Upper Canada Choristers present What Sweeter Music: A Christmas Concert
Laurie Evan Fraser conducts the Upper Canada Choristers, a 30-voice mixed choir, with pianist Hye Won (Cecilia) Lee in Christmas music written and arranged principally by 20th and 21st century composers using texts from the 14th century to the present. The choir’s accomplished Latin ensemble, Cantemos, also makes an appearance.
Tickets, $25, may be obtained from Eventbrite (http://bitly.ws/wDLd). Children 16 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. The performance also streams live, at no charge, on the choir’s website, https://www.uppercanadachoristers.org.
Opening with Christmas Fanfare, written in 1985 by Canadian composer Nancy Telfer, the concert features words from the 15th century poem, Myn Lyking, set to music by British musicologist Richard Terry, and John Rutter’s What Sweeter Music, his setting of the Robert Herrick poem using the phrase that gives the concert its title. From a third British composer comes another historical-inspired number – Philip Stopford’s evocative setting of the beloved Coventry Carol. Two more works were written by U.S.-based composers – Belgian-born Noel Goemanne’s Sing We Noel, and Elaine Hagenberg’s Sweetest Music Softly Stealing.
The universally known carol Stille Nacht/Silent Night, declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2011, will be sung in the original German, and in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Mohawk and Cantonese. The audience is invited to sing along in this as well as Jingle Bells.
Cantemos performs O magnum mysterium by Venezuela’s César Alejandro Carrillo, a traditional Catalan Christmas song, and Dormi Jesu by Laurie Evan Fraser, inspired by a Gregorian chant service at Notre Dame in Paris, with a partial English text by Jacqui Atkin.