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.
The theme for this 2014-2015 season is “The Spirit of the Renaissance,” and this upcoming concert is Part One of two. Both concerts have the same aim—to combine early and modern music in a way that shows how one has influenced the other, and how hearing one may add interesting dimensions to one’s experience of the other.
In this concert, echoes of the past are found in the present-day compositions of Gjeilo and Lauridsen, with Latin texts that were commonly found in the music of the Renaissance and earlier. Thus, we have Morten Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium in our concert, as well as Ola Gjeilo’s Ubi Caritas. There are also traditional carols in modern arrangements, such as Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming by Jan Sandström, and This Endris Night by John Corina. The latter features a recorder descant to be played by Racheal Cogan, a guest artist at last spring’s concert. But it’s not just the texts that link the two eras: the lush harmonies of the two modern pieces sound to Jane as if they were made for European cathedrals or other spaces with a great acoustic, just like the Renaissance works.
In putting the program together, Jane sought to balance the quieter, reflective pieces noted earlier, or the lovely carol, Gentle Mary Laid Her Child by Melchior Vulpius, with exciting, joyful ones such as Giovanni Gabrieli’s Hodie Christus Natus Est or Michael Praetorius’ In Dulci Jubilo, both arranged to be sung by two choirs. In addition, she brought back the choir’s tradition of including a “Good Cheer” section composed of rollicking Renaissance selections such as Pastime With Good Company and Trudge Away Quickly.
Jane noted, “For this concert, I chose music that touched my heart.” Her hope, and ours, is that the performance will touch the hearts of listeners in the same way.
– Leslie Buckle