By Tafelmusik Chamber Choir Director and Founder Ivars Taurins
As a young child, listening to my parents’ recordings of Harry Belafonte, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, or Barbra Streisand, I was captivated by the way these singers could express not only the text they were singing, but the meaning and emotion behind individual words. Later, in my teens, I had the same experience listening to Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Elly Ameling, or Robert Tear. Still later, I discovered that the technical term for this magic is “word painting.” All of these singers had a way of illuminating the text and its potent emotions with a simplicity and directness that could be overwhelming … this combined with consummate vocal skill, creating sounds that could at once soothe one’s soul or tear it apart.
Music, essentially an abstract form, can stir up concrete emotions within us. Music’s meanderings through time and space can, to quote Nicholas Brady, so “court the ear, strike the heart, and captivate the mind” as to be overwhelmingly palpable. When music is paired with a text it becomes doubly potent.
Now in my 60th year, and celebrating the 35th anniversary of my collaboration with the remarkable singers of the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, I find I am still filled with that same childhood fascination with the fusion of words and music, and how these two elements, in the hands of a great composer, can be melded, moulded, and burnished to a wonderful lustre. I look forward to continuing to share this fascination with you for many years to come.
‘Tis Nature’s voice, thro’ all the moving wood
Of creatures understood:
The universal tongue to none
Of all her num’rous race unknown.
From her it learnt the mighty art
To court the ear or strike the heart,
At once the passions to express and move.
We hear, and straight we grieve or hate, rejoice or love.
In unseen chains it does the fancy bind,
At once it charms the sense and captivates the mind.
Nicholas Brady (from Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day, 1692)
Join us for Let Us All Sing! as we celebrate a milestone in Tafelmusik Chamber Choir’s history – it’s 35th anniversary. November 2-6 at Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre. Tickets are available here.