Carolina Classics 2010 June 18

From choral music to full orchestra, the Renaissance to music of today, we've got a look back at the 'Sounds of Spoleto' on this final edition of Carolina Classics.  There are works by Orlando Gibbons, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Johann Strauss Jr, Maurice Ravel, Edward Hart, of the College of Charleston music faculty, Gabriel Faure, Beethoven and others.
Listen to the entire program:

O Clap Your Hands
An eight-part anthem called “O Clap Your Hands,” is a piece written by its composer, Orlando Gibbons, in 1622. Gibbons had something to clap about – it was written for the occasion of receiving his Doctor of Music degree from Oxford. The hand-clapping there was from a 2010 Piccolo Spoleto Festival audience at Circular Congregational Church here in Charleston. Applauding the 36 voices of Renaissance, a choir from Charlotte.

Renaissance Choral Ensemble

For the Beauty of the Earth
A new arrangement to a familiar text by English composer Philip Stopford, performed by Renaissance, a 36-voice choral ensemble from Charlotte, in a Piccolo Spoleto concert at the Circular Congregation Church here in Charleston. Renaissance was one of several groups performing in the Piccolo Spoleto series called “Spotlight on the Art of Choral Singing.

PHILIP STOPFORD: For the Beauty of the Earth
Renaissance Choral Ensemble

The Lark Ascending
Sometimes called a Romance for Violin and Orchestra, and called by some “the most perfect work Ralph Vaughan Williams ever wrote.” Yuriy Bekker is the violinist, performing with the Ensemble of St. Clare at Mepkin Abbey, located in Monck’s Corner, South Carolina, about 35 miles and a world of serenity away from downtown Charleston on a Saturday night!

Yuriy Bekker, violin
Alex Agrest, conductor, Ensemble of St. Clare

Die Fledermaus
Now the Overture to Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss the Second played with gusto by college-age members of the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, conducted by Emmanuel Villaume.

JOHANN STRAUSS II: Overture to Die Fledermaus
Emmanuel Villaume, conductor, Spoleto Festival Usa Orchestra

La Valse
Often dubbed one of the most difficult pieces in the orchestral literature comes ”La Valse” by Maurice Ravel and conducted by Emmanuel Villaume.

Emmanuel Villaume, conductor, Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra

The Quiet Hour
A work for string quartet by Charleston composer Edward Hart, inspired by a watercolor by a Charleston painter – Alice Ravenal Huger Smith. Taken from a Piccolo Spoleto Spotlight Series concert called “A Music Homecoming,” recorded at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park here in Charleston. The “Homecoming” is for violinist Megan and cellist James Holland, two former principal players in the Charleston Symphony. They are joined in that string quartet by two CURRENT members of the Charleston Symphony, Yuriy Bekker, the orchestra’s concertmaster, and Jill King, who plays in the orchestra’s viola section.

EDWARD HART: The Quiet Hour
Yuriy Bekker, violin
Megan Holland, violin
Jill King, viola
James Holland, cello

Les Bouffons
From the 16th century comes a piece called “Les Bouffons” with a definition that sounds like something straight out of Monty Python: “An old sword dance of men wearing armor of gilded cardboard,” according to the Oxford Dictionary of Music. The dancing there is led by the fancy finger work on Renaissance guitar by Steve Rosenberg, leading his group Charleston Pro Musica in a concert called “Pleasures of the Royal Courts.

Steve Rosenberg, guitar
Charleston Pro Musica

Ben venga maggio e L'amor dona
A couple of Renaissance tunes from Italy and Spain titled ”Ben venga maggio” and “L’amor dona,” performed by Charleston Pro Musica and the College of Charleston Madrigal Singers. Robert Taylor directs the singers; and Steven Rosenberg directs the musicians, as well as the overall Early Music Series at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival.

ANON: "Ben venga maggio" e "L'amor dona"
Charleston Pro Musica; College of Charleston Madrigal Singers

A performance of Gabriel Faure’s Pavane pretty much as he originally envisioned it: as, quote, “a purely orchestral work to be played at a series of light summer concerts conducted by his friend Jules Danbé.” Danbe, it turns out, was sort of the Arthur Fiedler of Faure’s day. You'll hear it played at one of the summer concerts of the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra; conducted by, yes a Frenchman, Pierre Vallet.

GABRIEL FAURE: Pavane in F-sharp minor, Op. 50
Pierre Vallet, conductor, Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra

Symphony No. 4
Finally, Beethoven's 4th, played with a little brio by the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, conducted by Pierre Vallet. A performance given at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Charleston.

LUDWIG van BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major, Op. 60
Pierre Vallet, conductor, Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra

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