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UMS Concert Program, November 8, 1986: The King's Singers --

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University Musical Society
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Season: 108th
Concert: Tenth
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Jlntetfiatipnal Presentations
The King's Singers
Jeremy Jackman, countertenor Anthony Holt, baritone Alastair Hume, countertenor Simon Carrington, baritone Bob Chilcott, tenor Colin Mason, bass
Saturday Evening, November 8, 1986, at 8:00 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
English Madrigals
Now is the month of Maying ............................ Thomas Morley
Say, Love, if ever thou didst find ...........................John Dowland
Come sirrah Jack, ho! ................................... Thomas Weelkes
Were I a king ..............................................John Mundy
See, see the shepherds' queen.............................Thomas Tomkins
The Lamentations of Jeremiah.............................. Thomas Tallis
"Cries" of London........................................ Luciano Berio
The Bee (Tennyson) -.
O weary hearts (Longfellow) I .......................... Frank Bridge
Hilly-ho, hilly-ho (Moore) J
Masterpiece .............................................. Paul Drayton
Arrangements in close harmony Moss Music and EMIAngel Records
Cameras and recording devices are not allowed in the auditorium.
It is requested that electronic watches or beepers be turned off during the concert.
Halls Cough Tablets, courtesy of Warner-Lambert Company, are available in the lobby.
Tenth Concert of the 108th Season Sixteenth Annual Choice Series
English Madrigals
The madrigal was one of the most important and popular musical forms of the sixteenth century. Originating in Italy, it spread to other countries and reached a late flowering in England between 1590 and 1630. Thomas Morlcy adapted the Italian style to suit English needs and inspired a whole generation of English madrigalists. He, together with William Byrd, represents the earlier period of the English madrigal, while the younger composers, notably Thomas Weelkes and John Wilbye, embraced the innovations of the more adventurous Italian masters.
The Lamentations ofjeremiah............................... Thomas Tallis
(b. circa 1505; d. 1585)
Philip Brett, who edited the Tallis Lamentations, has this to say about them: "The lessons sung at Matins on the last three days of Holy Week were frequently set by both English and continental composers in the sixteenth century. Tallis took the first two lessons for Maundy Thursday and, following custom, also set the announcements, the Hebrew letters which separate the verses, and the refrain "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return unto the Lord thy God." Tallis's intense and profoundly melancholy setting of these somber words represents one of the earliest triumphs of the expressive style, and the emotional undercurrents are all the more potent for being controlled by a noble restraint. The Lamentations are indeed among the finest examples of all Tudor music."
First lesson Here beginneth the lamentation ofjeremiah the prophet:
1. How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! How is she become as a widow! She that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!
2. She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks; among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they arc become her enemies.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return unto the Lord thy God.
Second lesson From the lamentation ofjeremiah the prophet:
3. Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude; she dwelleth among the heathen, she findeth no rest.
4. All her persecutors overtook her within the straits. [The ways of Zion] they mourn, because none come to the solemn assembly. All her gates are desolate, her priests sigh, her virgins arc afflicted, and she herself is in bitterness.
5. Her adversaries are become the head, her enemies prosper; for the Lord hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions; her children are gone into captivity before the adversary.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return unto the Lord thy God.
Lamentations ofjeremiah I, v. 1-5
"Cries" of London ........................................ Luciano Berio
(b. 1925)
These five lighthearted settings of traditional London street cries were made between August 1973 and November 1974. The one which now stands at the end of the score was, in fact, the first to be composed -Berio wrote it for a concert given by The King's Singers at the Edinburgh Festival in 1973. The remaining songs were commissioned by The King's Singers with the aid of a grant from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
Those familiar with Berio's vocal music will know that he has had a lifelong fondness for the simplicity of folk music. His folk song arrangements made for the singer Cathy Berberian are by now well-known (though not so well-known is the fact that two or three of the songs were actually written in the folk idiom by Berio himself). One of the composer's earliest wholly characteristic pieces El mar la mar of 1952 evokes the flavor of the Mediterranean folk style, combining its fresh simplicity with the first seeds of an evolving serial language; while the recent stage work Opera incorporates a lullaby in a traditional Sicilian text, sung in an appro?priately nasal manner. "Cries" of London has affinities with all these works. Typically, its surface simplicity conceals a more complex approach to word-setting, one which avoids the "illustrative" and instead invites the listener to explore the actual sound properties of the texts.
The first "Cry" provides a clear illustration of Berio's technique. The melodic line is shared between tenor and bass, while the remaining voices "comment" on the text by enunciat?ing its predominant vowel sounds. At the center of the piece, the "commenting" voices actually anticipate the text, forming a quasi-instrumental tremolo out of the rapid repetition of the words "buy" and "any." This deliberate blurring of the distinction between vocal and instrumental sounds is common to most of Berio's recent music involving voices.
The second "Cry" is the simplest of the set: over a continuous drone on the interval of a perfect fourth, the first counterpoint unfolds a melody "like a folk tune, with a touch of ecstasy." This setting meets its obverse side, as it were, in the fourth "Cry," a further version of the same text which, in contrast to the fresh lightness of the first setting, has a predominantly dark sound. (Though, like all these pieces, it retains a strong sense of humor, as its ending, "as low as possible, with obvious difficulty," clearly shows.) The presenting of two contrasting settings of one text is, incidentally, something that Berio had already carried out in two of his most celebrated works, Circles and Sinfonia.
The central "Cry" is the most Italianate of the set (which is not to suggest that any of these London street cries arc particularly English in flavor!). According to a note in the score, it should be sung with a Neapolitan accent and mannerism. The word on which Berio con?centrates here is "garlic," with the "commenting" voices stressing the rolled "r" and the long "a" sounds.
The work ends with the most dramatic of the five "Cries" and, appropriately enough for these troubled times, it is one that introduces a somewhat "sour" note whenever the subject of money is mentioned (as it most emphatically is at the start of the piece). Having begun fortissimo, with rapidly repeated shouts of "money" and "penny," the piece subsides into a pianissimo conclusion.
-Mishit Donal
Three Songs............................................... Frank Bridge
(b. 1879; d. 1941) The Bee (Tennyson) 1913 O weary hearts (Longfellow) 1909 Hilly-ho, hilly-ho (Moore) 1909
Born in Brighton, England, Frank Bridge was a musician of considerable gifts. He won a notable reputation as a violinist of chamber music, being a member of the English String Quartet until 1915. Asa conductor he appeared at Covent Garden and Promenade Concerts and made several visits to the United States to conduct his own music. It was to Bridge that the young Benjamin Britten was sent for his early lessons in composition.
These three songs are typical of Bridge's style in the early part of the century. They arc the work of a fastidious craftsman with a fine car for twists of harmony, which often illuminate the text. The influence of his teacher, Sir Charles Stanford, is evident in places, but his growing interest in the music of Dclius can be detected in the flowing chromatic lines.
Masterpiece (1981) ........................................ Paul Drayton
(b. 1944)
In response to the challenge of The King's Singers' Composers Competition in 1981, Paul Drayton offered this lighthcarted work, Masterpiece. It is a tribute to the great composers of the last 300 years -and most of them appear during the eleven minutes of the piece!
Arrangements in close harmony
The King's Singers like to end their programs with a selection of pieces from the lighter side of the repertoire, which might consist of anything from arrangements of folk songs and spirituals, to standard evergreens and contemporary pop material.
About the Artists
Since its formation in 1968 at King's College, Cambridge, England, the six men known as The King's Singers have become one of the world's most sought-after and highly acclaimed musical ensembles. As part of their constantly active international touring schedule, the Singers give well over 100 concerts each season throughout England, Western Europe, the Far East, and several visits annually to the United States. Their international audiences have come to know them through concerts, television and radio appearances, and nearly forty recordings.
Possessing what is easily the broadest, most diverse repertoire of any vocal group in the world, The King's Singers bring their combination of musical excellence and personal charm to everything from Renaissance polyphony to madrigals and folk music in various languages,
contemporary pieces, and a wealth of popular music. Music has been written for them by some of today's most respected composers, varying from the comic Time Piece of Paul Patterson to Ned Rorem's setting of Walt Whitman's Civil War prose Pilgrim Strangers. Last summer the group premiered a major commission from Peter Maxwell Davics at the Orkney Festival, with its American premiere scheduled for this fall in Chicago. On the lighter side, a single disc recorded with Paul McCartney recently hit the top of the English pop charts.
The King's Singers have appeared on numerous television shows, including Evening at Pops, Today, and The Tonight Show. The group's acclaimed six-part television series, The King's Singers' Madrigal History Tour, was filmed on location in Europe and is now being distributed internationally. They have been featured on major nationally-syndicated radio scries including The Prairie Home Companion and All Things Considered.
The Singers' American tours have taken them from New York to San Francisco, and summer festival audiences have heard them at Tanglewood, Wolf Trap, Interlochen, and the Oregon Bach Festival. Their recent performances at Wolf Trap will be aired over the PBS network next February or March in Live at Wolf Trap: The King's Singers. Material from the special will also be available on home video.
On their home front -the British Isles -The King's Singers live up to their name as entertainers to royalty. In 1985 they sang for the Prince and Princess of Wales at the opening concert of the annual Eisteddfod, a festival of folk culture in North Wales, and an appearance at Windsor Castle during Royal Ascot Week is in the offing. They have performed at the Brighton Festival, the Orkney Festival, appeared with the London Symphony and English Chamber Orchestra, and toured Scotland with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Recording projects which will reach the United States during the coming months include a children's album, a Broadway album, a Beatles collection, sacred and secular music by Orlando di Lasso, and the acclaimed "Tribute to the Comedian Harmonists." The Singers have worked closely with Sir Neville Marriner both in England and the United States. In 1986 and 1987 they willjoin him for a festival at London's Barbican Centre.
Jeremy Jackman, countertenor, began his singing career in the choir of St. Andrews, Kingsbury, and then transferred to St. Paul's Cathedral School where he was chorister. After studying at the University of Hull, he sang with the BBC Northern Singers and the Choir of Westminster Cathedral before becoming a King's Singer in 1980. He lives in London and enjoys making and drinking his own beer.
Alastair Hume, countertenor, is a founding member of The King's Singers. Also an accomplished double bass player, he has been a member of the National Youth Orchestra and the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra. In addition to being an expert squash player, he enjoys sailing, antique cars, and the restaurant he has opened in a fourteenth-century barn in Somerset.
Bob Chilcott, tenor, was both a chorister and choral scholar at King's College. After Cambridge, he studied singing and composition with Alan Ridout at the Royal College of Music. He has sung with the BBC Singers and is in demand as an arranger and composer for BBC Radio and various television companies. His main interest as a boy was cricket, and he now maintains an amateur career in the game, concurrent with his professional music career. He lives near London, in Wimbledon, and his favorite hobby is bread-making.
Anthony Holt, baritone, was one of the twenty boys selected from the Royal School of Church Music to sing in Westminster Abbey at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953. He received a degree from Christ Church, Oxford, and became a lay clerk at Chichester Cathedral, where he also taught at the choir school. He sang with the BBC Chorus before joining The King's Singers in 1969. He now lives in Croydon, and his interests include ornithology, travel, and board games.
Simon Carrington, baritone, was, like his father before him, a choral scholar at King's College, Cambridge. He began as a chorister at Christ Church Cathedral School at age seven, then moved on to King's School, Canterbury. He spent a year at New College, Oxford, before going to King's College where he became a founding member of The King's Singers. He plays the double bass and has been a member of the National Youth Orchestra and an assistant principal with the BBC Northern Symphony. Living in the Vale of Pewsey, he is interested in antique cars, jogging, and a choir that he directs annually at an Austrian Holiday Music Course.
Colin Mason, bass, was born in Scotland but moved south of the border at the age of four. He read music at Oxford, singing in the choir of New College, and graduated in 1979. Before joining The King's Singers in 1982, he served for two years as a lay clerk in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, where he combined chapel duties with freelance work. He lives in Oxford?shire, dreams of keeping horses one day, and has other interests that include cooking and cross-country running.
Ground transportation worldwide for The King's Singers provided by Ford Motor Company.
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1270 Telephone: (313) 764-2538

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