Musica Vocale gets Bach to basics

June 6, 2016 - Finding Carter

Much contemporary choral strain values atmosphere over structure. And while balmy strain has a place, too many can have a analgesic effect. Sometimes one needs to lapse to fresh counterpoint to buoy mind and soul.

Musica Vocale, a glorious garb destined by Kansas City choral strain fable Arnold Epley, will get behind to basis with “Foundations and Cornerstones” Sunday, Jun 5, during Grace Holy Trinity Cathedral. The unison will concentration on strain by 3 bedrock exemplary composers: Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johannes Brahms.

“I’m examination choral strain in many educational institutions, and some choirs get serve afield from this simple literature,” Epley said. “21st century choral strain is some-more soundscape than contrapuntal.”

“Foundations and Cornerstones” is dictated as a corrective. Epley and Musica Vocale’s artistic adviser, Jay Carter, wish to deliver their assembly to a low-pitched technique, many renouned in a Renaissance and Baroque eras, in that voices are harmonically interdependent and rhythmically dependent. It’s easier to hear than to explain, that is given Carter hopes a musically unusual will attend “Foundations and Cornerstones.”

“Counterpoint is unequivocally during a core of what we fear we’ve begun to remove steer of,” Carter said. “How to sing counterpoint, how to know counterpoint and how to listen to it.

“One of a things that will be good about a pieces we’re singing, a Bach and Mozart especially, is a event to hear unequivocally well-constructed counterpoint in such a approach that is permitted to someone who is not familiar in it. Finding a square that is so entirely contrapuntal all a approach through, nonetheless a listener can hear it — that doesn’t occur a lot.”

Carter, like many other distinguished Kansas City vocalists, schooled about counterpoint and other low-pitched knowledge from Epley who taught during William Jewell College for years and was a longtime executive of a Kansas City Symphony Chorus.

“I initial met Arnold about 25 years ago, that is kind of crazy to consider about,” Carter said. “He was doing an respect choir in Illinois when we was a beginner in high school. So when it was time to figure out where we wanted to go to college, William Jewell was flattering many during a tip of a list given Arnold was training there.

“There is something about a clarity of a approach he speaks about things and his openness. That and a fact that he’s rather entertaining.”

Epley binds identical love for his former student, whom he now thinks of as one of his possess teachers.

“Jay is an unusual tellurian being who carries a many smashing set of low-pitched sensibilities and unusual memory and a good ability to catch things,” Epley said. He’s also a chairman of abyss and humanity. And his singing is mesmerizing.”

Carter, a countertenor, won’t be holding any solo bows in Sunday’s concert, though his influence, as always with Musica Vocale, is behind a scenes. As artistic adviser, really small happens with a choir that Carter is not a partial of, Epley says.

“A lot of a time he drives novel choices and styles of literature,” Epley said. “He’s a proprietor guru and uncanny ancient denunciation expert.”

In further to his work with Musica Vocale, Carter is artist-in-residence during William Jewell, where he says he “spins lots of plates.” Carter teaches courses in art-song, articulation and strain story and conducts a Schola Cantorum.

“Schola Cantorum is usually a few undergraduate voices, and we do a few projects a year, customarily liturgically based,” Carter said. “We packet ourselves out to congregations around city and sing things like choral evensong or compline or lessons and carols.

“Students get a event to do something that’s really greatly liturgical, so if they’re ever hired as a ringer or a hired gun, they know how to travel in and do it seamlessly.”

For a past several years, Musica Vocale has been operative a approach by Bach’s motets. The organisation will finish a traversal Sunday with a 11-movement motet “Jesu, Meine Freude.”

“It’s such an engaging square architecturally,” Epley said. “Bach does each compositional pretence that he knows. At times it’s a small madrigalesque and other times old-form counterpoint. It’s an extraordinary 11 movements of swapping a chorale ‘Jesu Meine Freude’ and a thoroughfare from Romans 8. He simply goes behind and forth. It’s flattering amazing.”

The Bach will be followed by dual offertories by Mozart, “Venite Populi,” K. 227, and “Misericordias Domini,” K. 222, that Carter and Epley report as also being strongly contrapuntal. The unison will interpretation with dual works by Brahms: Four Songs, Op. 17, for women’s chorus, and one of his choral masterworks, a Alto Rhapsody, for contralto and men’s chorus.

Brahms wrote his Alto Rhapsody as a marriage benefaction for Robert and Clara Schumann’s daughter, Julie. Not prolonged after he finished a piece, Brahms presented it to Clara, who wrote in her diary: “A few days ago, Johannes showed me a smashing work. … He called it his spousal song. It is prolonged given we have perceived so surpassing an impression; it shook me by a deep-felt grief of a difference and music.”

Rachel Colman, a connoisseur of a University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, who Carter says possesses “a smashing solo voice,” will be a contralto soloist.

“The Brahms Alto Rhapsody is a small like a Baroque concerto grosso,” Epley said. “It’s got this retard of men’s voices and a solo alto voice, and a alto voice is rather rhapsodic, a men’s tools are beautiful, warm, homophonic strain and afterwards there’s a vast orchestration, though what we’re selecting to do is use piano, that turns it into a kind of cover piece.”

Eryn Bates, one of Kansas City’s many sought-after accompanists, will perform a piano reduction, that Epley describes as “quite difficult.”

“Eryn is handling it really well,” he said. “She’s a unchanging operation accompanist, though she’s a excellent soloist in her possess right. She’ll also yield continuo on a portative organ for a Bach.”

It’s a plain program, as one would design from a unison patrician “Foundations and Cornerstones.” But with all this speak of counterpoint, don’t consider this is all some arrange of egghead exercise. Bach and Mozart didn’t use counterpoint as an finish in itself, though as a means to high low-pitched expression. The module comprises deeply soulful music, and it’s also something of a personal lenience for Epley.

“This unison is a birthday benefaction to myself,” he said. “I recently had my 77th birthday, so I’ve given myself a benefaction of Bach, Mozart and Brahms.”

Happy birthday, Arnold, and interjection for pity your benefaction with us.

2 p.m. Sunday, Jun 5. Grace Holy Trinity Cathedral, 415 W. 13th St. $10-$15. Tickets accessible during a door. For some-more information about Musica Vocale, revisit

Heartland Men’s Chorus 30th anniversary concert

The Heartland Men’s Chorus will applaud 3 decades of top-notch music-making, activism and good times with “I Rise,” a group’s 30th anniversary concert, Saturday and Jun 12 during a Folly Theater. The unison will embody a universe premiere of “I Rise,” a work a carol consecrated from composer Mark Hayes formed on a difference of Maya Angelou.

In a press release, a HMC’s artistic director, Dustin Cates, writes: “Maya Angelou’s communication is synonymous with polite rights and elevating oneself and one’s surrounding community. It’s usually wise for Kansas City’s happy men’s carol to elect and benefaction this poignant work.”

Also on a module is “Brothers Sing Out,” that a Heartland Men’s Chorus achieved on a initial module in 1986. There will be other works that have turn HMC assembly favorites over a years.

8 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Jun 12. Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St. $18-$43. 816-931-3338 or

You can strech Patrick Neas during

More carter...

› tags: FindingCarter /