Since 1993, our annual concert series in Wilkes-Barre and Scranton has provided a wonderful laboratory for the development of programs that excite both the ears and the minds of our subscribers. While we hope you can find in the following pages a program that excites you, if not, then we’ll be happy to build a program especially for you and your audience.
Echoes from a Medieval Cathedral
One of the pinnacles of late medieval composition, Guillaume de Machaut’s Messe de Nostre Dame, inspires a menagerie of music from the dawn of the millennium. Touching upon Gregorian plainsong, organa, clausula, motet, mass polyphony, and liturgical drama, our survey highlights the full compass of sounds and styles that filled the medieval church.
An Assemblage of Imperfections
Conservative theorists of the late sixteenth-century bemoaned the expressionist madrigals of Claudio Monteverdi, Luca Marenzio, and Carlo Gesualdo, but in their fin de siecle music we find the very seeds the coming Baroque. Enjoy the daring music of men who would break every rule to touch the emotions of their listeners, including Monteverdi’s rarely heard madrigal cycle, The Lament of Arianna.
Johannes Ockeghem (c. 1410-1497)
Elusive, enigmatic, mystical-the music of Johannes Ockeghem has fascinated both listener and historian for centuries. A program of motets, mass movements, and chansons commemorating the most reflective and spiritual composer of the early Renaissance.
El Sancto Spirito
Featuring Cristobal de Morales’s beautiful Missa Desilde al cavallero and festival motets of Tomas Luis de Victoria and Francisco Guerrero, experience the sixteenth century’s ‘golden age’ of Spanish music through the works of its three greatest masters.
The Tears of St. Peter
Composed in 1593-1594 and dedicated to Pope Clement VII, The Tears of Saint Peter stands not only as the final work of the Renaissance master Orlande de Lassus, but as the absolute summit of the 16th-century Italian madrigal. Utilizing the powerful poetic imagery of Luigi Tansillo, 21 movements, each in itself a masterpiece of the genre, relate in moving detail the grief and repentance of Peter following his denial of Christ.
"This deeply personal music cannot fail to move the listener and make an indelible impression on whoever is prepared to open his heart and ears." Ignace Bossuyt
Between 1450 and 1550, a distinguished line of Franco-Flemish composers spread a common musical language across the European landscape. In the works of Guillaume Dufay, Josquin Desprez, and Orlande de Lassus, hear the music that forged the Renaissance style.
A Musical Canvas
In their musical depictions of war and nature, Renaissance composers paved the way for the increased expressionism of the Baroque. Our exhibition of this musical scenery features Clement Janequin’s famed La Guerre and Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck’s monumental Psalm 150.
Alpha et Omega: Dawn and Sunset in the Sacred Music of Renaissance England
The majestic sonorities of the Eton Choirbook and John Taverner, complemented by the intricate polyphony and daring harmony of Reformation and Restoration works from Thomas Tompkins and Henry Purcell.
Eustache du Caurroy’s beautiful Missa Pro Defunctis accompanied the burial rites of every French monarch between its composition and the outbreak of the Revolution. Our program features this Messe pour les fun�railles des Rois, performed in its entirety, accompanied by haunting deplorations on the deaths of Binchois, Ockeghem, and Josquin.
An all Renaissance program of reflection and meditation, featuring the famed Lamentations of Thomas Tallis, surrounded by music of 16th-century masters Josquin de Pres, Palestrina, Byrd, and Lassus.
Echoes of the Dove
Medieval legend ascribes the creation of the musical treasury of plainchant to a miracle wherein the Holy Spirit-in the form of a Dove-delivered the texts and melodies directly to the ear of Pope Gregory. Our program explores the ways in which both Renaissance and Contemporary composers continued (and continue still) to ‘echo’ these timeless melodies, re-clothing them in lush and moving harmony.
A quintessential musical treasure of the high Renaissance-Tomas Luis de Victoria’s immortal Requiem for Six Voices-performed complete with the original Gregorian Chant portions.
Nativitas: A Lyric Consort Christmas
Selections from Jean Belmont’s cantata on medieval texts, Nativitas, combine with traditional and more recent Consort favorites to recount the Christmas miracle through music. Stephen Paulus’s The First Nowell, Franz Biebl’s Ave Maria, and John Tavener’s Village Wedding combine with Gregorian Chant, Medieval polyphony, Renaissance motets, and Randall Thompson’s haunting Alleluia to make this program a highlight of the holiday season.
A Night of Snows
A rare performance of Francis Poulenc’s haunting cantata, Un soir de neige–composed in 1944 amid the bleak Christmas of an occupied France-introduces a program of music from the Middle Ages through the present day celebrating the enduring mid-winter imagery and theology of the season.
A Midnight Clear
From across the centuries, hear the Christmas story retold through a program of traditional carols and motets. Seasonal selections ranging from Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck and Hans Leo Hassler to Ralph Vaughan Williams and Hugo Distler highlight this musical celebration.
A musical celebration of the Christmas season, our program of homage to the Virgin includes Renaissance motets, traditional carols, music of 12th-century mystic Hildegard of Bingen, Johannes Brahms’s Marienlieder, and contemporary European works from Francis Poulenc and Arvo Part.
Midnight in the Christ-Child’s Garden
Many versions of the Christmas Story tell that the greatest of all nights was witnessed by a blooming of all manner of plants, trees, and flowers. Our program explores this miracle of new life amid the cold of winter through carols and anthems of the season.
Sound and Symbol: Musical Images of Christmas
The midwinter snow; the silent night; the angels, shepherds, and Magi; St. Nicholas; Candlelight; and the Christmas tree…
Hear the stories behind the enduring symbols and songs of the season as treasured carols combine with narration to create an evening of quiet and peaceful reflection. Timeworn melodies re-clothed in richest harmony, forgotten songs of childhood, the beauty of simple carols, and the eternal story of Bethlehem combine in an all-English program suitable for every age.
A Renaissance Christmas
From the contrapuntal genius of the Netherlanders to the masters of Spain’s Golden Age and the expanded expressionism of late sixteenth-century Italy, the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries showcased the beauties of the choral ensemble like no other epoch. Enjoy our retracing of that musical achievement through texts of the Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany seasons.
Cantare: Seven Centuries of Song
A musical journey tracing the continuing influence of the Renaissance style to the present day. Hear the music of Palestrina, Dunstable and Hassler side-by-side with folksongs, madrigals, spirituals, and jazz.
Music for a New Millenium
The ‘pastness of the present’ and the ‘presentness of the past’ are celebrated in an assemblage of contemporary choral works composed on medieval texts and poetry. Comprised wholly of music composed during the final decade of the twentieth century, this program serves as both a compendium of sounds and styles developed across the previous thousand years and a harbinger of music in the new millennium.
L’homme Arme: Musical Images of War
Perhaps the most widely circulated melody of the Renaissance; L’homme arme (Fear the Armed Man) provides the inspiration for a compelling program of early and modern music. Philippe Caron’s cantus firmus mass on the fifteenth-century tune serves as the centerpiece of this concert, accompanied by Renaissance motets, folk songs, and contemporary choral works, among the latter Herbert Howell’s monumental anthem on the death of John F. Kennedy, Take Him Earth For Cherishing, and portions of Kim Sherman’s Burial Service for Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Ab Oriente: Echoes from the East
East meets West in this program as rare polyphonic settings of the Propers for the Feast of Epiphany-drawn from two sixteenth-century musical monuments, William Byrd’s Gradualia and Heinrich Isaac’s Choralis Constantinus–introduce new choral creations from Bruce Reiprich. Pairing the human voice with Japanese Temple Bowls, Thai Gongs, and Tibetan Singing Bowls, Reiprich’s innovative scores will be complemented by new compositions from Se Enkhbayar based on folk themes of the composer’s native Mongolia.
Music from the New World
Sacred music at the musical centers of New Spain-the glorious Cathedrals of Mexico City and Puebla-rivaled and at time surpassed the glories of their European forbearers. Hear the music of three of the New Worlds greatest masters, Juan Gutierrez de Padilla, Antonio de Salazar, and Manuel de Sumaya. Positioned at the nexus of the Old and New Worlds, these men similarly joined the beauties of the High Renaissance with the energy and expression of the new Baroque.
Following intermission, we survey the finest in contemporary Latin American choral music, including the art music of Brazilian Ernani Aguiar, the popular ballads of Argentinian Alberto Favero, the tangos of Argentinian film composer, Astor Piazzola, and folk music of Puerto Rico and Cuba. Viva!
My Spirit Sang All Day
Renaissance and Contemporary Madrigals, music of Colonial America, Vocal Jazz, and music from new ‘friends’ met along the way combine in our own 10th Anniversary Musical Celebration.
Providing an endless fount of musical inspiration throughout Judeo-Christian history, the Psalms of David provide the backdrop for this program of pre- and post-Reformation music from northern Europe, featuring works of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, Josquin Desprez, and Johann Sebastian Bach.
Celebrating the universal language of folksong, a program spanning Renaissance to Contemporary arrangements, highlighted by selections from Estonian Veljo Tormis’s moving collection Forgotten Peoples and English mystic John Tavener’s haunting evocation of A Village Wedding.
A Celebration of Love
A collection of love songs from the Renaissance through the present-day. Timeless melodies, harmonies, and poetry meet and mingle in a program of madrigals, art songs, and jazz, including folksongs of Johannes Brahms, the Trois Chansons of Claude Debussy, and arrangements from the popular repertoire.
A field afar…
A moving musical tribute to America’s military veterans blending folk songs, spirituals, art music, and patriotic selections with a variety of spoken recitations. The readings are intended for local participation, drawing upon military veterans, current servicemen and servicewomen, and community leaders.
Minister, singing-master, politician, explorer, mapmaker, author, salt-distiller, and patriot; the life of James Lyon is a quintessential early American essay in resourcefulness and industry. Explore the musical legacy of Pennsylvania’s first published collection of sacred choral music, James Lyon’s Urania, published in Philadelphia in 1761–standing as one of the most comprehensive collections of music published in America during the eighteenth century and generously covering all the forms and styles of contemporaneous sacred composition. As the first such American collection set primarily for four voices rather than two or three; the first to include uniquely American compositions, and the first to exhibit works in the emerging genre of the fuging-tune, Urania is the first American collection of sacred music standing equal to the estimable British collections which preceded it.
This concert also explores Urania’s British and American musical precedents, and the music of better-known Boston contemporary William Billings and his New England contemporaries.
Music of the British Isles
Benjamin Britten’s lovely Hymn to Saint Cecilia introduces a concert of folk and art music from England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, including works of Michael Tippett, Charles Villiers Stanford, and John Rutter.
Beautiful arrangements of such American classics as Shenandoah, Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair, and Home on the Range combine with new and classic Spirituals, Christian Hymns, and a special tribute to the genius of Pennsylvania’s own Stephen Foster.