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Blessed Cecilia | Walter Hall, Toronto
Music in celebration of St Cecilia's Day - the saint's feast-day is November 22. She is, of course, the patron saint of music

date: November 22, 2009

This concert falling on November 22, St Cecilia’s Day, we decided to celebrate the occasion with music by our signature composer, Benjamin Britten (born on the same day) and by Henry Purcell (who died on November 21).  So the first half consisted of some of Britten’s realisations of Purcell  –  always individualistic, and sometimes so much so as to constitute recompositions.  Our second half began with a two-fold rejection of the power of music (of which Cecilia is the patron saint), first humorous, then deeply serious.  Then we went on to soothe the savage breast with evocations of music’s charms and of its more important saving graces  –  several of Britten’s finest songs were involved here.

SONG ARTIST COMPOSER POET
I attempt from love’s sickness to fly (The Indian Queen) Mercer, Shannon, soprano; Ubukata, Bruce, piano Purcell, Henry, real. Britten, Benjamin Dryden, John
Fairest isle (King Arthur) Tomkins, Giles, baritone; Ralls, Stephen, piano Purcell, Henry, real. Britten, Benjamin Dryden, John
Music for a while (Oedipus) McLean, James, tenor; Ralls, Stephen, piano Purcell, Henry, real. Britten, Benjamin Dryden, John
I’ll sail upon the dog-star (A Fool’s Preferment) Tomkins, Giles, baritone; Ralls, Stephen, piano Purcell, Henry, real. Britten, Benjamin D’Urfey, Thomas
Evening Hymn McLean, James, tenor; Ubukata, Bruce, piano Purcell, Henry, real. Britten, Benjamin Fuller, William
Sweeter than roses (Pausanias, the Betrayer of his Country) Mercer, Shannon, soprano; Ubukata, Bruce, piano Purcell, Henry, real. Britten, Benjamin anon.
If music be the food of love, 3rd setting Tomkins, Giles, baritone; Ralls, Stephen, piano Purcell, Henry, real. Britten, Benjamin Heveningham, Henry
In the black, dismal dungeon of despair McLean, James, tenor; Ralls, Stephen, piano Purcell, Henry, real. Britten, Benjamin Fuller, William
Mad Bess Mercer, Shannon, soprano; Ubukata, Bruce, piano Purcell, Henry, real. Britten, Benjamin anon.
Passacaglia (Peter Grimes) Ralls, Stephen / Ubukata, Bruce, piano Britten, Benjamin n/a
Saul and the Witch at Endor Mercer, Shannon, soprano; McLean, James, tenor; Tomkins, Giles, baritone; Ralls, Stephen, piano Purcell, Henry, real. Britten, Benjamin anon., after I Samuel 28
INTERMISSION
A Word on my Ear Mercer, Shannon, soprano; Ubukata, Bruce, piano Swann, Donald Flanders, Michael
Ode on the Rejection of St Cecilia: Arioso Tomkins, Giles, baritone; Ralls, Stephen, piano Finzi, Gerald Barker, George Granville
Wie Melodien zieht es mir, Op.105/1 McLean, James, tenor; Ubukata, Bruce, piano Brahms, Johannes Groth, Klaus
The Nightingale and the Rose, Op.76/4 (The Poet’s Echo) Mercer, Shannon, soprano; Ralls, Stephen, piano Britten, Benjamin Pushkin, Alexander
Le Souvenir d’avoir chanté McLean, James, tenor; Ubukata, Bruce, piano Hahn, Reynaldo Mendès, Catulle
Dear harp of my country Tomkins, Giles, baritone; Ralls, Stephen, piano Irish folksong, arr. Britten, Benjamin Moore, Thomas
Let the florid music praise, Op.11/1 (On This Island) Mercer, Shannon, soprano; Ralls, Stephen, piano Britten, Benjamin Auden, Wystan Hugh
The Choirmaster’s Burial (or The Tenor Man’s Story), Op.52/5 (Winter Words) McLean, James, tenor; Ubukata, Bruce, piano Britten, Benjamin Hardy, Thomas
Bright is the ring of words (Songs of Travel) Tomkins, Giles, baritone; Ubukata, Bruce, piano Vaughan Williams, Ralph Stevenson, Robert Louis
Alleluia Mercer, Shannon, soprano; McLean, James, tenor; Tomkins, Giles, baritone; Ralls, Stephen, piano Purcell, Henry, real. Britten, Benjamin anon.