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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Georgian Music Concert

This Sunday, March 30th at 3:00 p.m.:

Concert of
Caucasus Georgian Folk and Liturgical Music
performed by
The Kartuli Ensemble
Williamstown's Trio Brevalo
Trio Nanina
Suggested donation: $10.
The tiny nation of Georgia is nestled between Russia and Turkey on the eastern shore of the Black Sea, and is unique in many ways:
- Georgia is believed by many to be the birthplace of winemaking
- it boasts a language related to no other, and which has its own unique alphabet
- it was the legendary home of the fabled Golden Fleece sought by Jason and the Argonauts.
However, one of Georgia's strongest attractions in recent times has been its remarkable polyphonic singing tradition. Composer Igor Stravinsky was fascinated by it, filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen have used it in one of their films, and even pop stars Kate Bush and Billy Joel have featured clips from Georgian folk songs on their recordings.
Interest in Georgian folk singing has been growing steadily worldwide. Formed in 1985, The Kartuli Ensemble is the first choir of foreigners devoted exclusively to the traditional folk singing of Georgia. Over the years, the group has stirred interest among many other people throughout the world, some of whom have begun also begin singing Georgian. One such group is Trio Brevalo based right here in Williamstown! The Kartuli Ensemble and NYC-based trio Nanina will join this local trio for a benefit concert on Sunday, March 30 at 3pm at St. John's Episcopal church in Williamstown, MA.

All proceeds will go to a close friend of the singers, Maia Kachkachishvili, who lives in Tbilisi, Georgia. Maia has been a key contact in Georgia's relations with foreigners, and has helped many realize their goals of meeting and working with eminent folk singers and scholars in Georgia. Maia suffered a brain aneurysm is December and has gone into severe debt from the hospital bills and related costs.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Easter Concert March 14

Friday, March 14
8 pm
St. John's Episcopal Church
35 Park St
Williamstown, MA

Select vocal ensemble led byPatty Cuyler & Larry Gordon presents music for Easter
Music from Corsica, Georgia, renaissance Italy and Spain, English carols, American shape-note and gospel quartet
Admission at the door: $12 / $8 for students and seniors

Over the centuries the Easter season and the bloom of spring have inspired some of the most affecting music from many cultures. The Christian story of Jesus’s death and resurrection was often combined with older themes of the mysteries of death and rebirth.Northern Harmony’s program includes traditional sacred music from Corsica and Caucasus Georgia, English Easter carols, renaissance motets from Spain and Italy, Latin motets by the contemporary Estonian composer Urmas Sisask, American gospel quartet, and traditional and contemporary American shape-note songs.
The 13 select singers include many veterans of Northern Harmony’s extended European tours, several of the strongest singers from the Village Harmony teen ensemble, and a few special guests.Northern Harmony is especially known for its remarkable command of various specialized ethnic singing styles and timbres, and this eclectic program certainly shows off this variety.
The Corsican repertoire is perhaps the least familiar. The mountainous island has a very old and earthy three part harmony singing tradition, both sacred and secular, carried on through the ages by small ensembles of village singers who would sing together throughout their lifetimes. Included in this program are three representative sections of the mass – Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei; two laments at the cross – Perdono Mio Dio, and Stabat Mater; and the triumphant Good Friday hymn, Vexilla Regis.
The Georgian repertoire includes three very ancient hymns from the Easter liturgy, with their highly startling harmonies, and a perhaps even older, rousing round dance, traditionally sung outside the church on Easter day. This piece uses alternating choirs and features the wild Georgian style of yodeling.
Other works on the program include an anonymous intricate late 15th century motet from Italy, a late 16th century motet by Spanish composer Francisco Guerrero, the extended traditional English Easter ballad The Seven Virgins in the wonderful version from the Oxford Book of Carols, traditional shape-note songs from the Sacred Harp as well as a fiery contemporary shape-note piece by Glen Wright, and the gospel song Lead Me On and On taken from the Golden Gate Gospel Quartet.