Posted by: Colin Britt | December 22, 2018

December news

It has certainly been an exciting season! I’ve had several concerts in the last few weeks, and I’ve also been very fortunate to have a couple premieres and new releases this month. Here are a few highlights:

  • On Wednesday, Nov. 14, I attended the premiere of two movements of a new trilogy of Sara Teasdale settings written for my friend Arianne Abela and the Amherst College Concert Choir as part of a collaborative venture between the music and visual arts programs. The ensemble was fantastic under her new leadership, tackling some really complex and exciting music, and I was thrilled with the premiere! I’ll be sharing that recording soon!
  • On Sunday, Dec. 2, I conducted my third annual Messiah Sing with the West Village Chorale and over 150 of our friends in New York.

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  • On Saturday, Dec. 8, I attended the premiere of my newest composition for tenor and bass voices, “Once, as I remember,” given by the Rutgers University Glee Club and my dear friend and mentor Patrick Gardner. The Rutgers Kirkpatrick Choir also gave a beautiful performance of my setting of “There is no rose.” I can’t wait to share the recordings from that performance – stay tuned!
  • Then, on Sunday, Dec. 9, I conducted my third annual holiday concert with the West Village Chorale, titled “Holidays Around the World.” This program featured music from Russia, England, Latvia, Nigeria, Haiti, Spain, Mexico, and the United States, and it was one of the most vibrant and polished performances I’ve had with this fabulous group. Here’s a video of one of our pieces from that program:

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  • Then, on Monday, Dec. 17, I conducted my fourth concert with the combined choirs at Rutgers Preparatory School. We sang music ranging from Rachmaninoff to Imogen Heap and from Paulus to the PENTATONIX. I am so grateful to work with such an outstanding group of students, and to be able to make music in such a supportive environment every day!
  • Finally, I’m thrilled to share the newly released debut recording of a piece I wrote for Tapestry. My composition, “I think awhile of love,” is the title track of the album, and Billy Janiszewski conducted an absolutely brilliant performance of the piece! I am beyond thrilled with how this recording came out, and I’m especially honored by how this piece has become something of a mantra for the ensemble. The piece (which I wrote in opposition to the divisive and intolerant rhetoric coming from the current political administration) sets a poem by Henry David Thoreau over an accompanying sequence of ostinati that uses something like 30 translations of the word “love.” The emotional apex of the work comes in the final two stanzas, pasted below:

Two sturdy oaks I mean, which side by side
⁠Withstand the winter’s storm,
⁠And, spite of wind and tide,
⁠Grow up the meadow’s pride,
⁠For both are strong.

Above they barely touch, but, undermined
⁠Down to their deepest source,
⁠Admiring you shall find
⁠Their roots are intertwined
⁠Insep’rably.

Please enjoy their brilliant recording – and check out the whole album, which is outstanding!

Lastly, please have a safe and wonderful holiday – see you in 2019!

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With Victoria Britt

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