“The patience of ordinary things” – La Sarabande

The Vocal Ensemble La Sarabande invites you to discover the diversity of North American choral music today, from traditional songs to popular influences, from country music to experimental minimalism. A colourful music, composed by stars from across the Atlantic (Morten Lauridsen, Daniel Elder, Don MacDonald…) still undiscovered in France.

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Susan Ellenton (Canada)
Shine on, Silver Moon
Arranged by Larry Nickel
A traditional tune arranged in country music style: “Shine on, silver moon, love is gone, love will be back soon…”

Don Macdonald (Canada)
Last Night of Stars
A tormented poetic song about the impending ecological disaster: “Last night of stars, shroud is descending, darkness invading canvas and frame…”

Daniel Elder (USA)
Three Nocturnes : 1. Ballad to the Moon ; 2. Star Sonnet ; 3. Lullaby
A triptych on the theme of night (moon, stars, and lullaby): “On moonlit night I wander free” – “In stillness high above the slumb’ring shore, where wistful waves of foam caress the sand…” – “Lullaby, sing lullaby, the day is far behind you…”

Don Macdonald
Winter Sun
Text by Malca Litovitz
Celebrating nature with an Amerindian inspiration: “To light, to water, and the flow of birds through ancient stars…”

Mark Growden (USA)
The Patience of Ordinary Things
Text by Pat Schneider


Poetic songs: “It is a kind love, is it not? How the cup holds the tea…” – “Silence, even the crickets are still before the dawning of dawn…”

Susan LaBarr (USA)
Angele Dei
Text : Christian prayer
A solemn prayer: “Angel of God, my dear guardian, to whom I have been entrusted by divine goodness…”


Morten Lauridsen (USA)
Les Chansons des roses : 1. En une seule fleur ; 2. Contre qui, rose ; 3. De ton rêve trop plein ; 4. La rose complète ; 5. Dirait-on
Texts by Rainer Maria Rilke
Five poetic songs in French on the theme of roses: “But it’s us who have offered to fill up your chalice…” – “Against whom, rose, have you grown these thorns?…” – “Of your brimming dream, o flower so numerous inside…” – “I am so aware of your being, o complete rose…” – “Abandon, surrounded with abandon, tenderness touching tenderness…”

Rich Campbell (USA)
Text by Patrick Phillips
A walk in Manhattan: “It will be the past, and we will live there together…”

David Lang (USA)
Text after Ecclesiastes
A minimalist and repetitive composition: “People come, people go, the earth goes on and on, to where it rises again…”

Daniel Elder
Ave Maria
Text: Christian prayer
A prayer with very rich harmonies: “Hail Mary, full of grace…”

Daniel Brinsmead (Australia)
Spiritus Sanctus
Text by Hildegarde von Bingen
Rhythm, rhythm! “The holy spirit: living and life-giving, the life that’s all things moving…”

Choral music from America is usually associated to Spirituals and Gospels. The last thirty years, however, many composers have written very engaging choral music, inspired by the countless choirs active all over the continent—community choirs, professional ensembles, youth choirs, all remarkably skilled. There has been a major renewal of choral art and aesthetics in North America, particularly characterized by the love for beautiful sound, rich harmonies, and a mix of influences ranging from the tradition of Protestant hymns to jazz music and experimental trends. The French-American composer Betsy Jolas claims rightly that “Americans love to sing and practice music together.” The choral works in our program reflect this love, which is often inspired by religion even when non religious texts are set to music. This is because American culture is deeply shaped by religious feelings. The choral pieces we present mix simplicity with refinement, and even virtuosity in some cases. They are placed under the sign of “The Patience of Ordinary Things,” a poem by Pat Schneider here set to music by the young composer Mark Growden, in which commonplace objects are made slightly strange by being juxtaposed. This poem also speaks about the reverence for unremarkable, small things of daily life: It is a kind of love, is it not? How the cup holds the tea, How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare, How the floor receives the bottom of shoes Or toes. How soles of feet know Where they’re supposed to be. I’ve been thinking about the patience Of ordinary things, how clothes Wait respectfully in closets. And soap dries quietly in the dish, And towels drink the wet From the skin of the back. And the lovely repetition of stairs. And what is more generous than a window?

With the works of nine composers (6 from the USA, 2 from Canada, plus an Australian outsider for the sheer joy of his elating music!), our program illustrates a variety of styles (country music, religious hymnody, jazz harmonies, poetic songs), atmospheres (from peaceful meditation to jubilant prayer, from tender sound to exaltation), and colors (with the use of the piano), representing so many challenges (including singing in English!) which, we hope, will make you share a rich musical experience.

About the Vocal Ensemble

La Sarabande, a non professional vocal ensemble of twenty singers, is based in Orléans and was founded in 1983. Since then, the ensemble has performed numerous mostly a cappella concerts, with a particular focus on rarely heard choral music. In 2018, La Sarabande celebrated Leonard Bernstein’s 100th anniversary, singing his Chichester Psalms. The ensemble’s varied repertoire ranges from baroque to very contemporary music, including several premieres. Antoine Cazé has conducted La Sarabande for over 20 years; a composer himself, he teaches American literature at Paris Diderot University.

Direction : Antoine Cazé
Piano : Florence Hatab
Sopranos : Marie Alary, Bernadette Capelle, Astrid de Camproger, Catherine Guimard, Gwenaëlle Juhellé, Véronique Piller
Altos : Laurence Darricau, Sophie Fernagu, Sylvie Lefeuvre, Danièle Rossi, Hélène Zimmer, Sylvie Ziserman
Ténors : Christian Eypper, Alain Labadie, Henri Le Borgne, Richard Lepain
Basses : Bernard Bazaud, Bruno Beulin, Laurent Delsol, Michel Moulis

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