Noted conductor, Dr. Richard Sparks will lead a chorus of over 200 singers from Canada and the USA in a performance of my Nou Goth Sonne Under Wode at Carnegie Hall, New York City on Monday, March 7, 2016. Dr. Sparks conducted the first two performances of this work in 2005 and 2007 when he was conductor of Pro Coro Canada and it will be exciting to have him produce the piece again with such a large ensemble of singers. The award-winning Orchestra of Distinguished Concerts International, New York will be the orchestra for the event. The concert, sponsored by DCINY, is open to outstanding choirs and/or solo choristers. More information at: www.dciny.org
or contact the composer: email@example.com
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Completed 2005; large-scale dramatic work on the Passion of Christ for actor, soprano, chorus and orchestra
First performance: Winspear Centre for Music, Edmonton, Canada, Good Friday, March 25, 2005 with Timothy Anderson, actor, Jolaine Kerley, soprano, Pro Coro Canada, Pro Coro Canada Chamber Orchestra, Richard Sparks, conductor
Some other past performances:
Rosedale Presbyterian and St. Andrew's United Church Choirs, Toronto, Robert Cooper Conductor
Soli Deo Gloria, Allen Simon, San Francisco
Toronto Orpheus Choir, Chorus Niagara, Talisker Players, Robert Cooper
Windsor Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Joel Tranquilla
University Chorus and Orchestra, School of Music, University of North Texas, Denton, TX, Richard Sparks (enjoy their complete live performance March 3, 2014 below)
The work is published by classica Music Publishers, Vancouver.
The Canadian Chamber Choir, Julia Davids conductor, is requesting your assistance in raising funds for their new CD, a compilation of sacred choral works by a number of Canadian composers. I'm delighted to report that they are planning to include one of my works for unaccompanied mixed voices, Hide Thy Face (published by classica.ca) on a text from Psalm 51. I heard them perform a number of the pieces that will be on the recording at a concert in Calgary about four years ago. A wonderful group with a great concept that includes singers from around the country.
More information about this project can be found at: canadianchamberchoir.ca
We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.
My No Mortal Business was a co-commission of Chorus Niagara, The Richard Eaton Singers, and the Vancouver Bach Choir. It was first performed by Geraint Wyn-Davies, actor, Johanne Ansell, soprano, Chorus Niagara, the Toronto Orpheus Choir, and the Talisker Players, conducted by Robert Cooper in St. Catharines, ON, and Toronto in 2012.
The Richard Eaton Singers, Dr. Leonard Ratzlaff, conductor, The Winspear Centre for Music, Edmonton, AB, Sunday, March 13, 2016
Toronto and St. Catharines, Robert Cooper, C.M., conductor, May 2016
It is a large-scale choral/orchestral work with text by Shakespeare, and although it wasn't originally intended as an anniversary work it strikes me as something that would be very suitable for any 2016 concert program wishing to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the death of the bard.
No Mortal Business features an important part for an actor who is known in the score as "the prologue". In Shakespeare's time the prologue gave short speeches providing necessary historical background or plot advancement. The part of "Chorus" in Shakespeare's Henry V is the bard's best example, and I admit to being influenced by Derek Jacobi's wonderful portrayal in Kenneth Branagh's film of this play. The prologue in No Mortal Business speaks only the words of the bard but his lines are extracted from many of his plays and sonnets and reassembled in a way that provides a possible vision of the actor himself in his final years. What emerged in this lengthy process of research and (respectful) re-creation was a vision of a mighty talent who was plagued by self-doubt, frustrated by the stress of life as a struggling artist and consumed by the thought of his impending death. In No Mortal Business, Shakespeare's words become haunting 'soliloquies' appearing between the choral numbers and also over and above the music that I have composed. The role of the prologue in No Mortal Business is challenging, as it requires an actor who is capable of portraying a wide range of emotion, is familiar with the Elizabethan stage, and has enough musical background to stay in sync with chorus and orchestra.
The part for the soprano soloist is dramatic in nature too - she portrays the Angel of Death who sings alternatively comforting and disquieting words that resonate deeply in the soul of the prologue and stir reaction from the actor, the chorus, and the chamber orchestra.
No Mortal Business is in five 'Acts' and is thirty-five minutes of intense, non-stop musico-dramatic action. It contains substantial choruses intended for a large mixed-voice ensemble, most of whose text comes from Shakespeare's final play, The Tempest (e.g. new settings of Full Fathom Five, The Cloud-Capp'd Towers, and Where the Bee Sucks) but there is also snippets of ancient plainchant (In Paradisum, Requiem Aeternum) and a powerful new Kyrie Eleison. The latter liturgical passages reflect the fact that Shakespeare was born into a Catholic family and that he was a noted recusant (one who refused to attend services of the protestant Church of England), as well as an author well-versed in the questions of faith.
Full score, vocal score, and parts are available thru the Canadian Music Centre. Contact the composer for further details.