Sunday, December 13, 2015

University Singers & Humboldt Chorale: Program and Notes

University Singers:

VIDA, authors of The Famine Song
My soul is awakened -- music by Brad Burrill, poetry by Ann Brontë
Bright morning star -- Kentucky Appalachian tune, arr. Fred Squatrito
 Erev Shel Shoshanim -- music by Josef Hadar, lyrics by Moshe Dor, arr. Jack Klebanow
 Laudate Jehovam, omnes gentes (Psalm 117) -- Georg Phillip Telemann
Famine Song -- words and music by VIDA, arr. Matthew Culloton
How Can I Keep from Singing? -- arr. Gwyneth Walker (b. 1947)

University Singers are: (Soprano) Justine Bivans, Hope Botelho, Olivia Bright, Ana Ceja,  Ana Cruz, Lisa Ko, Jordan Kramlich, Michelle Latner, Gabriela Pelayo, Stephanie Price ,Cora Rickert, Kellie Ventura, (Alto) Berenice Ceja, Kaitlynn Deville, Jessica Golden,  Michelle Hy, Kylie Jenkins, Bree Marroquin, Ashlyn Mather, Allie Merten, Catherine Rippetoe, Taylor Shughart, Kira Weiss, (Tenor)  Ken Bridges, David Cadena, Will English ,Nick Hart ,Andrew Heavelin, Rich Macey, Victor Guerrero ,Angel Phommasouk, Raul Yepez ,(Bass) Devin Alcantara, Ethan Frank, Matthew Nelson, John Pettlon, Alberto Rodriguez, Luke Smetana, Daniel Szylewicz.

Humboldt Chorale:

“Awake the Trumpet’s Lofty Sound” from Samson by Georg Frederic Handel
 Alleluia by Randall Thompson
 “Ose Shalom” Traditional Hebrew text; music by Jeff Klepper, arranged by Joshua Jacobson
 “December’s Keep” based on the Prelude in C minor, Opus 28, No. 20 by Frederic Chopin; words and arrangement by Greg Gilpin
 “Ashokan Farewell” from the Soundtrack of the PBS Series “The Civil War,” a film by Ken Burns; words by Grian McGregor, music by Jay Ungar, arranged by Carole Stephens
 “Go Where I Send Thee” Spiritual, paraphrased by Maurice Gardner & Walter Matthews

University Singers and Humboldt Chorale:

Tshotsholoza -- traditional South African freedom song, arr. Jeffery L. Ames


"Bright Morning Stars"  "appears in Ruth Crawford Seeger's "American Folk Songs for Christmas" (Doubleday, 1953), where she credits it to "AAFS 1379 A1." In other words, she got the song from the Archive of American Folksong at the Library of Congress...The source is identified as "Kentucky." The song also appears on the Folkways LP of the same title (American Folk Songs for Christmas, FC 7553)...,

 In 1968, Robin Christenson rediscovered the song in the Seeger book and arranged it for four voices. [Her group]sang it at the 1968 Fox Hollow Festival, where it was picked up by many other singers. It rapidly entered the common repertoire... Meantime, it had also been widely sung in Kentucky."

“How Can I Keep From Singing?” appears in several contemporary Quaker songbooks, but its origins appear to be in a hymn written by Rev. Robert W. Lowry, an American Baptist minister in the 19th century. It was modified by, among others, folksinger Pete Seeger, whose source identified it as a Quaker hymn. In this form it became a hit song of sorts when recorded by Irish singer Enya in 1991. The notes to that album (Shepherd’s Moons) compounded the mistake by identifying it as a Shaker hymn. Ironically, it was the Seeger version that the Quakers adopted for their songbooks. However, versions of it appear in hymnals of several denominations. See Robert Lee Hall at American Music for a detailed history.

Alleluia:"To many music lovers, the name Randall Thompson brings first to mind the lofty sounds of his most famous anthem, based on the single word "alleluia"--whether heard in church service, choral concert, or academic ceremony such as Harvard Commencement.

The work was commissioned by Serge Koussevitsky and the trustees of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the spring of 1940 for the opening exercises of the new Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood... The date for the opening was July 8. Thompson had been preoccupied with another commission, but from July 1 to July 5 he was able to turn to Koussevitsky's request. [Director]Woody had his large chorus ready to rehearse, but opening day approached and no music arrived. On July 8, with 45 minutes to go, it appeared. Woody got his first look at the score and reassured his charges, "Well, text at least is one thing we won't have to worry about."

 Thompson's other works include three symphonies, two string quartets, and a scattering of instrumental pieces. But his writing for voice spans his whole life, from The Five Odes of Horace,written in 1924, to Twelve Canticles, written a year before his death. The Harvard undergraduate who, in trying out for the Glee Club, was unaccountably turned down by Archibald T. "Doc" Davison concluded: "My life has been an attempt to strike back."
---Harvard Magazine

"Ashokan Farewell"
"It’s haunting and mournful and hopeful and beautiful. It’s called “Ashokan Farewell,” and it’s the de facto theme song for the Ken Burns miniseries The Civil War, which premiered 25 years ago this week [of Sept. 25, 2015].

 “Ashokan Farewell” was not, as both its tune and the miniseries that made it famous would seem to suggest, written in the 19th century. It was written instead at the tail end of the 20th. And it wasn’t a Southern waltz; it was created in the style of a Scottish lament—and in celebration of a town, and a reservoir, in upstate New York. By a guy from the Bronx.

In the early 1980s, Jay Ungar and his wife and fellow musician, Molly Mason, were running the Ashokan Camp, a summer arts school specializing in fiddle and dancing, at the Ashokan Field Campus of SUNY New Paltz. Ungar composed the tune—Mason would later give it its resonant name—to commemorate the conclusion of the 1982 session of the camp.

Ungar had traveled through Scotland earlier in the summer, he told me, and he wanted to compose a tune in the style of a Scottish lament—something that would capture the sense of sadness that the camp, and all the camaraderie and community and joy it represented to him, would be ending. The song, Ungar remembers, “sort of wrote itself...”

“In writing it,” he says, “I was in tears, but I didn’t know why, or what was happening.” There was a kind of “tingling feeling,” he remembers, as the song took shape in his mind and on his fiddle. But when the song was written down—when Ungar was satisfied that he had made the tune what he wanted it to be—he kept it to himself. He wasn’t sure how others would react to it

. But when he was finally ready to share the tune, he was pleasantly surprised: It seemed to affect others as deeply as it had affected him. And so Ungar and Mason—and their group, Fiddle Fever—recorded the song, including it as part of their 1983 album Waltz of the Wind. The inclusion meant that the song would need a name. Mason suggested “Ashokan Farewell.” Ungar liked that. It was simple, but elegantly evocative.
--Atlantic September 25, 2015

" A South African song sung in a variety of settings and for a variety of reasons. The song began as an old miner's song, sung by those who toiled in the diamond and gold mines of South Africa. As with many types of a folk music, there are many different versions and variations of the song that have developed over time so it is impossible to say exactly what the meaning of the song is, however, the general idea is of freedom (perhaps at the end of the work day or from the hard labor entirely) and speaks about a train coming and taking them away.

 The version of the song presented in this arrangement draws text from both Zulu and Ndebele dialects and is translated as: "Go forward, go forward on those mountains; the train is coming from South Africa. You are running away on those mountains; the train is coming from South Africa."

 The song became a rallying cry for freedom as the apartheid system of government was brought to an end and Nelson Mandela was released from prison. Since then it has seen even more widespread use in popular culture and has served as musical "battle cry" for South African sports teams from rugby to soccer. The song received particular notoriety in 2010 when it was prominently featured in the World Cup games hosted in South Africa."
Diversity website

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