“If music be the food of love, sing on, sing on, till I am filled with joy.” Ekoos Vocal Ensemble is delighted to celebrate this sentiment with a spring concert on Sunday, May 24.
The words “If music be the food of love” are from Twelfth Night by Shakespeare, and they’re also the title of a song composed by Henry Purcell in the 16th century. Ekoos will sing this and other love songs, plus sacred music by composers from the English, Baltic, Central European and Russian traditions.
At the suggestion of a choir member, we’re boldly stepping out from our usual repertoire to venture into the world of opera! The major work in our spring program is the four movement dramatic Lamento d’Arianna (“Ariadne’s Lament”) by Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi.
Scored for five voices, the Lamento is taken from one of the earliest operas ever written. Monteverdi completed it in 1608, just in time to be performed for a royal wedding. He apparently said later that the effort of creating it nearly killed him.
The concert will include three other love songs by Renaissance composers: Jacques Arcadelt, Thomas Crequillon, and Giovanni Gastoldi. Some listeners may notice that Gastoldi’s L’Inmorato sounds uncannily similar to Thomas Morley’s Sing We and Chant It. Morley “borrowed” Gastoldi’s earlier melody, in a time before copyright protection.
One of the pleasures for Ekoos members is to be surprised by music which conductor Peter Dent “finds” during his many musical tours in Europe. He enjoys helping the choir and its audience experience works which have not been widely performed in Canada.
This program features three contemporary composers. Pater Noster is by Zdenk Lukáš, a Czech composer whose music Dent discovered in 2002. The choir will also perform the now well-known Magnificat by Estonian Arvo Pärt. Particularly exciting will be our performance of the Ave Verum Corpus by the Latvian-born British Columbian, Imant Raminsh. Ekoos is fortunate to have as a member Svetlana Prissick, who is originally from Sochi in Russia. She has been a great help with the pronunciation of the Russian texts, and will be featured as soloist in a work by Chesnokov.
We are also very pleased to be joined by instrumentalists Ellen Himmer on cello and Shane Beech on harpsichord. Ellen is not only a member of Ekoos, but was also one of Shane’s earliest piano teachers.
Please join us to see if music can indeed be the food of love.
The concert will be on Sunday, May 24 at 2:30 p.m. at Holy Trinity Church, 1962 Murray Road. Tickets $12 at the door.