Friday November 1, 2019 | 7:30PM Pre-concert talk at 6:45PM)
Christ Church Cathedral | Map
Star British lutenist Nigel North joins Canada’s now-legendary viol consort, Les Voix Humaines, for a performance of John Dowland’s 1604 Lachrimae. This iconic collection of passionate pavans, galiards, and almands is replete with musical effects, dissonances and suspensions that powerfully evoke the melancholic subjects that re-appear throughout Dowland’s compositions: the agonies of the soul, night, and darkness. This performance will also include the premiere of a new work by Quebec composer Stacey Brown commissioned for Les Voix Humaines by Early Music Vancouver.
“The group’s blend is soft-woven and wonderfully fibrous, full of textural interest. Extensive ornamentation throughout the disc and a rhetorical approach to line give the music a pleasing, madrigal-like freedom.” – Gramophone Magazine
Presented in collaboration with Music on Main’s Modulus Festival
This concert is generously supported by Johanna Shapira & John Geddes and Marianne Gibson
John Dowland (1563-1626)
Lachrimæ, or seaven Teares figured in seaven passionate Pavans […]
set forth for the Lute, Viols, or Violons, in five parts (1604)
Sir John Souch his Galiard
Lachrimæ Antiquae (Old tears)
Mr George Whitehead’s Almayn
Lachrimae Pavan – lute solo
Captaine Digorie Piper his Galiard
M. Henry Noel his Galiard
Lachrimæ Antiquae Novæ (Old tears renewed)
Sir John Langton’s Pavan
Semper Dowland, Semper Dolens – lute solo
Lachrimæ Gementes (Sighing tears)
Lachrimæ Tristes (Sad tears)
New work commissioned by Early Music Vancouver:
Stacey Brown (1976 – )
(living tears, the tears of living, les larmes de la vie)
Lorasirme Ryny their Galliard
Lachrimae Coactae (Forced tears)
Lachrimæ Amantis (A Lover’s tears)
The Earl of Essex Galiard
In Nomine Farewell – lute solo
The King of Denmark’s Galiard
Lachrimæ Veræ (True tears)
“Though the title doth promise teares, unfit guests in these joyfull times, yet no doubt pleasant are the teares which Musicke weepes, neither are teares shed always in sorrow, but some time in joy and gladness.”
John Dowland, Preface to Lachrimae, 1604
Dowland’s Lachrimae has become canon in the annals of consort music! “Unfit guests in these joyful times”, these seven tears of extreme beauty are cried out by five viols and lute, Dowland’s instrument. Dowland himself was a renowned player who would have been a court musician to Queen Elizabeth, but for his adherence to his Papist faith acquired during a youthful visit to France. Despite honourary degrees from both Oxford and Cambridge, he lived most of his life as an expatriate in Italy, Germany and Denmark, where he was both appointed lutenist to King Christian IV and acted as spy for his Queen Elizabeth, to whom he remained devoted.
This performance is significantly different from most in that the music is ornamented in a style appropriate to the period and in defiance of a certain modern Puritanism that demands total adherence to the written page. The embellishment adds expressive elegance and musical freedom that we hope enhances the audience’s “joy and gladness”!
The programme includes a new 21st century take on Lachrimae by Montreal-based composer Stacey Brown commissioned by Early Music Vancouver.
Nigel North, lute
Born in London, England, Nigel North has been Professor of Lute at the Early Music Institute, Indiana University, Bloomington (USA) since 1999. Previous positions included The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London (1976-1996), Hochschule der Künste, Berlin (1993-1999) and the Royal Conservatory, Den Haag, (2006-2009).
Initially inspired at the age of seven by the early 60’s instrumental pop group “The Shadows”, Nigel studied classical music through the violin and guitar, eventually discovering his real path in life, the lute, when he was 15. Basically self-taught on the lute, he has been playing and teaching for nearly 50 years.
After hearing one of Nigel’s Bach recitals in London, Julian Bream recalled in 2002 “I remember going to a remarkable recital, one which I wish I had the ability to give: it was one of Nigel North’s Bach recitals, and I was bowled over by how masterful and how musical it was. A real musical experience, something you don’t always get from guitar and lute players and which, in general, is pretty rare.” Recordings include a four CD boxed set “Bach on the Lute” (Linn Records), four CDs of the lute music of John Dowland (Naxos), and a new ongoing series of music by Sylvius Weiss (BGS) and Francesco da Milano (BGS).
Les Voix Humaines
Recipients of numerous prizes, Susie Napper and Margaret Little, have thrilled audiences worldwide with dashing performances of early and contemporary music for viols since 1985. Their musical complicity has been compared to the skill of two trapeze artists or the telepathic communion of a pair of jazz saxophonists! They are renowned for their spectacular arrangements of a wide variety of music for two viols and have become a world reference for the music of Sainte-Colombe. Les Voix humaines has toured Canada, USA and Mexico, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, China and Japan, has recorded most of the repertoire for two equal viols and has worked with renowned musicians such as Bart and Wieland Kuijken, Charles Daniels, Eric Milnes, Skip Sempe, David Greenberg and Nigel North.
With colleagues Mélisande Corriveau and Felix Deak, Les Voix humaines Consort has been touring Europe and North America for the past several years. In 2017 the VH Consort toured in Mexico and its next venture is a Scandinavian and Eastern European tour in November.
Les Voix humaines has recorded over forty CDs to critical acclaim and has won prestigious awards (Diapason d’Or, Choc du Monde de la Musique, Repertoire-Classica 10, Goldberg 5, Classics Today 10/10, Prix Opus, etc). LVH Consort recordings include Purcell’s complete Fantasias, Bach’s Art of Fugue, Les Voix humaines’ own arrangement of Vivaldi’s Quatro Staggione, “4 Seasons, 4 Viols”, and Dowland’s Lachrimae.
Stacey Brown, composer
Described as organic, deftly interwoven, and showing a gift for skillful orchestration, Stacey Brown's varied and versatile musical output includes opera and concert works – from solo to orchestra – as well as music for theatre, dance, and film. Winner of the National Composition Prize of the Canadian University Music Society (2010) and of 1st and 3rd prizes of the Prix collégien de musique contemporaine (2016, 2018), Stacey's recent commissions include an orchestral song cycle for countertenor, L’horreur de constater qu’on nous oubliera (five poems by Bertrand Laverdure), which was premiered in 2015 by the Orchestre de la Francophonie and Daniel Cabena under the direction of Jean-Philippe Tremblay, the theatrical concert work (un)done, premiered in 2016 by Ensemble Paramirabo with featured vocalists Sarah Albu and Vincent Ranallo, and the visual-art inspired Perspectives premiered in 2017 by the Orchestre Métropolitain under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
Her works have been performed in Canada and the United States by ensembles including the Philadelphia Orchestra (cond. Yannick Nézet-Séguin), the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra (cond. Dina Gilbert), Bicycle Opera Project, VivaVoce (cond. Peter Schubert), Fiolûtröniq, Ensemble Kô (cond. Tiphaine Legrand), Pianos Galore (cond. Clyde Mitchell), and Erreur de type 27 (cond. Katia Makdissi-Warren), as well as performers including Marilyn Wiwcharuk, Claudine Ledoux, Philippe Prud'homme, Matthieu Fortin, and Katelyn Clark. Current projects include a trumpet concerto for Stéphane Beaulac, commissioned by the Orchestre Métropolitain to be premiered in May 2019, a new work for viola da gamba consort with Les Voix Humaines to be premiered and toured in the fall of 2019, and a collaborative interdisciplinary project led by mezzo-soprano Stéphanie Pothier.
A sought-after educator, Stacey has taught and lectured at several post-secondary institutions including Université de Montréal, Université Laval, Université du Québec à Montréal, Cégep de Sherbrooke, and École de musique Vincent-d’Indy. She frequently collaborates on academic translation projects and is also the author of several music analysis articles published by L’Éducation musicale (France). Stacey Brown is Vice-President of the National Council of the Canadian League of Composers and an Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre, and holds composition degrees from the University of Victoria (BMUS) and the Université de Montréal (MMUS; DMUS).