Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Huron Carol

Our winter concert is fast approaching! The evening of Friday December 4th will be a night of celebration, song, and festive stories from some of our members. Of course, no holiday concert would be complete without the inclusion of Christmas carols. We happen to have a few classics on our list that we can’t wait to share with you.

We are preparing a particularly beautiful arrangement by Robert B. Anderson of “The Huron Carol.” The a cappella harmonies, languid ‘Gloria’ opening, and pensiveness of the arrangement breathe new life into the old carol.

’Twas in the moon of wintertime
when all the birds had fled,
That mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel choirs instead…

The carol Jesous Ahatonhia (“Jesus in Born”) was composed by St. Jean de Brebeuf, a Jesuit priest, in the 1640s. Brebeuf originally wrote the lyrics in the Huron (Wyandot) language, while he was stationed among the Huron people as a Christian missionary. He set the lyrics to an old French folk-tune, titled “Une Jeune Pucelle,” attempting to illustrate the message of Christmas in iconography that he thought would be familiar to the Huron people, whom he lived with for over twenty years. The English lyrics we know today were written in 1926 by Jesse Edgar Middleton, and not by Brebeuf, and are not a direct translation from the original Huron-Wyandot.

The song’s minor key and lowered seventh scale degree harness an ancient sound reminiscent of old church modes, and this quintessential dark sound sets the carol apart from most other festive Christmas repertoire. The carol retains a special place in Canadian heritage, for it has been well loved by the Huron people, French Canadians, as well as English Canadians in its near 400-year existence.

-Sadie Menicanin

Our Next Concert: Stories of the Season

Friday, December 4, 2015, 8:00 pm

Stories of the Season
(St. Thomas’s Anglican Church 383 Huron Street, Toronto)

Stories of the Season: A Canadian Noel
is a joyous way to celebrate through song and spoken word. Canadian composers and arrangers include Anderson, Chatman, Daley, Jeff Enns, Holman, Sirett, Somers and Willan. Imant Raminsh’s lovely Magnificat for mezzo-soprano, chorus and piano will be performed. Interspersed amongst the musical selections are stories written and read by the singers themselves. Rounding out the concert is an audience carol-sing. Organist Daniel Bickle will play.

Purchase Tickets here!

Images

With the arrival of cool weather, rainy mornings, and changing leaves, it’s clear that fall is officially upon us here in Toronto! Our concert is fast approaching (less than a week away!) and we’re busy putting the final touches on our pieces for Stories of Remembrance. Next month brings Remembrance Day, and in step with our commemorative theme we will be performing a setting of “In Flanders Fields” by Canadian composer David MacIntyre. His setting of John McCrae’s famous verse has a dignified simplicity, fitting the poem’s solemn and moving subject matter.

MacIntyre utilizes military musical archetypes in his setting, which conjure up mental images of battle in days gone by. In a recent rehearsal, we discussed our different thoughts on his setting of the first verse, in which the sopranos float smoothly above the detached, lightly staccato accompaniment that pulses unified beats. Some images that came to our minds while rehearsing this verse included the muffled, distant drums of a marching army, or a dignified funeral procession. Sharing our artistic opinions in rehearsal can help inform our interpretation of the piece as an ensemble, adding to our musicality and unity in performance.

A second military connection in MacIntyre’s piece occurs a bit later, with a “fanfare” that he specifically marks in the score. Of course, since the piece is a cappella, we recreate this traditionally brass sound with the power of five-part vocal harmony. In a brisk 9/8 metre, the musical line is propelled forward victoriously, as if invincible – the reverie is broken only moments later as the choir slows down and resumes duple metre. MacIntyre brings the listener back down to earth, to a more emotional and understated musical language, matching the noble yet somber poetry.

We look forward to sharing this interpretation of “In Flanders Fields” and other beautiful poetic settings with you all on the evening of October 23rd. Don’t forget to invite a friend (or two)!

-Sadie Menicanin

Announcing Our 2015-2016 Season

ECS1516

Download season brochure

Telling Our Stories

This season blends the art of story-telling with music, bringing further depth, context and beauty to stories both old and new.

Friday, October 23, 2015, 8:00 pm

Stories of Remembrance
(St. Thomas’s Anglican Church 383 Huron Street, Toronto)

Stories of Remembrance features works of contemplation: Howells’ Take Him, Earth, for Cherishing and Rest by Vaughan Williams, as well as music by Canadians Eleanor Daley and David McIntryre. The centrepiece of the concert is Donald McCullough’s moving Holocaust Cantata, which intersperses spoken narratives and choral settings of songs found in the US Holocaust Memorial Museum archives.  Cellist Jenny Boin Cheong joins us for this work.

Friday, December 4, 2015, 8:00 pm

Stories of the Season
(St. Thomas’s Anglican Church 383 Huron Street, Toronto)

Stories of the Season: A Canadian Noel
is a joyous way to celebrate through song and spoken word. Canadian composers and arrangers include Anderson, Chatman, Daley, Jeff Enns, Holman, Sirett, Somers and Willan. Imant Raminsh’s lovely Magnificat for mezzo-soprano, chorus and piano will be performed. Interspersed amongst the musical selections are stories written and read by the singers themselves. Rounding out the concert is an audience carol-sing. Organist Daniel Bickle will play.

Friday, April 1, 2016, 8:00 pm

Stories of Love and Longing
(St. Thomas’s Anglican Church 383 Huron Street, Toronto)

Stories of Love and Longing features a variety of works on these themes. The humour of Sjolund’s Love Lost is balanced by myriad moods of Brahms’ Op. 52 Liebeslieder Waltzes, which will be presented in chamber music fashion, with a combination of quartets, soloists and choruses. Renaissance and contemporary settings of similar texts are paired: Palestrina’s Sicut Cervus and Enns’ Like as the Hart.

Friday, May 27, 2016, 8:00 pm

Stories of Peace and Justice
(St. Thomas’s Anglican Church 383 Huron Street, Toronto)

Stories of Peace and Justice closes the season with inspiring music ranging from Bach’s Dona Nobis Pacem to Peter Togni’s Ave Verum. Rupert Lang’s serene L’Agneau de Dieu for double choir contrasts with Ruth Watson Henderson’s lively To Everything there is a Season. Special guests, the Da Capo Chamber Choir of Kitchener and their conductor, Leonard Enns, join us to perform Frank Martin’s Mass for double choir. This program will also feature the winning work in Exultate’s composition competition for emerging composers living in Ontario, on a Canadian text.

Download season brochure

Older news…