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Canzona Launches Season With a Baroque Bang

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Manitoba premieres of rare French Baroque works celebrate new Artistic Director and a new era for the choir

Winnipeg, MB - Canzona will celebrate its relaunch following a one-year hiatus with a boisterous concert of French Baroque repertoire that has never before been performed in Manitoba. On Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 7:30pm at St. Boniface Cathedral, the sublime voices of Canzona’s 20-voice professional ensemble will be joined by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra to ring in a new era for the choir.

“We have a lot to celebrate,” says Kathleen Allan, Canzona’s newly appointed Artistic Director. “The level of singing in Winnipeg in unparalleled anywhere else in the country, and I couldn’t be more excited to bring the brilliance of Canzona’s voices to this rarely performed repertoire.”

Ms. Allan will be joined by Raymond Sokalski for a bilingual pre-concert talk before the concert at 6:45pm. They will illuminate the repertoire will some historical information and discussion of some of the interesting connections between the pieces on the program.

The two French composers featured on the program were rivals. Jean-Baptiste Lully was the Royal Composer for Instrumental Music in the court of King Louis XIV and had a monopoly on many aspects of music performance in Paris at the time. The younger Marc-Antoine Charpentier was constantly struggling to make his mark in the shadow of Lully, but wrote music that is now revered as some of the greatest of the period. After Lully died in 1687 from complications of stabbing himself in the foot with his conducting staff, Charpentier’s career was able to flourish more fully.

The overture to Charpentier’s Te Deum, the large-scale work that comprises the second half of the concert program, will be recognizable to much of the audience as the intro music for the European Broadcasting Union and the Eurovision Song Contest. The work is celebratory and regal, with trumpets and timpani pronouncing victory at war and the glory of the “Sun King.”

While audiences will be treated to the lavish Baroque sounds of Versailles, they will also hear German perspectives on the same texts from the same era. German settings of the same texts will be paired with the French works, beginning with a lyrical double choir motet by Johann Hermann Schein, contrasting the opulent setting of the Lully grand motet. Bach’s Cantata No. 16 will prelude the Charpentier Te Deum, using the Lutheran paraphrase of the Te Deum prayer.

The Grand Motets

Music by Charpentier, Bach, and Lully
Sunday, November 12, 2017
St. Boniface Cathedral – 7:30 p.m.
In collaboration with the musicians of the WSO
Come and enjoy music of the French Baroque!

Membra Jesu Nostri

Music by Buxtehude
Sunday, April 22, 2018
Crescent Fort Rouge United Church – 7:30 p.m.
In collaboration with the musicians of the WSO