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Concert Order

Program Notes

Singer List

Other Information

Texts and Translations

Concert Order

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Program Note

Welcome back to Curtis Hall!

In some ways, today's concert marks the start of end-of-semester festivities as we begin the intense month of April leading up to commencement, only a few weeks away. We are glad to have you with us today to enjoy the performances of your students.

 

Today's concert centers around the life of composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco who wrote Romancero Gitano, the feature work for University Chorale featuring Dr. Peter Clemente, Professor of Practice.

 

Castelnuovo-Tedesco was Jewish and lived in Italy as a well-regarded composer in the lead up to World War II. With the implementation of the fascist Italian Racial Laws in 1939, Castelnuovo-Tedesco fled the country and sought refuge in the United States settling in Los Angeles. He is now most known for his works for guitar, but wrote over 200 film scores and was known for being a teach of composers, including as an instructor for John Williams.

 

Today's concert reflects on aspects of his life and identity through an exploration of themes related to his heritage and his personal journey.

 

VOCE begins the concert with a series of folks songs old and new. Kaval Sviri is a popular Bulgarian song which recalls music in a town square. Bulgaria, became known as a significant center for migration of the nomadic Romani people whom Castelnuovo-Tedesco based his Romancero Gitano, or Gypsy Love Songs. VOCE then sings two pieces in Hebrew, Shir L'Shalom, a 1960's call for intentional action to make peace and If Not Now, When? a contemporary call for action from the Justice Choir Songbook. VOCE finishes their set with Saro, Tundra, and Five Hebrew Love Songs. Each of these pieces reflects, in their own way, a reflection on land and place and how we connect to our homeland and the people who live there, whether we are physically present with them or not. 

 

Chorale takes the stage with My Heart Be Brave. On Friday night this week, Chorale was joined by Dr. Anthony Trecek-King who originally commissioned this piece. The last time that Chorale sang together before the pandemic was in February 2020 at the intercollegiate-choir Festival in Fitchburg under the direction of Dr. Trecek-King on a concert that finished with this piece. It was a wonderful opportunity to return to this piece and work with him again as we perform our first concert unmasked. 

 

Romancero Gitano is the centerpiece of tonight's concert, featuring the Chorale on a challenging series of music and texts. This work represents a balance of cultures and as Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco sets a series of texts by Federico Garcia Lorca. Lorca, an Andalucian poet, worked to represent perspectives of the Romani people that often went underrepresented or ignored. Both Lorca and Castelnuovo-Tedesco identified with the nomadic life of the Romani people and their communal cultures. Castelnuovo-Tedesco additionally found connection to these works through his own experience having to flee Italy and emigrate to the United States, comment that he never returned to feeling like he had a true home anywhere, a connection which also ties into part of his Jewish heritage. These works represent rhythms and sounds of Flamenco singing and the Cante Jondo, or 'deep song' style of Flamenco singing native to Andalucia. We are thrilled to be working with Dr. Peter Clemente to present these pieces and extend our deep thanks and guitar to him for his work. 

 

Chorale closes the concert with two reflective numbers. The first, The Lake Isle, is the only piece which includes every performer from this evenings concert. This contemplative number evokes a feeling of searching and yearning, but in a common and confident manner. We close the concert with Proclamation, a song which calls for all of us to consider the work of building peace in the midst of struggle. We offer this song tonight in honor of the people of Ukraine. 

 
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Other information

Donations Welcome!

The University Choirs operate as an academic ensemble and as a community organization for our wide cross-section of students. Donations to the choir help support scholarships for students on tour, group meals and social gatherings during the year, transportation and tickets to special events like the Boston Symphony, guest artists like tonight's string quartet, and more.

Donations are welcome through our Venmo: @auchoirs  https://account.venmo.com/u/auchoirs

Santa Fe Tour - May 2022

In May, 25 members of the Assumption University Choirs will travel to Santa Fe, New Mexico on a cultural and musical tour and exchange. While on tour, singers will collaborate with local organizations, sing in a large group masterclass, visit the Holy Site of Chimayo, see the local art and culture, and eat lots of food!

Interested in joining us? We still have two spots open for students! See Brad for details.

About the Choirs

The ASSUMPTION UNIVERSITY CHORALE is an academic concert choir comprised of artists who are studying for professions in all walks of life and who share an interest in the joy of choral singing and the community that comes with it. The Chorale performs music from across generations and styles, using music as a tool to explore and communicate more effectively. In University Chorale, we all contribute fully to the process of learning and creative expression by engaging in a process-oriented experience where the performances are a byproduct of the learning that takes place in the rehearsal room. VOCE is a select group of soprano and alto singers who have identified themselves as artists willing to commit more time to preparing advanced music, staging, improvising, and community outreach.

Special Thanks

Brett Maguire (collaborative rehearsal pianist), Thomas Burke (media support), Jacqueline Chlapowski (administrative support), Dr. Toby Norris (Chair of Art & Music), Dr. Peter Clemente (Chair of Music), Chorale Student Leadership, Assumption University Music Faculty, and all others who contributed to today's event.

Acknowledgement of Land

The land upon which we sit, stand, and live is the land that we have been accustomed to thinking as our land. However, we are all on the original unceded, inalienable homelands of tribal nations whose languages, musics, and cultures we have systematically erased. We acknowledge the painful history of forced removal of indigenous people from this territory and the territories of all settler nations and we honor and respect the many diverse indigenous peoples who remain connected to their lands.
 
Here in Worcester, MA, we are living and working on the traditional and unceded territory of the Nipmuc peoples.
 

Texts & Translations

Kaval Sviri

A kaval plays, mother,

up there, down there, mother

below the village.

 

I am going to see it, mother,

to see it

and hear it.

 

If he is one of ours,

I will love him from dawn til dusk,

If he is a stranger,

I will love him all my life.
   - Bulgarian Folksong

Shir L'Shalom

Let the sun rise
light up the morning
The purest of prayers
will not bring us back

 

He whose candle was snuffed out
and was buried in the dust
bitter crying won’t wake him up
and won’t bring him back

 

Nobody will bring us back
from a dead and darkened pit here,
neither the victory cheer
nor songs of praise will help

 

So just sing a song for peace
don’t whisper a prayer
Just sing a song for peace
in a loud shout

 

Allow the sun to penetrate
through the flowers
don’t look back
let go of those departed

 

Lift your eyes with hope
not through the rifles’ sights
sing a song for love
and not for wars

 

Don’t say the day will come
bring on that day –
because it is not a dream –
and in all the city squares
cheer only for peace!

   - Yaakov Rotblit

If Not Now, When?

If I am not for me who will be?

If I am just for me, what does that make me?

And if not now, then when?

   - Pirkei Avot

Saro

I came to this country, eighteen and forty-nine
I thought myself lucky for to be alive.
I looked all around me, no one I could see
that could compare to my pretty Saree.

 

If I were a turtle dove, had wings and could fly
far away to my Saro’s lodging, I’d fly a straight line.
I’d lay in her arms for all of the night
And watch through the windows for the dawn’s first light.

 

But her parents they won’t have me, as I understand,
they want some freeholder, and I have no land.
O Saro, pretty Saro, am I on your mind?
Your parents they told me to leave you behind.

 

I wish I was a poet, could write in fine hand.
I’d write my love a letter, one she’d lone understand.
I’d send it by the water, where the islands overflow,
And dream of pretty Saro wherever I go.

 

’Tis not this long journey that grieves me for to go.
’Nor the country that I’m leavin’, nor the debts I owe.
There’s one thing that grieves me, and bears on my mind.
That’s leavin’ my darlin’ pretty Saro behind.

   - English Folk Song

Tundra

Wide, worn and weathered

Sacred expanse

Of green and white and granite grey;

Snowy patches strewn,

Anchored to the craggy earth,

Unmoving;

While clouds dance

Across the vast, eternal sky.

   - Charles Anthony Silvestri

Five Hebrew Love Songs

i.

TEMUNÁ (A PICTURE)

A picture is engraved in my heart;
Moving between light and darkness:
A sort of silence envelopes your body,
And your hair falls upon your face just so.

 

ii.

KALÁ KALLÁ (LIGHT BRIDE)

Light bride
She is all mine,
And lightly
She will kiss me!

 

iii.

LARÓV (MOSTLY)

“Mostly,” said the roof to the sky,
“the distance between you and I is endlessness;
But a while ago two came up here,
And only one centimeter was left between us.”

 

iv.

ÉYZE SHÉLEG! (WHAT SNOW!)

What snow!
Like little dreams
Falling from the sky.

 

v.

RAKÚT (TENDERNESS)

He was full of tenderness;
She was very hard.
And as much as she tried to stay thus,
Simply, and with no good reason,
He took her into himself,
And set her down
In the softest, softest place.

   - Hila Plitmann

My Heart Be Brave

My heart be brave, and do not falter so,   
Nor utter more that deep, despairing wail.   
Thy way is very dark and drear I know,   
But do not let thy strength and courage fail;   
For certain as the raven-winged night
Is followed by the bright and blushing morn,   
Thy coming morrow will be clear and bright;   
’Tis darkest when the night is furthest worn.   
Look up, and out, beyond, surrounding clouds,   
And do not in thine own gross darkness grope,   
Rise up, and casting off thy hind’ring shrouds,   
Cling thou to this, and ever inspiring hope:
  Tho’ thick the battle and tho’ fierce the fight,
  There is a power [in] making for the right.

   - “Sonnet” by James Weldon Johnson

Romancero Gitano (Gypsy Lovesongs)

i.

The Ballad of the Three Rivers

The River Guadalquivir

flows among orange and olive trees.

The two rivers of Granada

Flow from the snow down to the wheat.

 

Oh, love

that went away and never returned!

 

The River Guadalquivir

has a crimson beard.

The two rivers of Granada,

one tears, the other blood.

 

Oh, love

that went away through the air!

 

For sailing boats

Seville has a path;

along the waters of Granada

only sighs row.

 

Oh, love

that went away and never returned!

 

Guadalquivir, lofty tower

and wind in the orange groves.

Dauro and Genil,

small dead towers over the ponds.

 

Oh, love

that went away through the air!

 

Who could say that the water

carries a will-o’-the-wisp full of cries!

It carries orange blossom, it carries olives,

Andalusia, to your seas.

 

Oh, love

that went away through the air!

 

ii. 

The Guitar

The guitar begins to weep.

The goblets

of dawn shatter.

It is no use

trying to silence her.

It is impossible to silence her.

She weeps monotonously,

like the water weeps,

like the wind weeps,

over the snowfall.

It is no use trying to silence her.

She weeps for distant things.

Warm sand of the south

that asks for white camellias.

She weeps like an arrow without a target,

an afternoon without a morning,

and the first bird,

dead upon the branch.

Oh guitar!

Heart wounded

by five swords

iii. 

The Dagger

The dagger

enters the heart

like the ploughshare

the barren earth.

No. Do not stab me.

The dagger, like a sun ray,

sets on fire the terrible ravines.

No.

Do not stab me.

 

v. 

Memento

 

When I die,

bury me with my guitar,

under the sand.

When I die,

among the orange trees

and the mint.

When I die,

bury me, if you please,

on a weather vane.

When I die.

 

vi.

Dance

Carmen is dancing along the streets of Seville.

Her hair is white and her pupils shine.

Girls, draw the curtains!

In her head, a yellow snake curls up

and as she dances, she dreams of gallants of yesteryear.

Girls, draw the curtains!

The streets are deserted

and in the depths, one can guess,

Andalusian hearts, searching for old thorns.

Girls, draw the curtains!

 

vii
Castanet

 

Castanet, sonorous beetle.

In the spider of the hand

you curl the warm air

and you sink

in your wooden trill.

Castanet, sonorous beetle.

   - Federico Garcia Lorca

The Lake Isle

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

 

I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

   - William Butler Yeats

Proclamation

Whereas the world is a house on fire;
Whereas the nations are filled with shouting;
Whereas hope seems small, sometimes
      a single bird on a wire
      left: by migration behind.

Whereas kindness is seldom in the news
      and peace an abstraction
      while war is real;

Whereas words are all I have;
Whereas my life is short;
Whereas I am afraid;
Whereas I am free—despite all
      fire and anger and fear;

Be it therefore resolved a song
      shall be my calling—a song
      not yet made shall be vocation
      and peaceful words the work
      of my remaining days.

   - Kim Stafford