Pepe Becker – director; soprano, drum




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SUN 23 May 2010, 2.30pm, St Alban’s Anglican Church, Eastbourne

SUN 30 May 2010, 7.30pm, St Mary of the Angels, Boulcott St, Wellington

Pepe Becker – director; soprano, drum

Jane McKinlay – soprano

Sabrina Malcolm – soprano

Felicity Smith – mezzo-soprano

Andrea Cochrane – alto

Katherine Hodge – alto

Peter Dyne – tenor

Dimitrios Theodoridis – bass; hurdy-gurdy, drum
Bridget Douglas – flute

Henare Walmsley – didgeridoo, taonga puoro

Brendan O’Donnell – recorder (30th May)

Meredith Chinnery – recorder (23rd May)


Welcome to our fifth concert bearing the title “Alleluia: a newë work!” (previous performances having been given in 1995, 2007, 2008 & 2009), combining and juxtaposing Medieval European music and Contemporary New Zealand music for voices and, this year, a variety of traditional, early and modern instruments. This concept of mixing the very old with the very new is one we have enjoyed realising, through presenting unusual and seldom-heard Medieval works alongside premieres of new works written for this ensemble and this particular programme. In the past we have given similar concerts, including: “Close encounters of the Gothic Kind” in 1999 - works by Machaut and Liszt, with pianist Dan Poynton; “O Ecclesia” in 1998 and “How great is the pleasure” in 2001 – early to modern works for high voices; “From the far point of the rising of the sun…” in 2005 – Medieval and Contemporary works, with saxophonist Colin Hemmingsen and oboist Robert Orr; and “Massive!” in 2006 – early and modern Mass movements for mixed voices. Our “Alleluia…” concert is now an annual event, and through this ‘extreme’ music we explore the universal and timeless themes of birth/death, love/loss, union/separation and duality. I hope you enjoy the variety and the similarities within this year’s peculiar mix of music. - Pepe
Alleluia: a newë work! (tutti singers) Anon, 15th C English

Comment qu’a moy monteinne (B + S, hurdy-gurdy, rec & drum) Guillaume de Machaut, c.1300-77

* Taurus 1: Night and Morning (SSSSAA) Pepe Becker, 2001
A solis ortus (chant) (tutti singers) Anon., from liber usualis

**Two Contradictions (SSSSAATB) Jason Kaminski, 2009


Ad mortem (tutti singers + drum) Anon., 14th C Catalonia

**Five Jisei (SSAATB) Carol Shortis, 2010


Improvisation (solo hurdy-gurdy)

**If You Cannot See God (SSSSAA + flute) Ross Carey, 2009


Quant je parti (B + recorder) Anon., French, late 13th C

**Out of the cradle endlessly rocking (SSATB) Mark Smythe, 2010


Two Tui (solo flute) Pepe Becker, 2006

Communion (SATB + flute & didgeridoo) Rhonda Berry, 1999

Do, Re… (solo flute) Ross Carey, 2009
O Ecclesia (S, hurdy-gurdy & taonga puoro) Hildegard von Bingen, 1098-1179

**O Ecclesia (SSSSAA + hurdy-gurdy & recorder) Pepe Becker, 2010


La belle se siet (S,A,TB) Guillaume Dufay, 1397-1474

** Lullaby of Loss (SSSATB) Gillian Whitehead, 2009-10


*Alleluia (SSATB) (tutti singers) Mark Smythe, 2007

Texts/translations & notes on works

(** = work commissioned by BV for this performance)

(* = work previously commissioned by BV)
Alleluia: a newë work! - anon., 15th C English

An English carol celebrating the birth of Christ.



Performed by: tutti singers
Burden: Alleluia, alleluia.

Verse:

A newë work is come on hond,

Through might and grace of Goddës sond,

To save the lost of ev’ry lond, alleluia.

For now is free that erst was bond;

We mow well sing alleluia.
[hond = hand, sond = messenger, lond = land, mow = many]

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Comment qu’a moy monteinne – Guillaume de Machaut, c.1300-77

A virelei (French secular song) about lovers’ separation.



Performed by: Dimitrios (hurdy-gurdy, voice), Brendan/Meredith (recorder), Pepe (voice, drum – refrain)
Translation of French text:

How can you be far from me, honourable lady, when you are near to me in thought, both night and day?

Your memory remains with me so that straightaway, your surpassing beauty, your graceful attire, your assured manner and your fresh complexion (which is neither pale nor wan) I always see without ceasing.



How can you be far from me…

But your great worth, your surpassing goodness and your delicate sweetness have so placed me in your gentle hand, so that my love, without any unworthy thought, rests in you whom I adore.



How can you be far from me…

But Desire, who strives to increase my labours, will keep my heart in distress and in terror of death, if God does not bring the happy hour when to you (who art the flower of all earthly flowers) I soon make my return.



How can you be far from me…
Taurus 1: Night and Morning – Pepe Becker, May 2001

This work for unaccompanied high voices (SSSSAA) is set to words by 19th Century Taurean poet Robert Browning (1812-89); and is dedicated to my Taurean sister, Kate Ward-Smythe, and my other Taurean family and friends, especially my late Gran (then 85), Simon Christie (an ex-member of Baroque Voices, currently residing in Holland), Jessie (my singing teacher from London days), Rosie (my first singing teacher), Sue B, Carla P, Penelope S, Josh D, Katrin C, Edmund and Maria. -Pepe



Sung by: Pepe, Jane, Sabrina, Felicity, Andrea, Katherine

(one curvaceous celestial) equivalence,

(cannot be the other, angular, bestial), up until now then everything after, (though now and again one becomes) the unknown seen for the first time, yet recognized as an heirloom (in voice and talk, all the others ever loved),

Not enough faith, but quashing disbelief.

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Ad mortem festinamus – anon., 14th C Catalonia

A ‘Dance of Death’, with a strophic form similar to the French virelei, written in the century of the Black Death, from a manuscript found in the mountain monastery of Montserrat, near Barcelona.



Performed by: tutti singers, Dimitrios (drum)
Translation of Latin text:

As through life you patiently walk, you’ll feel grim Death stalk you behind.

At any moment he may snatch you: you never know when. Good and bad alike he’ll catch, so no-one can flee from his fate.

Everyone will meet his match without the power to struggle free.

As through life you patiently walk…

Gentle Mary, blessed one, hear our distressed cry!

We are mindful of your holy Son, who is our advocate.

For until our course is run, we must on faith and hope rely.



**Five Jisei – Carol Shortis, 2010

Jisei are the special poems written, by Japanese tradition, as a ‘farewell to life’ by poets, a sort of artistic ‘last will’ that reflects on the life lived, the present transition and the afterlife to come. The texts for these five miniature pieces are taken from Japanese Death Poems compiled and translated by Yoel Hoffman, and reprinted with the express permission of Tuttle Publishing, www.tuttlepublishing.com

The work was written for Baroque Voices ensemble, to be premiered by them in May 2010. - Carol



Sung by: Pepe, Jane, Andrea, Katherine, Peter, Dimitrios
I. Shutei, 1858

Frost on a summer day:

All I leave behind is water

That has washed my brush


II. Senseki, 1742

At last I am leaving:

In rainless skies, a cool moon…

Pure is my heart


III. Gesshu Soko, 1696

Inhale, exhale

Forward, back

Living, dying;

Arrows, let flown each to each

Meet midway and slice

Out of the cradle endlessly rocking,

Out of the mocking-bird’s throat, the musical shuttle,

Out of the Ninth-month midnight,

Over the sterile sands, and the fields beyond, where the

child, leaving his bed, wander’d alone,

bare-headed, barefoot,

Down from the shower’d halo,

Up from the mystic play of shadows, twining and twisting as if they were alive,

Out from the patches of briers and blackberries,

From the memories of the bird that chanted to me,

From your memories, sad brother - from the fitful risings and fallings I heard,

From under that yellow half-moon, late-risen, and swollen as if with tears,

From those beginning notes of sickness and love, there in the transparent mist,

From the thousand responses of my heart, never to cease, From the myriad thence-arous’d words,

From the word stronger and more delicious than any,

From such, as now they start, the scene revisiting,

As a flock, twittering, rising, or overhead passing,

Borne hither - ere all eludes me, hurriedly,

A man - yet by these tears a little boy again,

Throwing myself on the sand, confronting the waves,

I, chanter of pains and joys, uniter of here and hereafter,

Taking all hints to use them - but swiftly leaping beyond them,

A reminiscence sing.

__________



INTERVAL
Two Tui – Pepe Becker, January 2006

This piece was inspired by the calls of two tui: one who started visiting the banksia tree in my garden in about August 2005, and another who hangs out near the NZ School of Music in Kelburn, Wellington. Each bird has its own unique, consistent song, which varies subtly on occasion. I have enjoyed some good banter with each of these tui, whilst hanging out the washing or parking my car. They certainly both have a fine sense of humour it seems: invariably, after we’d pass simple tunes across the air to each other for a while, the bird would end up singing a more complicated flourish and then fly away before I could attempt to reply! - Pepe



Performed by: Bridget Douglas (flute)
Communion – Rhonda Berry (Australia), 1999

A work celebrating the creative forces of Nature – music and poem by the composer.



Performed by: Pepe, Jane, Andrea, Katherine, Peter, Dimitrios, with Bridget (flute) & Henare (didgeridoo)
Tall trees, handsome, proud, strong, reaching for the sun;

And the vine, clinging, using, climbing upward to the sky;

The treeferns in quiet shadow, cool, self-sufficient.

mount of Bethel.

And they sensed also the sweetest odour of myrrh and incense, for the scorn of the world rises over all things.

Then the Devil invaded those that were his own, they that in the bodies of these women had struck down the noblest qualities.

And all the elements heard the great cry, and before the throne of God they said:

“Oh! The red blood of the innocent lamb has streamed out in the moment of union.”

Let all the heavens hear this! And let them, with the celestial harmony, praise the Lamb of God! For the throat of the ancient serpent has been choked with these pearls made from the word of God.
**O Ecclesia – Pepe Becker, February 2010

This work was written at a radically heightened and transformative time in my life: a time of purging and new beginnings, a time to “run by a new path”… - Pepe



Performed by: Pepe, Jane, Sabrina, Felicity, Andrea, Katherine, with Dimitrios (hurdy-gurdy) & Brendan/Meredith (recorder)
Translation of Latin text:

O Ecclesia, your eyes are like sapphire, your ears like the mount of Bethel, your nose like a mountain of myrrh and incense, and your mouth is like the sound of many waters.

In a vision of true faith Ursula loved the Son of God and rejected betrothed and world alike; she gazed at the sun and implored the most beautiful youth, saying:

“With a great desire I have wanted to come to you and rest with you in the marriage of heaven, running to you by a new path, as the clouds course in the purest air like sapphire.”

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La belle se siet – Guillaume Dufay, 1397-1474

A chanson on the topic of lost/loyal love.



Sung by: Pepe, Andrea, Peter & Dimitrios
Translation of French text:

The pretty one sits at the foot of the tower, who sighs and cries and shows great sorrow. Her father asks her: “Daughter, what will you have? Do you want a husband, or do you want the Lord?”

“I don’t want a husband, (and) I don’t want the Lord; I want my love who is locked in the tower.”

“And by God, dear daughter, well, may’st you, for he will be hung at daybreak.”

“And father, if possible you can bury me now, so people will say: ‘behold loyal love’.”
**Lullaby of Loss – Gillian Whitehead, 2009-10

The poem for this work is by renowned Wellington writer Jenny Bornholdt, sub-commissioned by Gillian



Sung by: Pepe, Jane, Felicity, Andrea, Peter, Dimitrios

Meeting at Night

The gray sea and the long black land;


And the yellow half-moon large and low;

And the startled little waves that leap

In fiery ringlets from their sleep,

As I gain the cove with pushing prow,

And quench its speed i’ the slushy sand.
Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;

Three fields to cross till a farm appears;

A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch

And blue spurt of a lighted match,

And a voice less loud, through its joys and fears,

Then the two hearts beating each to each!


Parting at Morning

Round the cape of a sudden came the sea,

And the sun looked over the mountain’s rim:

And straight was a path of gold for him,

And the need of a world of men for me.
NOTE: In Dramatic Romances (1845) these two poems were printed together as one work entitled “Night and Morning”. The two parts were separated and re-titled in 1849.
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A solis ortus – anon., plainchant

A Latin plainsong hymn (verses 1 & 8 only), from the ancient book of liturgical chant, the ‘Liber Usualis’.



Performed by: tutti singers
Translation of Latin text:

From the far point of the rising of the sun

To the ends of the earth,

Let us sing Christ as ruler,

Born of the Virgin Mary.
Jesus, to you be the glory,

Who is born of the Virgin,

With the Father and also the Spirit,

For ever and ever. Amen.


**Two Contradictions – Jason Kaminski, 2010

'Two Contradictions,' by Jason Kaminski sets two extracts from his poem cycle 'Ajna.' Both explore dualities in physical and human nature. The musical material emerged from an improvisation played by Jason on an Indian pump organ. The work was written for Baroque Voices in 2010.



Performed by: tutti singers
On black iron sands, stellar shells,

In night sky, crustacean stars.


Divergency in life, in death,

The void in aimless flight –

Thus I return to the source
IV. Dohaku, 1675

Cargoless, Bound heavenward, Ship of the moon


V. Shisui, 1769

O

(during his last moment, Shisui’s followers requested that he write a death poem. He grasped his brush, painted a circle, cast the brush aside, and died)



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Improvisation - Dimitrios Theodoridis (hurdy-gurdy)
**If You Cannot See God – Ross Carey, 2009

If You Cannot See God for six womens' voices and flute was composed in September and October 2009, especially for this concert. The single line of text reads: "If you cannot see God in all, you cannot see God at all" and is borrowed from a performance by a local Sikh group at a 'music from many traditions' concert held at the Melbourne Recital Centre in September 2009. While the treatment of the text is my own, the piece is modelled on the Sikh original through following a single musical line and in mimicking the form of the original music (from slow to very fast). I hope too that the excitement and profound connection I felt in hearing this beautiful music can in some way be conveyed in my own musical offering.

Performed by: Pepe, Jane, Sabrina, Felicity, Andrea, Katherine, with Bridget (flute)

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Quant je parti – Tuo – anon., French, late 13th C

A two-voice motet, from a Montpellier manuscript, the lower “Tuo” chant-based part played here on recorder.



Performed by: Dimitrios (voice), Brendan/Meredith (rec)
When I departed from my friend, I told her that in discomfort I would be all my life. But the lover derives comfort From the pleasure and joy And her great courtesy In all the sufferings I bear. But I grieved me much. When came [the time of] separation, And I said: “Adieu, my love.” I saw her cry: thus, she killed me.
**De la Cuna que se Mece Eternamente – Mark Smythe, 2010

A setting of Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking (Verse 1) from Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman; Spanish translation by Gisella Villavicencio. When American poet Walt Whitman first published his collection Leaves of Grass in 1855, it was notable for its sensual imagery in an era when such carnal expression was considered immoral. Now on the eve of his 191st birthday, Whitman’s evocative prose will be sung in the language of passion.



Performed by: tutti singers

Ginger and lily, straggly, but magnificent in flower.

The fig, ordinary, but sheltering myriads of birds who feed and are satisfied;

The majestic fan palm, slow moving, hiding among the

trees, sometimes meeting soulmates in a favourite spot;

Hardy ferns covering the ugly gashes beside the road, softening the scar;

And the imports – some from where? Maybe for their fruit, maybe their shade – their shape?

Moss on ground and trees, seeming to need nothing but air;

And the fungus, taking good from fallen trees.

All live, sometimes in harmony, sometimes in conflict,

But where, O Lord, in this miracle, am I?

O Creator, your beauty and life-giving hand are for all!


Do, re… - Ross Carey, 2009

Do,Re... for solo flute was written in November 2009.  The impetus for composing this piece is a quote from Toru Takemitsu comparing Western and Eastern methods of composition. He mentions 'Do, Re..' as an example of how a Western composer's starting point is to string together two notes, whereas Eastern music starts by exploing the sonic quality(ies) of a single note. In my piece the two tones form the basis for a playful exploration for the flutist.

- Ross


Performed by: Bridget Douglas (flute)

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O Ecclesia – Hildegard von Bingen, 1098-1179

A plainsong sequence by one of the most innovative and inspired female minds in Medieval times – from the Symphonia Armoniae Celestium Revelationum (the “Symphony of the Harmony of Celestial Revelations”), a large collection of works which Hildegard added to throughout her life.



Performed by: Pepe (voice), Dimitrios (hurdy-gurdy) & Henare (taonga puoro)
Translation of Latin text:

O Ecclesia, your eyes are like sapphire, your ears like the mount of Bethel, your nose like a mountain of myrrh and incense, and your mouth is like the sound of many waters.

In a vision of true faith Ursula loved the Son of God and rejected betrothed and world alike; she gazed at the sun and implored the most beautiful youth, saying:

“With a great desire I have wanted to come to you and rest with you in the marriage of heaven, running to you by a new path, as the clouds course in the purest air like sapphire.”

And after Ursula had said this, this rumour spread amongst the people.

And they said: “In the innocence of girlish ignorance she does not know what she is saying.”

And they began to play with her in a great music, until the burden of fire fell upon her.

Whence they all knew that the scorn of the world is like the

dear one, this

is sadness

soft as blossom

hard as a nut.


I carried you.

Held you as earth

holds the tree inclined

to tumble.


The further we went

the closer I held you

in all the rooms of my body

until together

ended
and though I sent you out, safe,

into freckled night

still I hold you, still

for now and in all

ways and always

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*Alleluia – Mark Smythe, 2007

This work was written for and premiered by BV in 2007, and has become the modern ‘signature tune’ for our annual “Alleluia: a newë work!” concerts.



Performed by: tutti singers
Translation of Latin text:

Alleluia. We have seen His star in the East, and are come with gifts to adore the Lord. Alleluia.

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Acknowledgements

Baroque Voices would like to thank: Tony Donovan, for recording the Eastbourne concert; Radio NZ Concert, for recording the Wellington concert; Philippa Gander, for the loan of the Medieval-style hurdy-gurdy; the composers, for their varied and interesting music; and of course you, our audience, for listening and appreciating!


Donations welcome

As you can imagine, a concert like this does not just ‘put itself on’ without substantial efforts, not the least of which are financial. As a professional group, we do pay fees to the performers as well as paying for venue hire and publicity, and often the ticket sales do not cover our expenses. If you would like to make a (tax-deductible) donation to Baroque Voices – no matter how small – do get in touch with Pepe by email or through the website.



pepe.bv@paradise.net.nz www.baroquevoices.co.nz
Next BV concerts: Monteverdi 1610 Vespers

Please visit: www.vespers400.org.nz to keep updated, and mark Sat 14th August & Sun 15th August in your diary now.






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