Voxx Presents 9th Annual Music for the New Year Concerts

Performing Arts
Phippsburg Congregational Church
10 Church Lane, Phippsburg, ME
Jan 20, 2013
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Photo by: Jimdugan.com Voxx (and friend) in the gardens in Camden, Maine.

The midcoast a cappella vocal ensemble VoXX: Voice of Twenty will celebrate the turning of the calendar with its annual Music for the New Year concerts three times in January 2013. Titled “Winter Reflections,” the program is built around a core of works that reflect the annual transition from darkness to light with music that ranges from serene to upbeat, and sacred to secular. Repertoire covers both a broad spectrum of time, from medieval times through the 20th century, and of style, and from chant and polyphony through contemporary. It includes works by Allegri, Arcadelt, Debussy, Gibbons, Gorecki, Morales, Purcell, Tallis, Victoria, and more.

VoXX will present three performances of Winter Reflections: Friday, January 18 at the acoustically stunning Belfast Armory on Route One in Belfast, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, January 19 at Rockport’s iconic Opera House, 6 Central Street, at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, January 20 at the historic Phippsburg Congregational Church, 10 Church Lane, at 2:00 p.m., reception included. (If needed, any snow date(s) will be at the same time and venue on the following weekend). Admission is $10, tickets available at the door.

“We’re looking forward to singing again in the wonderful acoustics of the Belfast Armory (yes, really!) and to the Rockport Opera House, which is a brand-new venue for us. The trip to Phippsburg is always a treat for us too--the community there is so welcoming,” said Gregory Moore, Music Director.

“We crafted this program around a core of compositions that range from light to dark, and then arranged them with mood in mind,” Moore added. For example, we open the show with Palestrina’s vigorous Exsultate Deo and slow the mood with Rheinberger’s Abendlied and Byrd’s five-part Christe, Qui Lux es et Dies. Then we close the first half with the biggest work on the program, Allegri’s haunting Miserere Mei Deus. Miserere was written in the 1630s, and brought to light after a 14-year-old Mozart transcribed it by ear after hearing it just twice during a visit to Rome.”

Other early pieces on the program will continue VoXX’s tradition of works presented by small subsets of singers from within the group. These include Wilbye’s lush Draw on Sweet Night, and Gibbons’s The Silver Swan contrasted with Arcadelt’s Italian setting of a similar text in Il Bianco e Dolce Cigno,

Midwinter is a time for reflection and remembrance, as exemplified by Douglas Guest’s brief, but intensely moving For the Fallen, Purcell’s lovely Hear My Prayer, and Gorecki’s profound setting of Totus Tuus. To lift the mood and brighten the dark days of winter, VoXX will present two setting of O Magnum Mysterium. One setting, by Tomas Luis de Victoria, is a VoXX standard and will be sung by the full group. The other, by Cristobal de Morales, will be sung by the women of Voxx. Not to be outdone, te men of VoXX will take a turn on the medieval, chant-based Adoramus Te, Domine.

O Nata Lux, a five-part piece by Tallis with some very unusual dissonances helps round out the program, which will culminate with the lively tongue-twister Yver, Vous N'estes Qu'un Villain (winter, you’re but a rogue!) by Claude Debussy.

Now in its second decade, VoXX has sung up and down the Maine coast, and generally performs two scheduled concert sets per year, in January and mid-summer. VoXX likes the challenges of unusual vocal music, yet more familiar works by such renowned composers as Britten, Byrd, Dufay, Holst, Josquin, Lauridsen, Vaughan Williams, and Whitacre (not to mention Anonymous) are also central to the repertoire. VoXX mainly performs a cappella, but appropriate instrumentation (recorders, percussion, strings) is occasionally added.

VoXX is unusual in that it is a collectively run, all-volunteer organization. Membership is by audition (the group is currently seeking new members, see the group’s website for details), and singers come from all walks of life: teachers and students, professionals and retirees. Members who want to can share in the responsibility of bringing music selections to the group and may take turns teaching and leading if they so choose. The group has built a strong following and is well known for its efforts to inform audiences through extensive program notes.

The group recently released its first CD, VoXX: Voice of Twenty: “Favorites Old and New.” It is available at the group’s concerts and website, and via cdbaby.com. VoXX is available to perform by invitation. Visit www.voiceoftwenty.com or call 207-236-9413 for more information.