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   Author  Topic: Bella Voce spring concerts 2007  (Read 942 times)
Bella Voce
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Bella Voce spring concerts 2007
« on: Mar 14th, 2007, 4:28pm »
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Dear Friend,  
 
Dorothy Andries of the Chicago Sun-Times said that during Bella Voce's holiday concert, “the music poured out like honey, rich and shining.” Don't miss your next opportunity to hear these sounds! Bella Voce's spring program is devoted entirely to two astonishing geniuses: Henry Purcell and Benjamin Britten. Please join us as we celebrate their glorious music.  
 
Don't wait! Call 312.479.1096 for tickets.
 
Benjamin Britten    
an internationalist  
 
Despite being quintessentially “English,” Britten was an internationalist. Early in his career, this was a problem for him. Britten had shown tremendous talent at an early age and was taken as a student by Frank Bridge, a leading musical voice who himself had developed a keen interest in the works of Bartok and Schoenberg. When Britten became a young man of 16 he went to study at the Royal College of Music with John Ireland, among others. While he undoubtedly learned a great deal from his studies, Britten chafed under what he felt were provincial, insular musical tastes. He wanted to study with Alban Berg in Vienna but was prevented by his parents, who themselves were prejudiced by Britten’s teachers at the college. Though he never got to study with Berg, Britten did not give up on his cosmopolitan view of music. For a time, the conservative musical establishment in England questioned Britten’s “Englishness,” something which seems absurd today because of his iconic position in our minds as the leading English voice of the 20th- century, but also because of his uncanny and unmatched understanding of the English language. This is borne out by his many choral masterpieces, such as A.M.D.G., the Hymn to St. Cecilia, and Chorale after an Old French Carol, but also by the fact that Britten’s output of operas is the first sustained effort at building an English repertory since Henry Purcell. Britten said that it was Henry Purcell who taught him how to set English words to music.
 
Henry Purcell    
the elder internationalist  
 
Like Britten, Purcell’s musical capacities were massive and manifest at an early age. Though not much is known of his childhood, he studied with a leading musical figure of the era, John Blow, a member of the Chapel Royal (as was Purcell’s father). In 1680 Blow stepped aside from his post as organist of Westminster Abbey to make way for Purcell. Like Britten, Purcell was an internationalist of sorts. For Purcell, however, the assimilation of other national styles of music was thrust upon him. Not only was it a part of the musical and intellectual environment to stay abreast of international trends, but when Charles II was restored to the British throne in 1660, he brought back with him the courtly French music he had learned and loved during his youth in exile. Hence, nearly from Purcell’s birth, the French style prevailed. Furthermore, the political and theological turmoil engulfing Great Britain at the time meant that each new monarch brought with him or her widely varying tastes in music. Composers had to adapt if they wanted to work. Purcell assimilated and exploited those influences to a significantly more artful degree than many of his contemporaries yet managed to maintain a completely unique voice. Purcell comes up with some shocking musical gestures – it is one of the things that makes him such a seminal figure. His demonstration of how the musical language can be bent to his own will, expressing emotions and states of mind that are difficult to capture, taught everyone around him that there could be new parameters for harmony and counterpoint and that this could help forge large dramatic structures.
 
I do hope you will join us the final concerts of our 24th season. I look forward to seeing you!  
 
Sincerely,  
 
Dan Fulwiler, President  
Bella Voce  
 
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Email: bellavocechicago@gmail.com
Phone: 312.479.1096  
Web: http://www.bellavoce.org
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