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University of Iowa News Release

April 21, 2006

UI Choirs Sing Music From Renaissance To Contemporary May 5

Kantorei and University Choir, two choral organizations from the University of Iowa School of Music, will share the program of a free concert at 8 p.m. Friday, May 5 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus. The concert will be under the direction of choral conducting graduate students in the School of Music.

The University Choir will perform with master's degree student Paul Gregg. Its program will comprise two portions -- a group of sacred pieces, sung entirely in English, followed by a group of secular pieces. Each group ranges from the Renaissance to the 20th century.

There will be five pieces on the sacred portion of the program:

-- "O Sing Joyfully" by 17th-century composer Adrian Batten;

-- "Hear the Voice and Prayer" by his contemporary Thomas Tallis;

-- two works by early 20th-century English composers -- Ralph Vaughan-Williams' "O Clap Your Hands," accompanied by graduate organ student Julia Howell, and Hubert Parry's "My Soul There is a Country" from his 'Songs of Farewell'; and

-- Norwegian composer Egil Hovland's setting of the story of "Saul," with UI voice faculty member Stephen Swanson as narrator and organ accompaniment played by Howell.

The secular portion of the program will cover a similar range of styles with six works:

-- from the Renaissance, Hans Leo Hassler's part-song of spurned love, "Ach, weh des leiden" (Alas for sorrow);

-- two forest fantasies from the Romantic period -- Johannes Brahms' part-song "Waldesnacht" (Forest night) and Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel's "Nachtreigen" for double-chorus;

-- two selections from Jules Massenet's French "Chansons des Bois d'Amaranthe" (Songs of the Amaranthe woods) from 1900;

-- Kansas City composer Jean Belmont's "Sand County," based on a text from Aldo Leopold's "Sand County Almanac"; and

--Harry Somers' arrangement of the Canadian folk song "The Old Mayflower."

Kantorei will perform under the direction of doctoral student Brian Bailey. It will open its program with three sacred works: "Cantate Domino" by Giovanni Gabrieli, and "Hosanna to the Son of David" by Thomas Weelkes, both from the late Renaissance; and "The Woman with the Alabaster Box," a setting of a story from the Gospel of Matthew by the contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Paert.

Next on the program are three secular part-songs by Johannes Brahms: "Nachtwache I", "Nachtwache II" (Night-watch I and II) and "Im Herbst" (In Autumn).

A pair of Italian madrigals provides the next set: "Itene, o miei sospiri" (Flee, my sighs) exemplifies the highly chromatic style of Carlo Gesualdo; and "Vita de la mia vita" (Life of my life), a text by the 16th-century Italian poet Torquato Tasso, has been set by contemporary American composer William Hawley.

The program concludes with another contemporary American work, Eric Whitacre's "Leonardo dreams of his flying machine," which is virtually a short opera that blends quotes from Da Vinci's notebooks with thoughts about how Da Vinci might have dreamed, thought and worked.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072,