Voci Women's Vocal Ensemble
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Voci Presents

Voices in Peace XIII: Birth and Beginnings

Voci's thirteenth annual Voices in Peace concert explores the power and fragility of beginnings. Through movements from Gustav Holst's Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda as well as works by Ysaye Barnwell, Claude Debussy, Pekka Kostiainen, Jude Navari, Arvo Pärt, Karin Rehnqvist, Hector Villa-Lobos and others, we sing of the magical energy found in dawn, birth, and transitions. Then in a collection of lullabies from around the world, including works by Eve Beglarian, Annea Lockwood, Alice Parker, and Ralph Vaughan Williams, we discover the fragility and hope for peace of that accompany new life.

Sunday, November 16, 4:00 pm
St Mary Magdalen Parish
2005 Berryman Street, Berkeley

Saturday, November 22, 2:00 pm
St. Perpetua Catholic Church
3445 Hamlin Road, Lafayette

Please note the different start times for these two concert dates.

Voci Program Note

Welcome to Voices in Peace XIII: Birth and Beginnings! Join us in our exploration of works that celebrate dawn, awakening, fragile beginnings, and the power of new life. In many ways, this repertoire mirrors my own recent exploration of beginnings, including my beginning with Voci last year, my beginning back in the Bay Area after a decade away, and my still new beginning of parenthood. The feelings of energy, expectation, fear, fragility, and possibility are all alive in these wonderful works of music, which offer an intricate study of all that beginning can be.

The first half begins with Gustav Holst's dramatic Hymns to the Rig Veda, which vividly personify nature and her powerful beginnings. Interspersed within these hymns are Debussy's Les Angélus and Eve Beglarian's Lullaby. Holst's Funeral Chant initiates our journey with the spirit to the other side, continuing with Villa Lobos's glorious Sanctus and followed by Karin Rehnqvist's striking I Himmelen, which sonically depicts the unearthly brightness of the Heavenly Hall using kulning, a traditional Swedish folk singing technique. We are led back to the world of the living with Holst's Hymn of the Travellers, and with Jude Navari's challenging and fulfilling Siddhartha Fragments, which describe the process of rebirth found in enlightenment.

Our second half explores beginning as found in the fragility of lullabies as well as the formative texts and music of old cultures, beginning with Annea Lockwood's Malolo, based on Samoan text, and moving into Kostiainen's Moni kakku paalta kaunis, a setting of sections of the Kanteletar, a founding text of Finnish culture, and Peace Upon You, Jerusalem, Arvo Pärt's setting of Psalm 122. These are surrounded by a variety of other lullabies from different times and places that speak to beginning, the need for care, and the desire for peace.

Voci is overflowing with beginnings. We have a wonderful group of new singers that we are very happy to welcome into the Voci family. We have also just launched a new project to collaborate with and commission a new work by a local composer every year. We are happy to congratulate and welcome our first composer, Ann Callaway, whose work-in-progress will be performed by Voci this coming spring and final new work in spring 2016. Thank you for coming and supporting our thirteenth annual concert for peace.

--Dr. Anne K. Hege

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