Nancy Galbraith’s Four Nature Canticles

"Co-Artistic Director Adam Waite leads the Lyrica Chamber Orchestra." Courtesy: Lyrica Chamber Orchestra

Can We Sing that Again?

What do you get when you support new music and foster young musicians? Nancy Galbraith’s Four Nature Canticles. Commissioned in celebration of the Lyrica Chamber Orchestra’s 25th anniversary (NJ), the four-movement, 20-minute work is scored for treble choir and chamber orchestra, and features texts by Robert Browning, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost and James Joyce. Conductor and Co-Artistic Director Andrew Wait leads Lyrica in the April 22nd world premiere, joined by the Kent Place Chamber Singers.

“There are two essential elements of Lyrica Chamber Music’s mission,” Wait reflects, “1) dedication to promoting new music, and 2) fostering and supporting young classical musicians. So when it came time to decide how to celebrate [our] 25th anniversary, we immediately thought of the talented Kent Place Chamber Singers, and commissioning a work by Nancy Galbraith. Lyrica was introduced to Galbraith’s music nearly three years ago, [when] flutist Tia Roper performed the Atacama Sonata…the audience was immediately drawn to the work’s dynamic, rhythmic underpinning, supplemented by a deep and evocative tonal vocabulary, for which her music is so well respected.”

Photo: Alex Cena, courtesy: Kent Place Chamber Singers

Wait continues, “I, myself, have also had a great deal of admiration for Galbraith’s work, ever since my studies with her at Carnegie Mellon…I was fortunate enough to attend the world premiere of her Missa Mysteriorum by the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. Not only does her rich and complex tonal style flourish when sung by chorus, but her use of the chorus as an instrument is tremendously appealing as well. Her recognition that the choir can be an important part of rhythmic and textural elements of the piece creates a rewarding experience for listener and performer alike.

“So, it’s with all these factors in mind that Lyrica Chamber Music commissioned Galbraith…[Her] Four Nature Canticles – I am thrilled to say – very much lives up to the standards that she set in her previous concert choral compositions. The Kent Place Chamber Singers — having never sung a piece quite in Galbraith’s style — have become nearly addicted to rehearsing and learning the composition. Their director Edel Thomas [who also studied with Galbraith] tells of first run-throughs where her students were caught off-guard by some of the rhythmic and textural elements of the piece. Now, at rehearsal, a student will invariably ask ‘can we sing that again?’” Prior the premiere, Galbraith will visit the Kent Place Chamber Singers for a master class and informal composer chat on April 20th.

More news: In March, the Westmoreland Choral Society presented the world premiere of Galbraith’s Hodie Christus Natus Est, which was written during her composer-residency with the ensemble last year.

Find out more about the Lyrica Chamber Orchestra concert

Find out more about Nancy Galbraith

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