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Vocal ensemble set to perform in Plattsburgh, Saranac Lake

— The Northern Adirondack Vocal Ensemble has teamed together with The Four Winds recorder consort for two performances of “Madrigals, Motets, and Merriment,” a lively program of renaissance musical delights.

They will perform Saturday, June 1, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Peter’s Church in Plattsburgh and Sunday, June 2, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Bernard’s Church in Saranac Lake.

The Northern Adirondack Vocal Ensemble (NAVE), directed by Andrew Benware, is a select chamber choir of professional and experienced amateur singers. Twenty members – soprano, alto, tenor, and bass – represent a cross-section of the region, hailing from points in Clinton, Essex, and Franklin Counties. Similarly, The Four Winds ensemble brings together four masterly recorder players from the Adirondacks and Québec – Christopher Barry, Anne Paulson, Véronique Tétrault, and Lynn Waickman – each capable of playing all the instruments in the recorder “family,” from the highest little sopranino to the lowest large contrabass.

The concert program features both ensembles separately and together. NAVE will perform a cappella vocal works – madrigals and motets – including many favorites, such as Morley’s “Now is the Month,” “April is in my Mistress’ Face,” “My Bonny Lass,” and Orlando di Lasso’s “Matona mia cara” and “O occhi, manza mia.” Less familiar perhaps will be madrigals by John Bennett and John Farmer and the motets “Sicut Cervus” of Palestrina and “Ave Verum Corpus” of William Byrd.

The Four Winds will be featured as a solo guest ensemble, performing purely instrumental works – typical renaissance forms – such as a fantasia by Orlando Gibbons, a ricercar by Luigi Mazzi, and a canzona by Gasparo Pietragrua, as well as dance sets by Michael Praetorius and Tielman Susato. The Four Winds will also join together with NAVE on several numbers at key points in the program. A climactic moment will be Jacob Handl’s “Alleluia” for double choir, where both ensembles perform antiphonally.

“Madrigals, Motets, and Merriment” offers a choice sampling of short vocal and instrumental works that express the full range of human emotions. Little vignettes, both secular and sacred, capture the essence of a mood or state, each dealing with an aspect of earthly or divine love. Coquetry, passion, lust, loss, and despair, as well as spiritual longing, fervor and joy are all depicted in a perfect marriage of words and music.

Admission is a $10 suggested donation at the door. For more information please telephone 293-7613 or send a message by e-mail to hillholl@hughes.net

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