Fall 2018

Conversation Français-English

2 organs

Monday, October 29, 2018, 7:30 p.m.

Église du Très-Saint-Nom-de-Jésus

4215 Adam Street
Montréal (métro Pie-IX, bus 139 South)

In collaboration with the Canadian
International Organ Competition

Philip Crozier and Nicholas Capozzoli: organ

Maurice Duruflé, Quatre Motets
Louis Vierne, Messe solennelle, Op. 16
César Franck, Psaume 150
Vaughan Williams, Five Mystical Songs
Hubert Parry, I Was Glad When They Said Unto Me
Jonathan Dove, Run, Shepherds, Run!

* Seniors: 65 years and over

** Students: 25 years and under attending a recognized institution

Ticket prices

Conversation Français-English

Les Noces / Carmina Burana

Season subscription

(two concerts)

In advance

$30

$40

In advance

$25

$35

Door

$35

$45

Door

$30

$40

Regular

Seniors*/students**

$65

$55

Tickets

It has always been a great tribute to the universality of music that, despite occasional political machinations, the cultures of our two great languages co-exist here in Montreal with consistent mutual respect. Choristers and instrumentalists both Francophone and Anglophone collaborate every day to further our love of fine music, and the history of Musica Orbium is a shining example. In this concert we celebrate our joy in this artistic teamwork.

Some of tonight’s music is frankly extrovert and festive. Vierne’s great Messe is of formidable proportions, and was written to showcase the two great Cavaillé-Coll organs of the Église Saint-Sulpice in Paris (we are fortunate that Église du Très-Saint-Nom-de-Jésus rejoices in two formidable Casavant instruments, recreating precisely the sounds Vierne had in mind). And what could be more festive than Parry’s I Was Glad When They Said Unto Me, written for the 1902 coronation of Edward VII, and repeated at every British coronation since. César Franck weighs in with his own very French setting of Psaume 150. All of these pieces place the organs front and centre in their significant solo contributions, and with this we are pleased to acknowledge our collaboration with the Canadian International Organ Competition, and our gratitude for the great work it does to promote organ and choral music of the highest quality.

The program also contains music of a more seductive subtlety: Duruflé’s meditations on plainsong melodies, and Vaughan Williams’ exquisite settings of transcendent poetry by George Herbert both show the richness of the human voice. And then we invite you to join us in Jonathan Dove’s romp through the Christmas story with his Run, Shepherds, Run!—religious music doesn’t always have to be a serious affair!

It also gives us great pleasure to collaborate with two of Montreal’s finest organists, and with a young baritone with whom we have with pleasure performed in the past.

A celebration, then, of our two great musical cultures—vive la musique!

Spring 2019

Stravinsky

Les Noces

4 pianos

Karl Orff

Carmina Burana

2 pianos

Saturday, April 27, 2019, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, April 28, 2019, 3 p.m.

Oscar Peterson Concert Hall

7141 Sherbrooke Street West
Montréal (métro Vendôme, bus 105)

Tickets

Ticket prices

Conversation Français-English

Les Noces / Carmina Burana

Season subscription

(two concerts)

In advance

$30

$40

In advance

$25

$35

Door

$35

$45

Door

$30

$40

Regular

Seniors*/students**

$65

$55

* Seniors: 65 years and over

** Students: 25 years and under attending a recognized institution

This time, Orbium delves into the world of folk culture, folk music and folk poetry.

It comes as something of a shock to realize that Stravinsky’s iconic and groundbreaking Sacre du Printemps is based almost exclusively on Russian folk music, its melodies and its instruments. His treatment is, to say the least, his own, but it is clear from his notebooks that he spent much time researching traditional melodies and recalling hearing them performed by untrained rustics, accompanied by their often handmade instruments. In this, Stravinsky was very much part of the exploration of many cultures to unearth and renew the most primitive musical expressions of particular countries.

During the same early years of the 20th century, he found himself obsessed with the music and rituals of Russian folk weddings, their protagonists and their expression of both the joy of village celebrations and the sorrow of lost innocence. The result is Les Noces, a piece which occupied him for many years, chiefly in finding the most appropriate combination of instruments to accompany the voices. He finally settled on a large ensemble of percussive instruments, tuned and untuned, and the result is a wonderful rhythmic jangle of sounds, both driving and supporting the complex of melodies and textures. The result is pure Stravinskyian genius.

Karl Orff started his search in the world of medieval poetry, written down by monks, but by no means confined to the world of the Church. Indeed the texts are by turn celebratory of the fecundity of the earth (much like the Rite) and frankly sensual evocations of love in all its complexity. These he treats with an almost peasant-like simplicity, with melodies by turns earthy and sinuous, and an almost hypnotic repetition of phrases far ahead of the minimalism of later decades. There is little wonder that this ultra-human expression of primal urges has become one of the most popular works of its century.

In just the same way that the musical expression of Carmina is basic and somewhat primal, so is that of Les Noces complicated and sophisticated, even given its very earthy subject matter; for this reason, it is much less frequently heard, and most often performed as the ballet which was Stravinsky’s first intention. This means that it presents many challenges to the performers, but Orbium has never shied away from the challenging. It has been rewarding to investigate this complex score, and we are grateful to our instrumental and vocal collaborators who have taken up the task with us.

We do hope you enjoy this celebration of choral virtuosity.

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