Madrigali: Fire and Roses
Divine Art, £13.99
‘MADRIGALI: Fire and Roses is a golden blend of a cappella repertoire, both ancient and modern, sung by the fresh voices of Aberdeen’s Con Anima Chamber Choir under its director Paul Mealor. Mealor’s own music is featured in the juicy atmospherics of his short choral cycle, Now sleeps the crimson petal. So are two beautifully crafted works by the American composer Morten Lauridsen, including the disc’s title track Madrigali, vivid modern settings of Italian Renaissance poems that harness echoes of Monteverdi. Genuine Renaissance madrigals by the stylistically anarchic Gesualdo, John Wilbye and others, including Monteverdi himself, are complemented by more recent settings by Holst and James MacMillan.’
KENNETH WALTON, Scotsman (December 2011)
The following review appeared on Classical Music Sentinel
MADRIGALI: Fire and Roses – Con Anima Chamber Choir – Paul Mealor (Conductor) –
809730509421 – Released: October 2011 – Divine Art DDA25094
Morten Lauridsen – Madrigali: Six ‘fire songs’ on Italian Renaissance poems
Claudio Monteverdi – Se per havervi, oimè
Carlo Gesualdo – Luci serene e chiare
Vincenzo Ruffo – Lo piango
Girolamo Scotto – Amor, io sento l’alma
Yvo Barry – Quando son piu lontan
Henricus Schaffen – Ov’è, lass’, il bel viso?
Paul Mealor – Now sleeps the crimson petal
Anonymous – There is no rose
John Ward – Upon a bank with roses set about
John Wilbye – Lady, when I behold the roses
Gustav Holst – Now sleeps the crimson petal
James MacMillan – So deep
Morten Lauridsen – Chanson éloignée
A luminous collection of a cappella choral works spanning five centuries, the showpiece of which is the Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal cycle, by Paul Mealor himself, of which the first movement was personally chosen by Prince William and Kate Middleton (now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) as the musical centerpiece of the April 2011 Royal wedding service. An impressive choral work that superbly combines the clean and open harmonies of the Renaissance, with the more distant harmonic intervals of today, and sits within a pitch range that always serves the four individual voice parts extremely well. An evocative work that at times demands vocal gymnastics from the singers, but most of all commands a beauty and richness of sound too often absent from today’s music.
The Scottish Con Anima Chamber Choir is quickly establishing a reputation as a choral ensemble that can comfortably adapt to the various demands of music past and present, as evidenced on this new recording. From John Ward, to Gustav Holst, to Morten Lauridsen, their delivery enhances the music’s character and style, and never sounds as if out of its element. The blend of voices from the basses to the sopranos is always in perfect equilibrium, and could be compared to a supple and malleable fabric that conductor Paul Mealor can easily mold and shape to fit the music at hand.
The Divine Art sound recording has calibrated the distance between you and the choir very well, giving it a tangible and realistic feel that wraps you in a warm blanket of sound. You will understand what I mean when you hear the final chord of the Paul Mealor work.
Jean-Yves Duperron – November 2011
|Sunday 13th November 2011, 8:00 pm
St Mary’s Cathedral
(Click on thumbnail to view CD cover)
Paul Mealor, conductor
Madrigali: Fire & Roses, Con Anima’s second CD which will be launched in this concert, explores music of love and passion. Italian and English Renaissance works are set against contemporary interpretations of the same texts by composers Morten Lauridsen in his Madrigali: Six ‘fire songs’ on Italian Renaissance Poems and in Paul Mealor’s Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal.
|Saturday 1st October 2011, 7:30 pmPart of St Machar’s Cathedral Festival of Sacred Music
St Machar’s Cathedral
Conducted by Sam Paul and Ed Jones
Since its foundation in 2001, Con Anima Chamber Choir has built up an impressive reputation and is now north-east Scotland’s finest chamber choir.
This performance will feature contemporary music from the UK and Europe, including works by Arvo Pärt and fellow Estonian composer Eriks Esenvalds as well as Maurice Duruflé’s beautiful Quatre motets sur des thèmes grégoriens.
Particular highlights will be the première of O Vos Omnes, a new work by Ed Jones, Con Anima’s recently appointed Chorusmaster, and the Scottish première of Salvator Mundi by Paul Mealor, Con Anima’s Musical Director, whose music was chosen for the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.
It was announced this morning that a piece composed by Paul Mealor, principal conductor of Con Anima Chamber Choir, has been chosen for the wedding service of Prince William & Catherine Middleton. We’re all absolutely thrilled for him, and will be glued to our TV sets tomorrow!
To quote the official royal blog:
The Anthem will be followed by the Motet ‘Ubi caritas’ by Paul Mealor, a Welsh composer, who is currently Reader in Composition at The University of Aberdeen.
Mr. Mealor’s composing studio is on the Isle of Anglesey, where Prince William and Miss Middleton live. This version of ‘Ubi caritas’ was written on Anglesey and premiered at the University of St. Andrews in November 2010.
Ubi Caritas is based on Paul’s Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal, the piece premiered in St Andrews by the joint chamber choirs of the University of Aberdeen, Edinburgh and St Andrews, including some of Con Anima’s singers.
Con Anima also recorded Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal last November under Paul’s direction. This is now available as a downloadable single here.
Congratulations again Paul!
For those of you who can’t wait for our next CD to be released – Con Anima’s recording of Paul Mealor’s short choral cycle, Now sleeps the crimson petal, is now available to buy as a download only.
Now sleeps the crimson petal consists of four madrigals on texts connected by their reference to roses, either directly or as a metaphor for earthly or divine love.
Mealor based his Ubi caritas, performed at the royal wedding on 29 April 2011, on the first movement of this work.
Saturday 21st May 2011
Registration 10.30am Blairs College, South Deeside Road, Aberdeen, AB12 5YQ Workshops 11.00am to 5.00pm
Performance 7.30pm Blairs College
Following on from last year’s success, Con Anima’s second Come & Sing event will take place in the beautiful setting of Blairs College, South Deeside Road. Singers will spend the day learning excerpts from Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil – commonly known as “Vespers”. In the evening, singers and audience are invited to the college’s St Mary’s Chapel for a short performance by Con Anima Chamber Choir, before the choir are joined by the day’s participants for the main event.
Tickets for the whole day, including lunch, cost £20 (£15 Concessions, £10 Students).
Audience tickets are also available for the evening performance, costing £5.
Singers will each need a copy of the music, which can be hired from Con Anima for £3.50, or bought at most music stores including: Top Note, Crown Street, Aberdeen – Tel: 01224 210259. Music Room and Amazon.
Tickets can be bought and music hired from the Con Anima Shop or phone Regina Jäschke – 07904 587796.
|Saturday 14th May 2011, 8:00 pm
St. Machar’s Cathedral
(Click on thumbnail to view poster)
Unfortunately the staff of Blairs have taken the decision to cancel this event due to the forecast bad weather. We’re all bitterly disappointed, and hope to make up for it in the spring!