Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ross Care - Shakespeare Songs

Conductor Elizabeth Helms takes a bow after the Ventura Gold choral concert.


In March 2009, Ross Care had a new work premiered by the 80-voice Gold Coast Concert Chorus. The two performances, conducted by artistic director Elizabeth Helms, were part of Ventura County Gold, a concert of classical music by regional southern California composers.

RICH and STRANGE -
Songs from the Fantasy Plays of William Shakespeare

I. Fairy Song from A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
II. A Very Scurvy Tune from THE TEMPEST
III. Medley: Full Fathom Five (Ariel's Song) and Caliban’s Song
From THE TEMPEST
IV. Spring Song from THE WINTER'S TALE

From the program notes:

The songs in Rich and Strange were first composed as part of complete incidental scores for various theatrical productions.

For this choral cycle I expanded these tunes into developed movements for large choir, adding piano accompaniments and repeating and developing section in ways that could not be utilized in the concentrated dramatic context of the plays themselves.

Writing in the Ventura STAR, Margaret Nesbitt, an actress and journalist, commented:

“The concert opened with Rich and Strange, songs from the fantasy plays of Shakespeare. I had studied Shakespeare so all the plays were familiar. The music was delightful and brought to life the scenes from the various plays.

“As I listened it was impossible not to see Queen Tatiana being lulled to sleep by her fairy troop and the drunken Caliban carousing. The bawdy song of Autolysis from The Winter's Tale closed the piece.

“It was a wonderful opening to a varied program.”

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About the Gold Coast Chorus:
The Gold Coast Concert Chorus, Elizabeth Helms, Artistic Director,
is a regional choir composed of singers of all levels and experience. GCCC traveled to New York in July 1991, to perform at Carnegie Hall (under the direction of John Rutter) and at Lincoln Center. Other tours were in 1995 to Great Britain and in 1998 to France, Italy and Croatia. The Chorus had successful tours of Central and Eastern Europe from June 28 - July 14, 2001, and the British Isles from June 25 - July 11, 2004.