Copland 'In the beginning'

Serendipity meant I heard Aaron Copland's music live last night in Norwich's wonderful cathedral (below) - on the very day of the fifteenth anniversary of his death.

'In the beginning' is a single-movement motet for mezzo-soprano "story-teller" and unaccompanied chorus. The first performance was given in 1947 in Cambridge Massachusets, by the Collegiate Chorale, conducted by Robert Shaw. It uses verses from of the King James Bible (Genesis 1:1-2:7) that describe the seven days of creation, and tells the story in a "gentle narrative style", although jazz rhythms creep in at various points.

The rest of the very appealing programme was Stravinsky's Concerto for String Orchestra in D, and Haydn's Little Organ (a personal favourite) and Nelson Masses. Superb performances from the Britten Sinfonia, conductor David Hill, and the Choir of St John's College, Cambridge.

The choir was just twenty-six male voices, twelve of them boy choristers, which is unusually small particularly for the Nelson Mass. But even in the vast space of the magnificent Norman cathedral their bell-like clarity rang out, and the a cappella performance of the Copland was music-making that I will treasure for a long time.

A quite magical evening - live music rules!

Image credit - Norwich cathedral
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If you enjoyed this post take An Overgrown Path to
Master Tallis' Testament


Anonymous said…
Dear Friends,

My new composition for cantor, choir and instrumental ensemble -


- will be premiered on December 10th! It is part of the project


- DAVID PORCELIJN, conductor



- INSTRUMENTAL ENSEMBLE (ud, guitar, harp, violin, cello, double bass, piano, percussion)

- CHAIM N. BIALIK, text (THE POND, 1908)


Dec. 10, 2005, 8:30 pm - Korzo Theater, Den Haag

Dec. 11, 2005, 8:30 pm - Korzo Theater, Den Haag

Dec. 15, 2005, 8:30 pm - Synagogue, Groningen (PRIME foundation)

Dec. 17, 2005, 8:30 pm - Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Amsterdam

Dec. 18, 2005, 8:30 pm - Theater Kikker, Utrecht

Dec. 21, 2005, 8:30 pm - Arminiuskerk, Rotterdam (Lantaren/Venster on location)

Dec. 22, 2005, 9 pm - De Toonzaal, Den Bosch

This piece is about the concept of knowing. The Hebrew phrase ANI IODEA, or I KNOW, is central to the piece and to the poem of Chaim N. Bialik which I use. The Hebrew letter ALEPH is the only letter that makes no sound of its own in a word, yet from it all other letters derive their sounds and meanings. In the piece there is much simplicity and silence. This illustrates how it is only when we are at our most quiet (like the ALEPH), and when we truly stop and listen, that we can receive the wisdom (or ILLUMINATION) of the Divine and finally understand how we fit into the universe.

Other pieces on the program were written by: Weisser, Schoenberg, Weill, Rossi, Ganchoff, Koussevitzky, Kussevitsky en Bensoussan.

For more information about the piece:

For more information about the concert dates and links to the sites of the performers:

For more information about reserving tickets: and

For more information about cantorial music:

This work was made possible through financial support from the Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst.

I hope that you can be there!

- Vanessa Lann
Anonymous said…
I've just stumbled on your wonderful blogspot. Your musical interests seem to overlap with ours to a large extent, and so although I've no idea where you're based I'm forwarding you a brief flyer about our Christmas concert. I hope you don't mind!

Maybe see you there!! Good to be in touch anyway.

Kind regards,

Mary Young

Fairhaven Singers Concert, Sunday 11th December, 8.15pm

We hope you can join us for our ever-popular Christmas concert, Music for Advent and Christmas.

Jesus College Chapel, Cambridge, UK is the magical setting for this imaginative presentation of Christmas music. The perennial favourites are there, of course – and they are enhanced by evocative echoes of other Christmas traditions.

We are thrilled to present music from around Europe that ranges in date from the 14th to the 20th century. Highlights of the programme include:

Edward Naylor - Vox Dicentis Naylor was organist of Emmanuel College, Cambridge and assistant music master at the Leys School when, in March, 1911, he wrote this thrilling anthem for the choir of King’s College. It has great impact and a wide emotional landscape.

Ralph Vaughan Williams - The blessed Son of God This gentle, folk-like carol is an excerpt from Vaughan Williams’ cantata Hodie (1954), and is a setting of beautiful words by Miles Coverdale.

Anon. - In dulci jubilo This famous German carol dates from the 14th century. We sing its 3 verses harmonised by three different composers: Praetorius, Pearsall and Bach.

Will Todd - A boy was born This delicate setting of old English words was written in 1987, when the composer was still at school in Durham.

Orlando Gibbons - Hosanna to the Son of David Gibbons started his musical life as a chorister at King’s, becoming arguably the country’s greatest composer before his tragically early death from "apoplexy". This joyful anthem is full of invention, and should provide a rousing conclusion to a festive evening!

Tickets cost £10 (£8 concessions; £4 under-12s) and are available from the Corn Exchange Box Office, Wheeler Street, Cambridge, tel: 01223 357851.

You can also buy tickets from choir members or at the door, but we do recommend booking ahead for this concert, since in recent years it has sold out.
Anonymous said…
a new work by EZEQUIEL VIÑAO

ZANKEL HALL (nyc) DECEMBER 10, 2005 at 7:30 PM

Read about this Juilliard Centennial Commission at:


Alice Tully Hall (NYC) October 20, 2005 at 8:00 PM
Jordan Hall (Boston) November 12, 2005 at 8:00 PM
Suedwestdeutsche Konzertdirektion Erwin Russ (Stuttgart, Germany) January 19,
Muziekcentrum Eindhoven Grote zaal (Holland) January 25, 2006 at 8:15 PM
Muziekcentrum Enschede Concertzaal (Holland) January 26, 2006 at 8:00 PM
Cal State Laxson Auditorium (Chico, California) March 24, 2006 at 7:30 PM
San Francisco State University, McKenna Theatre, March 26, 2006 at 3 pm
Perimeter Institute (Waterloo, ON, Canada) March 30, 2006 at 7:30 PM
Pennsylvania Convention Center (Philadelphia) March 31, 2006 at 8:00 PM
Library of Congress Coolidge Auditorium (Washington, DC) April 7, 2006 at 8:00
St. Croix Concert Series (Stillwater, MN) April 21, 2006
Ravinia Festival (Highland Park, IL) June 27, 2006
Ozawa Hall (Tanglewood, MA) June 30, 2006


Viñao’s second string quartet is a synthesis of the composer’s work to date. It
incorporates the
four main threads that run through all of his music: the structural use of
rhythmic cycles; the
unfolding of long melismae (spun mainly from Mozarabic chant); the concept of
and an interest in Medieval thought and traditions.

"The Loss and the Silence" –Tolkien’s phrase– was originally the title of the
second movement of
the quartet. In Tolkien’s story, an immortal, ageless maiden chooses mortality
in order to be with
the mortal man she loves. After many years of dwelling together in bliss, the
man, at last, feels
that his life draws to an end. She is overborne by grief and a keen sense of
the mortality that
she has taken upon her. The story’s substance relates to the early Christian
symbols of
“Mortality" and "Fall". “Mortality,” understood as “the gift of the One to
Men,” and “Fall,” as
the result of a rebellion against this gift, leading to a desire for power and
the corrupted use
of man’s inner talents with the “object of bull-dozing the real world, of
coercing other wills".
Other aspects of this multi-faceted work include the use of deconstructed dance
forms, such as the
"Cadenero" movement. From the Spanish for 'chain', 'cadenero' is a slang that
refers to a horse
that is fastened to a vehicle with chains for the purpose of pulling it when the
road is
difficult. In Tango parlance, the expression 'fueye cadenero' refers to a
bandoneon that leads an
orchestra (the word 'fueye' stands for a pleated windbag.)


Ezequiel Viñao was born in 1960 in Argentina. Early on, he developed an interest
in music
technology and in rhythmic cycles, both of which were later to become
significant features of his
music. In works from the 1980s such as La Noche de las Noches for string quartet
and electronics,
or in the solo tape piece Voices of Silence, his style is already distinctive.
Having moved to
New York in 1980, Viñao attended the Juilliard School. In 1987 he was invited to
Avignon to work
with the late Olivier Messiaen in a series of televised masterclasses, an
experience that had a
profound influence on Viñao’s style and found its musical expression in a work
entitled "The
Conference of the Birds". Together with his first book of "Études" for solo
piano, it was these
works which brought Ezequiel Viñao wider recognition on the international
musical scene. Viñao's
music is often described as "timeless", ‘powerful’ and ‘compelling’, and he has
received various
awards and distinctions in recognition of its qualities. Apart from a Kennedy
Center Friedheim
Award, Viñao has also received prizes from the San Antonio Festival, the
Argentinian Academy of
Fine Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the International Music Council
in Paris and the
International Society for Contemporary Music. Viñao is currently working on a
large piece for
Chanticleer's "Orchestra of Voices". A new recording -Arcanum/BIS Records- is
now available in
stores worldwide.

The Juilliard String Quartet, now in its 59 season as a resident teaching and
ensemble at The Juilliard School, has established and maintained a reputation as
one of the
world’s great chamber ensembles. The Quartet is widely admired for its seminal
influence on
aspiring string players around the world and continues to play an important
role in the formation
of new American ensembles. The Quartet was instrumental in the formation of
the Alexander,
American, Concord, Emerson, La Salle, New World, Mendelssohn, Tokyo,
Brentano, Lark, St.
Lawrence and Colorado string quartets. The ensemble’s recordings have been
released by Sony
Classical since 1949. The Quartet’s 2005-06 season takes them to Europe this
fall where they
are joined by oboist Heinz Holliger for performances in Italy, Holland, Warsaw,
and Paris. In a
second concert in Paris, the Quartet makes a special appearance to play its own
arrangement of
Bach’s “Art of the Fugue.” The Quartet returns to Europe in the second half of
the season to
Germany, Spain, Estonia, and Austria where they celebrate the 250 th Mozart
birthday at the
Musikverien in Vienna, a January 27 th concert with Emanuel Ax. Further
touring in the United
States includes their annual concerts in Boston, Washington, Detroit,
Philadelphia, and San
Francisco, as well as performances in the Midwest, Canada, and New England.

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