Since 1993, our annual concert series in Wilkes-Barre and Scranton
has provided a wonderful laboratory for the development of programs
that excite both the ears and the minds of our subscribers. While we
hope you can find in the following pages a program that excites you,
if not, then we'll be happy to build a program especially for you
and your audience.
One of the pinnacles of late medieval composition, Guillaume de
Machaut's Messe de Nostre Dame, inspires a menagerie of music from
the dawn of the millennium. Touching upon Gregorian plainsong, organa,
clausula, motet, mass polyphony, and liturgical drama, our survey
highlights the full compass of sounds and styles that filled
the medieval church.
Conservative theorists of the late sixteenth-century bemoaned the
expressionist madrigals of Claudio Monteverdi, Luca Marenzio, and
Carlo Gesualdo, but in their fin de siecle music we find the very
seeds the coming Baroque. Enjoy the daring music of men who would
break every rule to touch the emotions of their listeners, including
Monteverdi's rarely heard madrigal cycle, The Lament of Arianna.
Elusive, enigmatic, mystical-the music of Johannes Ockeghem has
fascinated both listener and historian for centuries. A program
of motets, mass movements, and chansons commemorating the most
reflective and spiritual composer of the early Renaissance.
Featuring Cristobal de Morales's beautiful Missa Desilde al
cavallero and festival motets of Tomas Luis de Victoria and
Francisco Guerrero, experience the sixteenth century's 'golden age'
of Spanish music through the works of its three greatest masters.
Composed in 1593-1594 and dedicated to Pope Clement VII, The Tears
of Saint Peter stands not only as the final work of the Renaissance
master Orlande de Lassus, but as the absolute summit of the
16th-century Italian madrigal. Utilizing the powerful poetic imagery
of Luigi Tansillo, 21 movements, each in itself a masterpiece of the
genre, relate in moving detail the grief and repentance of Peter
following his denial of Christ.
"This deeply personal music cannot fail to move the listener
and make an indelible impression on whoever is prepared to open his heart and ears."
Between 1450 and 1550, a distinguished line of Franco-Flemish
composers spread a common musical language across the European
landscape. In the works of Guillaume Dufay, Josquin Desprez,
and Orlande de Lassus, hear the music that forged the Renaissance style.
In their musical depictions of war and nature, Renaissance composers paved
the way for the increased expressionism of the Baroque. Our exhibition of
this musical scenery features Clement Janequin's famed La Guerre and Jan
Pieterszoon Sweelinck's monumental Psalm 150.
The majestic sonorities of the Eton Choirbook and John Taverner,
complemented by the intricate polyphony and daring harmony of
Reformation and Restoration works from Thomas Tompkins and Henry Purcell.
Eustache du Caurroy's beautiful Missa Pro Defunctis accompanied the
burial rites of every French monarch between its composition and the
outbreak of the Revolution. Our program features this Messe pour les
funérailles des Rois, performed in its entirety, accompanied by haunting
deplorations on the deaths of Binchois, Ockeghem, and Josquin.
An all Renaissance program of reflection and meditation, featuring the famed Lamentations
of Thomas Tallis, surrounded by music of 16th-century masters Josquin de Pres, Palestrina,
Byrd, and Lassus.
Medieval legend ascribes the creation of the musical treasury of plainchant to a miracle
wherein the Holy Spirit-in the form of a Dove-delivered the texts and melodies directly to
the ear of Pope Gregory. Our program explores the ways in which both Renaissance and Contemporary
composers continued (and continue still) to 'echo' these timeless melodies, re-clothing them in lush
and moving harmony.
A quintessential musical treasure of the high Renaissance-Tomas Luis de Victoria's
immortal Requiem for Six Voices-performed complete with the original Gregorian Chant portions.
Selections from Jean Belmont's cantata on medieval texts, Nativitas,
combine with traditional and more recent Consort favorites to recount
the Christmas miracle through music. Stephen Paulus's The First Nowell,
Franz Biebl's Ave Maria, and John Tavener's Village Wedding combine
with Gregorian Chant, Medieval polyphony, Renaissance motets, and
Randall Thompson's haunting Alleluia to make this program a highlight
of the holiday season.
A rare performance of Francis Poulenc's haunting cantata, Un soir de
neige--composed in 1944 amid the bleak Christmas of an occupied
France-introduces a program of music from the Middle Ages through
the present day celebrating the enduring mid-winter imagery and
theology of the season.
From across the centuries, hear the Christmas story retold through a program
of traditional carols and motets. Seasonal selections ranging from
Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck and Hans Leo Hassler to Ralph Vaughan
Williams and Hugo Distler highlight this musical celebration.
A musical celebration of the Christmas season, our program of homage
to the Virgin includes Renaissance motets, traditional carols, music
of 12th-century mystic Hildegard of Bingen, Johannes Brahms's Marienlieder,
and contemporary European works from Francis Poulenc and Arvo Part.
Many versions of the Christmas Story tell that the greatest of all nights was
witnessed by a blooming of all manner of plants, trees, and flowers. Our program
explores this miracle of new life amid the cold of winter through carols and anthems of the season.
The midwinter snow; the silent night; the angels, shepherds,
and Magi; St. Nicholas; Candlelight; and the Christmas tree...
Hear the stories behind the enduring symbols and songs of the season as
treasured carols combine with narration to create an evening of quiet
and peaceful reflection. Timeworn melodies re-clothed in richest harmony,
forgotten songs of childhood, the beauty of simple carols, and the
eternal story of Bethlehem combine in an all-English program suitable
for every age.
From the contrapuntal genius of the Netherlanders to the masters of
Spain's Golden Age and the expanded expressionism of late
sixteenth-century Italy, the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries
showcased the beauties of the choral ensemble like no other epoch.
Enjoy our retracing of that musical achievement through texts of
the Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany seasons.
A musical journey tracing the continuing influence of the Renaissance
style to the present day. Hear the music of Palestrina, Dunstable
and Hassler side-by-side with folksongs, madrigals, spirituals, and jazz.
The 'pastness of the present' and the 'presentness of the past' are
celebrated in an assemblage of contemporary choral works composed
on medieval texts and poetry. Comprised wholly of music composed
during the final decade of the twentieth century, this program
serves as both a compendium of sounds and styles developed across
the previous thousand years and a harbinger of music in the
Perhaps the most widely circulated melody of the Renaissance;
L'homme arme (Fear the Armed Man) provides the inspiration
for a compelling program of early and modern music. Philippe Caron's
cantus firmus mass on the fifteenth-century tune serves as the
centerpiece of this concert, accompanied by Renaissance motets,
folk songs, and contemporary choral works, among the latter
Herbert Howell's monumental anthem on the death of John F. Kennedy,
Take Him Earth For Cherishing, and portions of Kim Sherman's
Burial Service for Bosnia-Herzegovina.
East meets West in this program as rare polyphonic settings of the
Propers for the Feast of Epiphany-drawn from two sixteenth-century
musical monuments, William Byrd's Gradualia and Heinrich Isaac's
Choralis Constantinus--introduce new choral creations from Bruce
Reiprich. Pairing the human voice with Japanese Temple Bowls,
Thai Gongs, and Tibetan Singing Bowls, Reiprich's innovative scores
will be complemented by new compositions from Se Enkhbayar based on
folk themes of the composer's native Mongolia.
Sacred music at the musical centers of New Spain-the glorious Cathedrals
of Mexico City and Puebla-rivaled and at time surpassed the glories of
their European forbearers. Hear the music of three of the New Worlds
greatest masters, Juan Gutierrez de Padilla, Antonio de Salazar, and
Manuel de Sumaya. Positioned at the nexus of the Old and New Worlds,
these men similarly joined the beauties of the High Renaissance with
the energy and expression of the new Baroque.
Following intermission, we survey the finest in contemporary Latin American
choral music, including the art music of Brazilian Ernani Aguiar, the popular
ballads of Argentinian Alberto Favero, the tangos of Argentinian film
composer, Astor Piazzola, and folk music of Puerto Rico and Cuba. Viva!
Renaissance and Contemporary Madrigals, music of Colonial America, Vocal Jazz, and music
from new 'friends' met along the way combine in our own 10th Anniversary Musical Celebration.
Providing an endless fount of musical inspiration throughout Judeo-Christian
history, the Psalms of David provide the backdrop for this program of
pre- and post-Reformation music from northern Europe, featuring works
of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, Josquin Desprez, and Johann Sebastian Bach.
Celebrating the universal language of folksong, a program spanning
Renaissance to Contemporary arrangements, highlighted by selections
from Estonian Veljo Tormis's moving collection Forgotten Peoples and
English mystic John Tavener's haunting evocation of A Village Wedding.
A collection of love songs from the Renaissance through the present-day.
Timeless melodies, harmonies, and poetry meet and mingle in a program of
madrigals, art songs, and jazz, including folksongs of Johannes Brahms, the
Trois Chansons of Claude Debussy, and arrangements from the popular repertoire.
A moving musical tribute to America's military veterans blending folk songs,
spirituals, art music, and patriotic selections with a variety of spoken recitations.
The readings are intended for local participation, drawing upon military veterans, current
servicemen and servicewomen, and community leaders.
Minister, singing-master, politician, explorer, mapmaker, author,
salt-distiller, and patriot; the life of James Lyon is a quintessential
early American essay in resourcefulness and industry. Explore the
musical legacy of Pennsylvania's first published collection of sacred
choral music, James Lyon's Urania, published in Philadelphia in
1761--standing as one of the most comprehensive collections of music
published in America during the eighteenth century and generously
covering all the forms and styles of contemporaneous sacred composition.
As the first such American collection set primarily for four voices
rather than two or three; the first to include uniquely American
compositions, and the first to exhibit works in the emerging genre
of the fuging-tune, Urania is the first American collection of sacred
music standing equal to the estimable British collections which preceded it.
This concert also explores Urania's British and American musical
precedents, and the music of better-known Boston contemporary William
Billings and his New England contemporaries.
Benjamin Britten's lovely Hymn to Saint Cecilia introduces a concert of folk and art
music from England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, including works of Michael Tippett,
Charles Villiers Stanford, and John Rutter.
Beautiful arrangements of such American classics as Shenandoah, Black is the Color
of My True Love's Hair, and Home on the Range combine with new and classic Spirituals,
Christian Hymns, and a special tribute to the genius of Pennsylvania's own Stephen Foster.