VoXX's If Music Be … concert series
The a cappella vocal ensemble VoXX: Voice of Twenty will present its annual summer concert series to audiences around the Midcoast Friday through Sunday, July 6 through 8. The self-led group of auditioned singers has once again put together a program of works, titled If Music Be …, that spans the ages from Medieval to contemporary and composers from Obrecht to Britten.
There will be three performances: Friday, July 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Pascal Hall, 86 Pascal Ave. in Rockport; Saturday, July 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the atrium at Athena Health, 3 Hatley Road, Belfast; and Sunday, July 8 at 4 p.m. at the historic South Cushing Baptist Church on Salt Pond Road, part of the Cushing Historical Society’s Music in the Barn weekend. Concert admission will be $10.
The selections are both secular and sacred and examine themes of adoration, reflection, redemption and, of course, love, with pathos and humor.
"We crafted this program partly from our core repertoire, which contains many fine works that we wanted to revisit. We then chose new pieces to take us through the ages into relatively modern times,” said music director Gregory Moore, adding that If Music Be … is a challenging program "and one we think our audiences will enjoy."
Selections depict varied emotions from unrequited love, as in Monteverdi’s Cruda Amarilli (“Cruel Amaryllis”), to the joys of romance portrayed in Purcell’s madrigal "If Music Be the Food of Love" and the more contemporary "Evening Primrose" by Britten. William Byrd’s five-part Laudibus in Sanctis, the longest work on the program, is a jubilant, polyphonic song of praise from beginning to end.
So many of the other sacred works on the concert have titles begin with the letter A that VoXX considered calling this series The A List. The stately Alma Redemptoris Mater by Palestrina; a pair of Ave Marias by Josquin and Bruckner; an iconic setting of Ave Verum Corpus by Byrd; Grieg’s Ave Maris Stella; the devotional Adoramus Te set by Monteverdi; and the contemporary finale of the program, the Agnus Dei from the Mass in G Minor by Vaughan Williams, round out the A's.
Several pieces on the program will continue VoXX’s tradition of presenting works sung by small ensembles within the group. The singers also have been honing their chanting skills.
Now in its second decade, VoXX has sung up and down the Maine coast, and performs two scheduled concert sets per year, in mid-summer and January, plus occasional special performances by invitation. The group mainly performs a cappella, but appropriate instrumentation (recorders, percussion, strings) is occasionally added. The singers' first CD, "VoXX: Voice of Twenty: Favorites Old and New" is available at the concerts and website; and via cdbaby.com. For more information, visit voiceoftwenty.com or call 236-9413.
Courier Publications' A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or firstname.lastname@example.org.