Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Subtlety of English Madrigals

Greetings readers!

I am back after a bit of a hiatus where I was off travelling in Spain but I am now back for the summer. Upon arriving home, I had the chance to make my way out to The Ranch to sing for the Pro Coro Golf Tournament Fundraiser. We chose two quick-read and familiar pieces, "Alta Trinita Beata" a sacred hymn and "Come Again! Sweet Love Doth Now Invite" by John Dowland. Now most of you all probably know, and if you do not, you probably should know, that English madrigals are largely centered around two topics:

1. Spring
2. Sex

In some madrigals, the sexual innuendos are tastefully scattered throughout the piece. Perhaps in a censored and frolicking "fa la la la" chorus? Many other times, however, the text is not so subtle in suggesting its alternative meaning. Take, for example, the third phrase from "Come Again! Sweet Love Doth Now Invite" (you can probably already read the double meaning from that title).

Gentle love, Draw forth thy wounding dart
Thou canst not pierce her heart; For I, that to approve
By sighs and tears more hot than are my shafts
Did tempt, Did tempt while she for scanty triumph laughs

So many terms to describe phallic images. Classy. It's hard to sing with a straight face coming from my 21st century mindset, but amusing nonetheless! I guess that's what happens when people are cooped up inside for the entirety of Winter. When Springtime arrives... all that repressed sexual energy can finally be unleashed! I suppose in someways I am starting my Spring/Summer off in way a person from the English Renaissance would have approved of. Singing about a good ol' romp in the fields!

Until next time, take care readers!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Reality Check


So I am currently on vacation in Spain, but upon checking my e-mail, I received a bit of reality check when I received Pro Coro's newsletter:

I'm a core member next season! O.k., so in a way I knew this since they asked if I wanted to sing next season. But it just looks so... official. You would think that after a year of singing in this choir I would get used being affiliated with them but the surprise definitely has not worn off. It should be an exciting season since Pro Coro is currently looking for their new artistic director and they have three candidates in mind. Each one of them will be doing a concert with Pro Coro in the Fall before a final decision is made. You can check out the biographies of candidates, Magen Soloman, Mark Bailey, and Michael Zaugg on Pro Coro's website.

Audition Season

It's Springtime! What does that mean? It's audition season for the upcoming choir season! The Classical Music in Edmonton blog is doing a great job of posting them as they arise. For example. notices for Pro Coro, Da Camera and other choir auditions were already posted.

I also know that Cantilon Choirs is also getting into recruitment mode for all their choirs. Whether potential choristers are aged 6-9 and want to join the Primary Choirs in St. Albert, Sherwood Park, and Edmonton or in their teens and are looking at Children's Choir or Chamber Choir... this is the time to try out!

Choral music is alive and well and this is the time to take advantage of it no matter what group fits you best! Take some time to do some internet research for what groups are available in your area and give them a call to set up an audition time! Or perhaps you've been debating whether or not to audition for a group that's above your perceived level of musical skills---I say audition anyway! The only thing that they can say is no and that would be the same answer if you didn't apply at all. Take it from me, as a chorister who didn't expect to get into a professional choir after years of amateur choral singing, you never know what will happen or what people are looking for!

Have fun auditioning!