Recent Concerts

2017 – 2018 Season

For Cherishing, June 1 & 3, 2018

Concert Program

Friday, June 1 at 7:30 PM
Proclamation Presbyterian Church
278 S Bryn Mawr Avenue in Bryn Mawr

Sunday, June 3 at 3 PM
First Unitarian Church
2125 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia

Part of the human condition is to be rarely satisfied with farewells, if we are even given the chance to say goodbye at all. For Cherishing features music of loss and remembrance spanning seven centuries. The program centers around Parry’s “Songs of Farewell,” Howells’ “Take Him, Earth, for Cherising,” and other pieces by Ockeghem, Victoria, Convery, and Tavener.

Where the Truth Lies, March 24 & 25, 2018

Concert Program

Saturday, March 24 at 8 PM
Historic St. George’s Methodist Church
235 N 4th Street in Philadelphia

Sunday, March 25 at 3 PM
First Unitarian Church
2125 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia

For thousands of years, we have created stories to chronicle, to educate, to entertain, and to explore our identities. Where the Truth Lies begins by exploring stories of conquest and loss through the music of colonialism and warfare. We weave together the programmatic songs of Clément Janequin and Mateo Flecha, bookended by American and Spanish colonial hymns, to show how music can be used as a vehicle of conquest itself. Meanwhile, through the heartbreaking music of Maurice Ravel and Mack Wilberg, we feel how war destroys us by cutting short our stories with the people we love.

Selections by Benjamin Britten, William Billings, Bob Chilcott, and Gustav Holst then take us on a transcendent exploration of devotion, showing us how stories of love, both human and divine, have intertwined and nurtured each other through the ages. As with music and conquest, here we experience music as a vehicle for love, and love as an integral ingredient in music (no more so than in Britten’s Hymn to Saint Cecilia, a complicated love story about music itself). We begin and end our program with the same musing: how do stories take shape—in the telling or the retelling? Our journey closes fittingly with this phrase, beautifully set in a final piece by Dale Trumbore:

Our voices rise and leave, traveling, raveling, veiling
currents across the sea, longing to reach each
Atlantis, locate shapes that sounds recall – call
back the world, as it was first encountered, heard.

The Northern Wild, November 18 & 19, 2017

Concert Program

Saturday, November 18 at 8 PM
Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill
8855 Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia

Sunday, November 19 at 3 PM
First Unitarian Church
2125 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia

In programming The Northern Wild, we searched for a musical kernel that would make a concert of a wide range of styles hold together in a compelling way. In that search, we realized that our favorite music by composers like Veljo Tormis, Jean Sibelius, and Eriks Ešenvalds simply sounds like it couldn’t come from anywhere else in the world. This is not to say that all the music we’ll sing sounds the same—far from it. Tormis’ folk roots could not be more different than the cerebral soundscapes of R. Murray Schafer, while Sibelius and Elgar teeter on the threshold between the late romantic and early modern. But despite all the differences, the wild North is the irreplaceable central character in all of the pieces. This music is grounded in visceral explorations of what it’s like to be in the North, to have the wild earth beneath one’s feet and to be in the unwavering watch of the same celestial bodies for months on end.

There is a loneliness in the way much of this music stretches out like the untouched lands and vast skies it evokes. But in regions still dominated by primal forces, there is great joy in making singular human connections—with a neighboring cowherd across acres of pasture, with a lover thought lost over the hillside, or simply with oneself in the stillness of the pines. These connections are why we sing together, and why we’ll be so glad to have you join us.