The Renaissance Singers will be performing The Poet - A Song Cycle with a young talented string quartet in the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit where the acoustics will have the voices and strings come alive.
Fifty years ago Palmerston North City Council commissioned Wellington composer, Jenny McLeod to create a production for Palmerston North’s 100th anniversary. The result was Under the Sun, a story of the creation from a Maori perspective. It was a massive production of over a thousand participants, several choirs, two orchestras, and children everywhere. It was an amazing celebration still talked of. Renaissance Singers’ Music Director, Christine Archer-Lockwood participated as a teenager in Under the Sun and was struck by Jenny McLeod’s work.
A few years ago, Dr Karen Grylls and Voices New Zealand together with the New Zealand String Quartet commissioned Jenny McLeod to produce a song cycle of Janet Frame poems. Internationally famous writer, Janet Frame had spent time in Dahlia Street in Palmerston North. She loved writing poetry but didn’t consider herself particularly good at it and published just one small volume. On her death, her store of poems was discovered and published and from these a collection was put together that described Janet Frame’s view of poets. She clearly put poets on a pedestal and Jenny McLeod has captured the sentiments in the poems in constructing The Poet - A Song Cycle. Once again, through Christine Archer-Lockwood, Jenny McLeod is contributing to the celebrating of the birth of Palmerston North.
The string quartet members, Nathan Pinkney, Hayden Nickel, Sylvia Neild and Joanna Dann are already impressively accomplished - and Nathan, Sylvia and Joanna hail originally from Palmerston North. After the song cycle, the string quartet will entertain with two movements of Dvorak’s “American” string quartet. The quartet have already played the piece at a local house concert leaving the audience very impressed and very happy.
After the break, the choir will be accompanied in songs by different members of the quartet and piano accompanist, Guy Donaldson, before concluding with the choir and string quartet joining again to produce Gjeilo’s beautiful setting of Christina Rossetti’s The Rose. Other items include Rist’s stirring interpretation of Invictus and Chillcot’s hauntingly nostalgic The Beach. Lee Kesselman’s As One is One will have the audience repeating rhythms afterwards while David Childs’ gorgeous setting of Yeats’ poem, He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven will once again have those in the audience familiar with the Renaissance Singers, thinking that New Zealander, David Childs, could indeed produce exquisite music.
The Renaissance Singers love singing in the Cathedral and this concert will highlight the different voices, stringed instruments, and wonderful harmonies. Tickets can be purchased from members of the Renaissance Singers and at the Cathedral door for $25, $20 concession, with those 12 and under, free.