Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
in association with Jacobson's
David Hurley, Countertenor Alastair Hume, Countertenor Bob Chilcott, Tenor
Bruce Russell, Baritone Simon Carrington, Baritone Stephen Connolly, Bass
Friday Evening, December 13, 1991, at 8:00 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
A Winter Carnival
Those of you familiar with a "normal" King's Singers' concert would probably agree that there is nothing normal about it at all. To begin with, there are very few all male singing groups consisting of two countertenors, one tenor, two baritones, and one bass. Furthermore, the range of music featured in one concert is enormous -most King's Singers' performances cover at least four centuries.
So what does a King's Singers' holiday program contain Rest assured -it's just what the doctor ordered -the mixture as before. Your local shopping mall may be unable to think past )ingle Bells, but the King's Singers can! Here is sacred and secular, Renaissance and contemporary, amusing and serious, and everything in between.
A very happy holiday to you all from . . .
We Six Kings!!
The University Musical Society expresses gratitude to Jacobsoris for a generous grant supporting this presentation of The King's Singers.
The pre-concert carillon recital was performed by Sara Sjoberg, a U-M Spanish and Economics major
and a student of University Carillonneur Margo Halsted.
The King's Singers are represented by IMG Artists, New York City.
The King's Singers gratefully acknowledge assistance from Ford Motor Company in international
The King's Singers record for EMIAngel; recording distributor for American concerts -DJ Records,
P.O. Box 95, McMinnville, OR 97128.
King's Singers Mailing List: Suzanne Zaffarano, 3108 Ross Road, Ames, 1A 50010.
Sixteenth Concert of the 113th Season Twenty-first Annual Choice Series
A Winter Carnival
Christmas Songs from Catalonia an. Goff Richards
El nino querido
Claro abril resplandecio
Villancico Catalan La pastoreta -Maria Rosa -La Caterineta
A British Christmas
All Sons of Adam (Scottish, c. 1530) ...........Anonymous
What Child Is This (Traditional) ............an. Chilcott
Make We Merry ....................Keith Abbs
O Little Town of Bethlehem (Traditional) .........an. B. Ives
Somerset Wassail (Traditional) ..............an. B. Kay
Jack and the Giant Beanstalk Corporation .......Paul Drayton
A Yuppie Pantomime
IV Chanukah: The Festival of Lights
Mi Y'maleil (Traditional) ...............an. Chilcott
Aleh Neiri ...............Chaim Parchi, an. Chilcott
Sevivon (Traditional).................an. Chilcott
V King John's Christmas................Daryl Runswick
Arrangements in Close Harmony Seasonal Selections from the Lighter Side of the Repertoire
United States premiere
LIST OF PIECES?IN:THE 2ND HALF
Aleih Neiri Mi Y'Maleil
K.S. Music Co. Transcontinental K.S. Music Co.
Chilcott Chilcott Chilcott
Selections in Close Harmony:
King John's Christmas
You are the New Day
And so it goes
Deck the Hall
Little Drummer Boy
Runswick Anon. David
K.S. Music Co. Regal Music Warner Chappell 1
Christmas Songs from Catalonia
Arranged by Goff Richards
The Spanish area of Catalonia is a treasure trove of folk song material. Most of the songs are quite simple yet always interesting and highly evocative. In this group of Christmas songs, the first and last items are sung in Catalan, the remaining songs in Spanish.
La Filadora -Goodness knows what Maria was doing wandering through the streets with her spinning wheel and bobbin on Christmas Eve, but by chance she happened to meet up with John, her loved one. The main topic of conversation was, would you believe, commercial enterprise! The happy couple decide to set up shop together.
El nino querido -"What shall we give the tiny little boy to make him laugh and be happy" Certainly not modern day toys! Here, the answer is oranges, cakes (very sweet), nuts, honey, and cherries!
Claro abril resplandecio -More than just a song celebrating the arrival of spring, this celebrates the most famous of births.
Villancico Catalan -This simple yet poignant song tells of the Infant Birth as seen through the eyes of a group of peasants harvesting the fruit crop.
La pastoreta -Maria Rosa -La Caterineta -The final item in this group is a medley of three songs. La pastoreta asks "What shall we give to the shepherdess What shall we give her to go dancing" Well, of course, a hood is the first thing that springs to mind!
Maria Rosa tells of the beauty of Mary Rose and the anxiety her father is causing both to her and her lover -will he agree to them marrying
Finally, La Caterineta relates another tale of father and daughter. Unfortunately, this one ends in tragedy. Catherine has disobeyed her father's instructions and gone to the local dance. In his rage, he takes a piece of wood and kills her. We are spared the gruesome details, but nevertheless, the message is quite clear -little girls should always do as they are told!
A British Christmas
All through the centuries, Christmas has been celebrated in Britain as the foremost Christian festival; no other holiday has inspired so much verse and song, so many festivities and traditions. Something of the diversity and fullness of this celebration is reflected in this group of songs.
All Sons of Adam is a medley of popular Christmas tunes of nearly five centuries ago, one of which seems to be a precursor of Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In. What Child Is This uses the melody of Greensleeves, adapted to seasonal words, while the well-known carol O Little Town of Bethlehem has a sentimental melody in high Victorian style. Make We Merry is a new tune in a medieval style, whereas Somerset Wassail is an ancient tune in a modern arrangement; both rejoice in the fasting, drinking, and general merry-making, which the Christian festival inherited from the pagan Winter Solstice rites it superseded, and which today are at the heart of most British people's way of life during the second half of each December!
Jack and the Giant Beanstalk Corporation
A Yuppie Pantomime, by Paul Drayton (b. 1944)
]ack and the Giant Beanstalk Corporation was commissioned by The King's Singers and given its world premiere in Oxford on December 19, 1990, and its first London performances on December 22 and 23, 1990. Tonight's performance in Ann Arbor marks the work's U.S. premiere.
His Mother Wicked Giant Multinational
After a jolly opening chorus, the story begins in a squalid hovel in the Home Counties. The time is 1992. Jack's widowed mother laments the idleness of her son, but he reassures her that he has at least found a job in the magic bean business. They sing the praises of magic beans, and Jack begins his new career.
He soon becomes Chairman of the Board, but he is threatened with a takeover bid by the Giant Multinational. (Audience instructions: Don't forget to boo and hiss here!) An impassioned duet in which Jack pleads with the Giant to spare him is interrupted by the arrival of the Fairy Queen. She subdues the Giant with her magic powers: she will grant him his dearest wish if only he will leave Jack alone. The Giant confesses his real ambition: to be a giant operatic superstar. This is easily arranged, and the scene transfers to Covent Garden.
The Giant's new-found talent quickly attracts the interest of a crooked agent, known as Prince Charming, and his glamorous assistant Lucinderella. He invests all his money in the new singing star before discovering that the magic voice bestowed on him by the Fairy Queen only lasts for one performance. Prince Charming, therefore, is broke. Lucinderella is out of a job, but she solves this problem by marrying Jack, and Jack's mother finds that she is irresistibly drawn to the Giant. The Fairy Queen claims the hand of Prince Charming, and they retire to Fairyland.
A reprise of the opening jolly chorus brings the proceedings to a tidy, if unconvincing, denouement.
Paul Drayton began piano lessons at the age of eleven and passed the London Royal Academy of Music performers' diploma at the age of sixteen. After reading music at Oxford University, he was director of music at New College Choir School for six years, then joined the music staff at Stowe School near Buckingham.
His work as a composer has been widely performed in the United Kingdom and Europe, as well as in the USA, Australia, and Japan. There have been a number of broadcasts of his music, which ranges from works for children to a full-length opera written on a major scholarship from the Arts Council of Great Britain.
Mr. Drayton has written many pieces for The King's Singers, including the internationally acclaimed Masterpiece, Six Characters in Search of an Opera, and ]ack and the Giant Beanstalk Corporation. Additionally, commissions have come from many different quarters, including the Three Choirs Festival, the Norfolk Triennial Festival, Washington Cathedral, USA, and a wide variety of individual instrumentalists and singers. He has still found time to work as a solo pianist and accompanist, equally at home with concerto appearances, lecture recitals, or occasionally a jazz trio.
Chanukah: The Festival of Lights
In the Jewish faith, the holiday of Chanukah commemorates the victory of Judah the Maccabee and his family over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C. Led by King Antiochus IV, the Syrian-Greeks had forbidden the Jews from performing their basic religious functions and taken over their Temple. The Jews rebelled and defeated the Syrian armies, liberating their people from this religious oppression. The word Chanukah refers to the restoration of the Temple, which was cleansed and rededicated within eight days after the great victory.
Eight is indeed a special number with respect to this holiday, which is celebrated for eight days, not only because it took that long to restore the Temple, but also for another reason. According to the Talmud, the scholarly book of Jewish tradition, when the Jews recaptured the Temple, they found that all the jugs of oil that the High Priest had prepared for lighting the menorah (candelabra) had been desecrated by their oppressors. After a long search, only one jug could be found still bearing the unbroken seal of the High Priest. Although there was thought to be only enough oil in the jug to burn for one day, when the High Priest kindled the flame, a miracle occurred, and the menorah flame continued to burn for eight days. From this event grew the tradition of commemorating Chanukah each year by lighting the menorah candles for eight days, and this is why the holiday has become known as the Festival of Lights.
Chanukah is a very festive time marked by the playing of games and the exchanging of gifts, and the music traditionally associated with the holiday generally reflects this mood. Mi Y'maleil is a traditional Ashkenazic folksong in celebration of Judah the Maccabee's historic victory. Aleh hleiri, by the Israeli-American composer Chaim Parchi, describes a child's fascination with the Chanukah candles. The set closes with Sevivon, a traditional song depicting the spinning of the dreydel, a four-sided top with which Jewish children play during the holiday and which has a different Hebrew letter on each side, representing the words "a Great Miracle Happened Here [in Israel]." The King's Singers wish to sincerely thank Matthew Lazar and Joshua Jacobson of HaZamir Publications and Judith Tischler of Transcontinental Music Publications for their valuable assistance in compiling this set of songs.
King John's Christmas
by Daryl Runswick
The poem "King John's Christmas" was written by the British author A. A. Milne in a volume of children's poems entitled Now We are Six, which was first published in 1927. Milne is perhaps best known in the English-speaking world as the creator of Winnie the Pooh, who appears from time to time in Now We Are Six. "King John's Christmas," however, deals exclusively with King John -though not as a signatory of the Magna Carta, but as if he were an English schoolboy waiting excitedly for his presents on Christmas Eve. The story is in the tradition of the Victorian cautionary tale, and there are loose parallels between King John and such characters as Scrooge in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.
Milne's story is altogether more lighthearted than those of his predecessors. King John lives a life so aloof from his subjects that he hasn't received a Christmas present for years. This year, however, he has shown some attempt at humility, albeit somewhat limited, in signing his Christmas present list to Santa Claus, "Jack," instead of his usual more formal Latin "Johannes R." As a reward for his modesty, one of the items on the list bounces through the royal bedroom from children playing in the street below: "a big, red india-rubber ball."
The music, which takes up the simple narrative of the poem, was composed by Daryl Runswick for the 1986 King's Singers' album entitled "Kid's Stuff' (AngelEMI).
Arrangements in Close Harmony
The King's Singers like to end their program with selections that might consist of anything from arrangements of folk songs and spirituals to standard evergreens and contemporary pop material. Seasonal Selections from the Lighter Side of the Repertoire are included tonight in this closing group.
About the Artists
England's phenomenally successful six-man vocal ensemble, The King's Singers, has performed everything from Renaissance to Rock for millions of delighted fans all over the world. As they approach their 25th anniversary season, they continue to affirm their place among the world's premier vocal ensembles with a full schedule of performances, recordings, and major television appearances. After nearly a quarter century, their devoted following is ever-growing due to their imaginative programming, remark?able musicianship, and flawless delivery.
Since their initial professional season in 1968, the ensemble, which was formed at King's College, Cambridge, has developed the most diverse repertoire of any vocal group in the world. With more than 50 recordings and a Grammy nomination to their credit, and new CDs and cassettes appearing regu?larly on the EMIAngel label, The King's Singers have just released an album of songs by Gershwin and Arlen with the renowned jazz pianist George Shearing. Other releases scheduled for the 1991-92 season include a collection of Neapolitan popular songs of the sixteenth century, entitled "La Dolce Vita;" a follow-up recording to their highly success?ful album "Watching the White Wheat," and a collection of their unique arrangements of recent hits from the "pop" charts.
The King's Singers are familiar to American television audiences through their regular guest appearances on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and via numerous spe?cials, including the Emmy Award-winning ABC Christmas special filmed in Salzburg with Julie Andrews, Placido Domingo, and John Denver, and "The King's Singers' Mad?rigal History Tour." Their popular PBS shows include "The King's Singers Holiday Special with the Kansas City Symphony," "The King's Singers On Stage at Wolf Trap," and "Evening at Pops" with the Boston Pops. 1991 saw the release on home video of the documentary "The Art of The King's Singers" (Hinshaw Music), an educational video that lends new insights into the everyday life of the group.
Highlights of past American tours have included appearances at Carnegie Hall, Lin?coln Center, the Kennedy Center, Tangle-wood Music Festival, and on the Minnesota Orchestra series. They have also performed recently at prestigious halls in Chicago, De?troit, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. Additionally, in the spring of 1990, they made their "debut" at Shea Stadium in New York City, where over 30,000 baseball fans were treated to a brief program and a special arrangement of "The Star-Spangled Banner," prior to a game between the Mets and the Houston Astros.
In addition to their hundreds of a cappella recitals in the United States, they have also collaborated with many American orchestras. In the current season, The King's Singers' extensive itinerary takes them throughout Europe, Asia, and North Amer?ica, and their U.S. tours feature return en?gagements at Carnegie Hall, Boston's Symphony Hall, Cleveland's Severance Hall, The Kennedy Center with the National Sym?phony Orchestra, and Royce Hall at UCLA.
Since their inception, The King's Sing?ers have been committed to performing works by twentieth-century composers and have substantially added to the vocal repertoire by commissioning new works by outstanding contemporary composers. While they are masters at performing new music, they are equally at home singing Renaissance madri?gals, sacred and secular choral masterpieces, folk music in various languages, and their trademark Arrangements in Close Harmony, consisting of a wealth of pop music. Their recent release entitled "On the Beautiful Blue Danube," featuring music of Johann Strauss, and their best-selling CDs "The Beatles Connection" and "A Little Christmas Music" (with Kiri Te Kanawa) would seem to indi?cate that The King's Singers do it all!
This evening's concert marks the Singers' third Ann Arbor appearance, the first, in November 1986 and the second, in April 1990.
David Hurley, countertenor, began his musical training at the age of eight as a chorister in Winchester Cathedral. He started singing alto at Winchester College, after which he went to New College Oxford as a Choral Scholar. With a degree in geog?raphy, he found his way back to Winchester, where he rejoined the Cathedral Choir, com?bining it with a career as a free-lance singer. When not singing, David enjoys riding other people's horses and sailing other people's boats. The newest member of the group, he joined The King's Singers in February 1990.
Alastair Hume, countertenor and founding member of the King's Singers, along with Simon Carrington, joined the choir at Tonbridge School as an alto in his third year. This encouraged him to take the alto trial at King's College, Cambridge, where he was accepted in 1962. An accomplished double-bass player, he was a member of both the
National Youth Orchestra and the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra. In addition to being an expert (if sporadic) squash player, Alastair enjoys sailing and antique cars and has an interest in Westholme Restaurant, Pilton, Somerset.
Bob Chilcott, tenor, was both a cho?rister and Choral Scholar at King's College, Cambridge. His main interest as a boy was cricket, and this stood him in good stead for his future amateur career in the game, playing for such teams as the Royal College of Music XI, the English Music Theatre XI, and the BBC 3rd XI. After Cambridge, he studied singing and composition with Alan Ridout at the Royal College of Music. Since then, he has divided his career betwen those two disciplines, joining The King's Singers in 1986 and continuing his arranging and com?posing work when time permits. He lives outside of Oxford, with his wife and two children, and his least favorite hobby is taking his old Alfa Romeo car to the garage to be fixed!
Bruce Russell, baritone, was a choris?ter at King's College, Cambridge, and con?tinued his education at the Shrewsbury School. From there he gained a choral schol?arship to Christ Church, Oxford, where he studied music. After three years in London, he returned to Oxford as a lay-clerk, combin?ing this with teaching the flute and freelance singing. Until joining The King's Singers full-time in January 1988, Bruce had been singing in the choir at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, while continuing teaching at Radley College. Married, he enjoys walking and exploring historic buildings.
Simon Carrington, baritone, has been, to his constant amazement, a co-director and creative force with The King's Singers since the group's inception over 20 years ago. Educated at Christ Church Cathedral School, King's School, Canterbury, and King's College, Cambridge, he drifted into a career in music as a double-bass player, first with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, then as principal with the Monteverdi Orchestra and other London chamber orchestras. He lives in an old thatched house in the Vale of Pewsey with his wife and two children -all musicians. He teaches singing irregularly at Marlborough College, conducts choirs when
he can, and between times enjoys the Wilt?shire countryside, inland waterways, garden?ing, and vintage cars, an interest he shares with Alastair Hume, a friend and colleague for over thirty years.
Stephen Connolly, bass, was a choris?ter and, at the age of six, a lay-clerk at Leeds Parish Church. He was also baritone soloist with the National Youth Choir of Great Britain. While in the North of England, he performed as a soloist with many choral societies, as well as pursuing his love of ensemble singing. On leaving school, he accepted a scholarship at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he studied singing with Rudolf Piernay. While at the Guildhall, he made his operatic debut in a production of Nicholas Maw's The Rising of the Moon. A King's Singer since 1988, his home now is in Gloucestershire, but he still relishes a trip back to his native Yorkshire,
Special thanks go to members of the University of Michigan Men's Glee Club for their help in
the lobby this evening.
See them off to Russia in a bon voyage concert on April 11, 1992, at 8:00 p.m.
in Hill Auditorium.
which enables him to indulge his passion for Real Ales, good Indian cuisine, and authentic Yorkshire pudding!