Performances pay tribute to Remembrance Day

University of Victoria hosts two musical performances Friday

The University of Victoria Chamber Singers perform Howard Goodall’s Eternal Light: A Requiem

The University of Victoria Chamber Singers perform Howard Goodall’s Eternal Light: A Requiem

Remembrance Day comes early to the University of Victoria, as the campus hosts two musical performances Friday honouring the sacrifices made in past conflicts.

UVic’s Chamber Singers honour Remembrance Day by performing Howard Goodall’s Eternal Light: A Requiem Nov. 6 at 12:30 p.m.

Directed by Garry Froese, the music tribute features student soloists, guest harpist Josh Layne and accompanist Thomas Nicholson.

Goodall’s compositional activities cross the boundaries of choral music and musical theatre, plus film and TV scores. The Emmy, Gramophone and BAFTA award-winning composer has also served as England’s first National Ambassador for Singing, a key position in music education.

Eternal Light, intended to be of relevance for the bereaved, premiered in 2008, the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War, and  Goodall received the Classical BRIT Award for Composer of the Year for this composition.

With expressive melodies and careful choices of alternative texts making Eternal Light accessible for any listener, Goodall juxtaposes traditional Requiem liturgical texts with thought-provoking English poetry authored by the likes of Francis Quareles and his “Close Now Thine Eyes,” “In Flanders Fields” by Canadian poet John McCrae, “Lead, Kindly Light” by lyricist John Henry Newman, and “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep,” attributed to Mary Elizabeth Frye.

The performance is in UVic’s Phillip T. Young Recital Hall and admission is by donation.

Also Friday, the Victoria Philharmonic Choir and conductor Peter Butterfield, joined by the Naden Band, recognize the effect of war on civilians in its presentation of Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace.

Beginning at 8 p.m. in UVic’s Farquhar Auditorium, the performance opens the choir’s new season and promises “a powerful reflection on the ongoing tragedy of human conflict, the sacredness of life, and the hope for peace between groups who find themselves at war.”

The Mass, which premiered in 2000, was dedicated to victims of the Kosovo crisis and is now one of the most often performed choral works in the world.

Beginning and ending with the theme from a 15th century folk song, L’Homme Armé, it incorporates texts from different spiritual traditions – the Bible, a Muslim call to prayer, and the ancient Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata – as well as poetry by Kipling and Tennyson.

The concert also features the 80-voice choir in Philip Moore’s setting of Three Prayers of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor and theologian who spoke out early and strongly against the Nazis. He was sent to a concentration camp and was executed two weeks before the camp was liberated by Allied Forces.

The Naden Band, celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, will also perform a selection of music on its own, under the direction of Lt. (N) Matthew Clark. Pieces include an arrangement of John Williams’ Summon the Heroes and Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night, by Elliot Del Borgo.

Tickets are $28 or $14 student (free for youth 15 and younger), and are available from UVic Ticket Centre, at tickets.uvic.ca or by phoning 250-721-8480.