody can bring back memories, seemingly from nowhere. Steve Hackman (“Wait” Fantasy) offered to arrange this piece, and in his finished work he captured all the hope, labor, defeat, and love that the band put into their original recording.

Hamburg an der Elbe Auen, wie so herrlich stehst du da.*
(“Hamburg on the meadows of the Elbe, you stand so splendidly there.”)

*An excerpt from the city anthem of Hamburg, Germany, penned in 1828.

Mirrorball – Elbow/Guy Garvey, arr. Peter Eldridge

The British band Elbow has been soaring just beneath the mainstream since their debut album was released in 2001. Peter Eldridge, from the New York Voices, captures the weightless, elevated feeling of new love in this arrangement, his first for Chanticleer.

I Feel Better – Wally De Backer, arr. Darmon Meader

Gotye exploded into the zeitgeist with his 2011 album, Making Mirrors. Darmon Meader, of the New York Voices, has become quite well known in the a cappella world for his outstanding jazz arrangements. The jazz shuffle and harmonies inspired by legendary vocal ensemble Take 6 are a departure from the feel of the original album track, however, the arrangement reveals the song in a new light and allows for a re-imagined, intricate bass line.

Ring of Fire – June Carter Cash/Merle Kilgore, arr. Michael McGlynn

To fashion this iconic Johnny Cash tune into a choral arrangement, Michael McGlynn (a familiar name to Chanticleer audiences) reimagined both the atmosphere and harmony of the piece, channeling the melancholy lyrics and the low-lying melody.

Washing of the Water – Peter Gabriel, arr. Mason Bates

Mason Bates, winner of countless awards for his innovative compositions, bridging the divide between classical music and electronica, shared these thoughts on his arrangement of Peter Gabriel’s classic: “Every day when I worked on this, I was brought a little bit closer to my emotional core. Its simplicity, tethered to a deep and genuine plaintiveness, rank it with any folksong that I know.”

Both Sides Now – Joni Mitchell, arr., Vince Peterson

A self-described “painter derailed by circumstance,” Joni Mitchell turned her focus toward music as a means to support herself during several years spent at art school in her native Canada. Her musical journey is legendary—many consider Mitchell to be the most important female recording artist of the 20th century. Both Sides Now was written in 1967 on an airplane, as the young songwriter watched clouds float beneath the aircraft. It was covered by several artists before Mitchell recorded it herself on her 1969 album Clouds. Mitchell reimagined the song on her 2000 album, for which it became the eponymous track. This arrangement, by Vince Peterson (Cells Planets, Temptation) was inspired by both of these recordings.

Poor Pilgrim of Sorrow – Traditional Spiritual, arr. Joseph Jennings
Sit Down Servant / Plenty Good Room – Traditional Spiritual, arr. Joseph Jennings
Keep Your Hand on the Plow – Traditional Spiritual, arr. Joseph Jennings

In the course of his extended tenure with Chanticleer, Joseph Jennings’ arrangements have become popular favorites with audiences worldwide. These final selections are examples of his ability to inject the vocal freedom inherent in the Southern Baptist tradition into the structure of classical music.

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