November 2014 Concert Reflections

The Altos and Basses wing with spirit

The Altos and Basses singing with Spirit

The Calgary Renaissance Singers and Players showed the spirit of the era is alive and well with a concert that celebrated the best music of the past and present.

“It was spectacular,” said alto Suzanne Agha. “All the energy of working for months and months and then finally getting to put together a performance was a really sparkling evening. I was really proud of how we did.”

The idea for the concert came to artistic director Jane Perry after hearing audience members say that the pieces they’d enjoyed most at recent concerts were those composed within the last 50 years. This feedback inspired Perry to program a season with concerts featuring both music from the Renaissance and music inspired by the period.


click to view Programme PDF

Speaking of the Spirit of the Renaissance concert repertoire, Perry said “It takes some of the ideas and the harmonies and the sounds of early music, and filters it through a modern view. So I thought it might be fun to do a little more of that. The audience response to the concert this evening shows that that was a good choice. I think people really enjoyed it.”

Audience members confirmed Perry’s assessment.

“I think it’s good for the choir to sing everything, pieces from different eras,” said Marian Zekulin. “And for me as a person listening, I liked the change.from the Renaissance to the modern era. I liked that change—it made you sit up and pay attention.”

“I like that idea for the choir,” seconded Brandis Purcell,  “because there are so many modern composers who are so heavily influenced by Renaissance composers, and they deserve to have their voice heard.”

Audience favourites included Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming, Ubi Caritas, and In Dulci Jubilo, which featured a double-choir setting.

Michael Praetorius

“Lots of people enjoyed the way we performed Michael Praetorius’ In Dulci Jubilo where part of the choir was on the stage in front of the audience and part of the choir was in the balcony behind the audience,” noted Perry. “The result was that the audience was surrounded by choristers both in front and behind, and I think it was a really cool sonic experience for people sitting in the audience.”

Perry drew on a wide range of sources of inspiration for the concert including chorister recommendations, personal favourites, and pieces she found online.

“I think like a lot of choral conductors these days who are looking for new things. I went on the Internet and just looked around at who was writing what,” Perry said, “and stumbled upon this wonderful arrangement of Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming by a Swedish composer named Jan Sandstrom.  Just ethereal—the setting is amazing. So they come to me from all over the place, these pieces.” And there are plenty more where those came from.

This season’s second concert will feature additional contemporary works. Perry thinks that while the proportion of modern to Renaissance music might change in future seasons, the “Spirit of the Renaissance” will continue to inspire CRSP.

- by Kenzie Love


Calgary Renaissance Singers and Players, November 2014

November 2014 Concert Feedback and Programme

Thanks to everyone who attended and supported our concert, The Spirit of the Renaissance, Part 1.

If you attended or participated, please post your thoughts on our website, or on Facebook or Google+.  We’d love to hear what you experienced, your favorite pieces, your questions or any comments. If you forget what the song was called and want to check, you can view our complete programme below, lyrics and all:


Click to view Programme PDF



Creating the November 2014 Concert Program

Jane Perry, CRSP Artistic Director

Jane Perry, CRSP Artistic Director

How was the music chosen for our November 29, 2014 concert, “The Spirit of the Renaissance, Part 1″?

It all started in CRSP music director Jane Perry’s mind with a couple of “Renaissance-like” choral works by Ola Gjeilo (“my favourite contemporary choral composer,” said Perry), Morten Lauridsen, and others. Responding to feedback from audience members that they had enjoyed the modern pieces when combined with CRSP’s traditional repertoire from the 15th and 16th centuries, Perry set out to create a program filled with works from both the Renaissance and modern times, showing the connections through the centuries. Continue reading

Spirit of the Renaissance, Part 1 – November 29, 2014

Click image to Download PDF of Poster

Click image to Download PDF of Poster

The Calgary Renaissance Singers and Players are proud to present our upcoming concert:

Spirit of the Renaissance, Part 1
Saturday, November 29, at 7:00 pm
St. Stephen’s Anglican Church,
1121 – 14 Ave SW, Calgary AB (link to map).

Buy tickets online at Brown Paper Tickets

turn_goldMUSIC:  We will perform Giovanni Gabrieli’s triumphant double-choir setting of “Hodie Christus natus est” alongside the gorgeous eight-part setting of “O magnum mysterium” by U. S. composer Morten Lauridsen. Reflective music by Salamone Rossi and Melchior Vulpius will find companions in the music of Norwegian-American composer Ola Gjeilo and Swedish composer Jan Sandström. Sandström has created a double-choir setting of Michael Praetorius’s “Lo, how a rose e’er blooming” in which the second choir provides a haunting, unearthly choral glow around Praetorius’s original harmonies–not to be missed!

turn_goldGUEST ARTIST: We are proud to present recorder player Racheal Cogan as our guest artist. Some of you will remember Racheal’s performance at our May 2014 concert, and will understand why we just had to have her back.

turn_goldSPECIAL FEATURE: You can also look forward to the resurrection of The Good Cheer Section, a small group of CRSP choristers who will make enthusiastic presentations of Renaissance carols and drinking songs to add a little extra festivity to this holiday concert.

turn_goldPRE-CONCERT TALK: As well, we will continue our new and increasingly popular tradition of presenting a pre-concert talk at 7:00pm.

turn_gold2014-15 SEASON: Our entire 2014-2015 season is called “The Spirit of the Renaissance.” Our November and May concerts (Part 1 and Part 2) feature a higher-than-usual number of gorgeous choral works composed within the last thirty years by a slate of internationally renowned composers who are clearly channeling the melodic contours and harmonic understandings of 15th- and 16th- century Western art music. We have chosen guest artists whose musical interests lie in both the old and the new and who honour the echoes of the past in their modern repertoire. And, as always, we will present Renaissance masterworks by some of the biggest names, and lesser-known ones, of that era.

There’s a lot to look forward to this season! The choristers and I look forward to welcoming you to our November 29 concert.

Warm regards,

Jane Perry
Artistic Director, Calgary Renaissance Singers & Players