Sunday, December 8, at 2:30 pm, Bottega, 4485 Sallows Road
Susan Adams, harpsichord and Clive Titmuss, lute
Guest Artists: Anna Hagan and Terry Kelly
Early Music Studio presents
A Lute for Christmas
Downtown at Annegret's Chocolates in the Towne Centre Mall on Bernard
Terry reads the classic A Child's Christmas in Wales by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and Anna Hagan presents A Lute for Christmas, an original story by Susan Adams, about a Pacific yew tree’s transformation into a lute.
It’s a celebration of the art of story telling with festive music with music by German, Italian and English composers of the 17th century.
A Lute for Christmas, was inspired by the story of endangered yew trees, hundreds of years old, which were cut down in the forests of BC and Washington for taxamine, a precious pharmaceutical enzyme. Like African elephants poached for their ivory, the bark was stripped, but the rest of the tree was discarded. The wood was stock-piled in a lumberyard, destined to serve as fence posts.
An alert Bellingham instrument-maker realized the importance of the wood and its historical application to lute-making. Luthier Clive Titmuss was one of the fortunate artisans whom he contacted. He seized the opportunity to use the unexpected resource wisely, and with it he created a series of instruments. A Lute for Christmas tells this remarkable story. It is this very lute, whose body is made from the irreplaceable yew, that Titmuss plays at the climactic point in the story.
In keeping with the theme of skilful craft, the afternoon includes a fund-raising sale of handmade Christmas ornaments and seasonal goodies. Tea and coffee will be available for guests to enjoy. Early Music Studio’s concerts at Bottega are social and musical events which have proven to be very popular. Seating in Bottega is limited and it is likely that this holiday concert will sell-out—so get your tickets early.
Tickets for the concert are $25, or $22 for students and seniors. They are available from Annegret's Chocolates in the Towne Centre Mall or online at www.brownpapertickets.com.
Terry Kelly and Anna Hagan were recently honoured with a Jesse Award by the Vancouver theatrical community for Lifetime Career Achievement in acting and directing for their work with The Vancouver Playhouse, Tahmahnous Theatre, White Rock Summer Theatre and in screen and in TV roles.
During her decades-long career, Anna has worked in theatres across Canada, as well as in Los Angeles and New York. In Vancouver she just finished a month long run of Relatively Speaking for Western Gold Theatre and recently appeared in the film The Possession, with Kyra Sedgwick.
Terry is a graduate of the National Theatre School and has appeared onstage for the Playhouse, and is the founding artistic director of White Rock’s Summer Theatre. He recently appeared in the film My Big Year, with Steve Martin.
Here is the program:
The Society of Friends of the Early Music Studio presents
A Lute for Christmas
with Susan Adams, harpsichord, and Clive Titmuss, lutes
and guest artists Anna Hagan and Terence Kelly, readers
Ballo del Granduca by Cavalli, set by Jan Sweelinck, c. 1600
Aria detta "La Frescobalda" by Girolamo Frescobaldi,c.1627; Galiardo, by Leonardo Piccinnini, 1639
Till I be lullid beyond thee by Anonymous, c. 1630 and the Lang Galliard by William Kinloch, c. 1630
Blessed be, that maid Marie by Anonymous in the Dallis Lute Book, c. 1580; The Sussex Carol, traditional, set by C.T.
Il est né, le Devin Enfant, traditional, and Patapan, traditional, set by S.A.
The Coventry Carol, traditional; Es ist ein Ros enstprungen, traditional;
Baloo Lammy; traditional, all set by C.T.
O Come, Emmanuel, traditional, set by S.A. and C.T.
Carillon by Nicolas Vallet, c. 1620
A Child's Christmas in Wales, by Dylan Thomas, read by Terence Kelly
The Shoemaker's Wife, A Toye; Tarleton's Risurectione by John Dowland; Une Jeune Fillette ( La Monica) traditional, attributed to John Dowland
Sancta Trinitas by Anthoine de Fevin, set by Vincenzo Capirola, c. 1517
Jesu, du bist allzu schöne, set by Georg Böhm, after 1710
Der styrische Hirt by Johann Kaspar Kerl, around 1700
Freue dich sehr, O meine Seele (Rejoice, My Soul; chorale variations) by Johann Pachelbel
In Dulci Jubilo (chorale setting) Friederich Wilhelm Zachow
A Lute for Christmas (1998), by Susan Adams, read by Anna Hagan
Program Notes and Guest Biographies
Celebration during the dark month of December is a very old tradition. The roots and symbolism of our celebration of Christmas date back to the pre-Roman period in Northern Europe and the British Isles. Many of the pieces in the first group fall into the category, and there usually an atmosphere of merriment, entertainment and images of spring, flowering, the tolling of bells, the lullaby and the veneration of ancestors. The musical culture still haunt us, and it is a time when images of lutes and music are seen everywhere. A Lute for Christmas is our way of exploring just how much resonance this old music has in the depths of our northern souls.
Ballo Granduca is a brilliant keyboard setting of music for a wedding feast for the Duke of Milan, written at the end of the sixteenth century, but serving as the basis of variations published in keyboard and lute sources for nearly a century. The Aria by Frescobaldi, probably dedicated to his wife or daughter, has the distinction of being the earliest set of variations on an original melody. The two Scottish pieces are from manuscripts of the early 17th Century, and show how keyboard music had become a vehicle for domestic music-making in the north, after the Italians made it fashionable. Two French Carols are an evocation of early celebrations in New France, and adopt a style that would have been familiar to Breton or Norman immigrants to Canada in the 1600’s. The Coventry Carol is one of the oldest pieces of written music known to us, and it bears the style of late medieval music. The bells depicted in the Carillon are an adaptation of another late medieval dance, the Branle, (or "brawl" in English, like a square dance). We have arranged the piece for two players and added even more bells.
Dylan Thomas' Child's Christmas is actually a radio script, commissioned from the poet by the BBC in 1937, and it has become his best-known work. Its style wavers between poetry and prose, blending autobiography and memoir, voiced by a man filled with nostalgia about his early life. There are characters and descriptive passages of life in the Welsh coal and tin mining villages. One of its characteristic Welsh-language effects is the use of words to have a musical, almost melodic meaning. It rarely resorts to the standard devices of the great English poets of the early nineteenth century--Byron, Shelley and Wordsworth, which it otherwise broadly imitates. These poets wrote about the innocence and intensity of feeling found in childhood, but Thomas keeps the emotional temperature lower, invoking linked episodes of youth.
The second half:
John Dowland's music is deeply rooted in the folk music of the Irish Celtic tradition as these three pieces suggest; “La Monica” appeared much later, set by Bach in Lutheran chorale form. The arrangement of a movement of Fevin's Sanctus in the Catholic Mass by Capirola is extraordinary in imitating choral effects. Fevin's original makes the most of its roots in the French chanson, a secular form devoted to depiction of courtly love. His originality shows in its adaptation to sacred music, into a three-section piece alternating question-and-answer repetitions of short motifs.
The German chorale partita consists of a series of expansive variations on Lutheran hymn tunes. Bohm's set is a virtual tour of music of the late 17th century, with echoes of music by Louis Couperin and Sweelinck, and his own lavish French-style improvisations. The piece concludes with a short fugue which reminds us of the alternating-note fugues of Buxtehude, one of Bach’s mentors.
Kerl was another great musician of the North German Organ School, but instead of variations on a hymn tune, he chose a series of short motifs which imitate the flute calls of the shepherds of the southern Alps. The piece culminates in a gambolling combination of all the material heard at the outset, as the sheep and shepherd tumble headlong back to the fold.
We were asked to curate and disperse the library of Johanna Verkerk, an organist, born in Holland, who was the serving organist and choir mistress at St Michael's on Richter for a quarter century. As recently as the 2000’s she played at St. Andrews on Lakeshore and directed the Camerata Singers. Among the riches in her collection was Pachelbel's Chorale Partita, Freue dich sehr, which we have arranged for bass lute and harpsichord. Many residents would have heard early music from her vast collection here in Kelowna for the first time. Most of library was repatriated to St. Michael’s. We dedicate this piece to her.
A Lute for Christmas was originally written for a Christmas concert just like this one. The story grows from the logging of yew trees for the cancer drug Taxol, made from the enzyme taxamine, found in the bark layer. The Pacific yew, Taxus latifolia, is found all over BC, Washington and Oregon, both in coastal and inland forests. Trees that were up to 1200 years old were stripped of their bark, and the trunks piled in a parking lot. An alert lute-maker realized that there was an opportunity to make good use of the yew, which was a favourite wood of chair makers, lute and bow makers for centuries, because of its close grain, fine colour and peerless bending ability. Clive made his first yew-wood lute in 17th century Italian style, heard tonight, and Susan was inspired to write a story illustratrating the metamorphosis of tree into musical instrument.
We first performed it in Surrey, during an annual series with Terry and Anna that we called A Classic Christmas. Bottega's fine acoustics gave us the idea of revisiting our material. Our performance tonight is a pleasure not only because it celebrates the season, but a personal and professional relationship that has lasted for decades.
About our guests:
Anna’s career has taken her to every major theatre in Canada. A long-time B.C. resident, she recently closed a month long run of Relatively Speaking in Vancouver as the Artistic Director of Western Gold Theatre Other stage credits include A Man For All Seasons, The Music Man and A Delicate Balance. Her directing credits include She Stoops to Conquer and Waiting for Godot. Her film career is also varied--she has played “Mom” to Ben Affleck, Ashley Judd, and Anthony Hall, among others. Her most recent film is a horror film titled Possession, working with Kyra Sedgwick. Anna is delighted to be reading the story of Emily at this joyous time; it is a story embodying the wonder and tradition in the gift of music.
Terry has been performing in television, film, and on stage his entire life. A graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada, he was the Founding Artistic Director of the Arena Theatre in White Rock. He has spent much of his time helping to establish and build the Performing Arts Lodge in Vancouver, a residence for retirees who have worked in the performing arts. He has fond memories of many summers spent in the Okanagan in his youth, and enjoys returning to visit with friends Clive and Susan. It is a treat to be able to perform with them once again, sharing the love of music and stories with friends and family. He recently worked with Anna in the Western Gold production of Relatively Speaking, and will be starring in a holiday movie called Windows Wonderland on the Hallmark Network in December.
Terry and Anna were recognized by a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Jesse Awards recently, for their many years of contribution to the theatre community in Vancouver as performers, directors and organizers, their mentorship of young actors and playwrights and their tireless devotion to the arts.
A Lute for Christmas is available from iTunes and CDBaby in a recording with Anna and Clive, produced in Penticton by Stu Goldberg. Early Music Studio's next performance is here at Bottega--Bach's Birthday Concert will include music for the lute and the harpsichord by the great master and his contemporaries. Saturday, March 8, at 7:30 pm--mark your calendars and tell your friends.
Communicating with our audience is a crucially important facet of our concerts: Visit us on Facebook/earlymusicstudio, or at www.earlymusicstudio.com. Effective publicity is a big challenge for any non-profit arts organization, so make our job easier by signing our e-mail list to receive details about our activities and performances.
Write us a testimonial note in support of early music, and we’ll include it with our applications to granting bodies in the community, who are vital to our efforts. Send your thoughts and suggestions to email@example.com. The Society is always looking for sponsorship, poster locations and ticket sellers—let us know if you can put us in contact with a lover of early music. Help support us by purchasing Susan’s handmade holiday ornaments. All proceeds go to the Society.