The King’s Singers have had the great pleasure to perform many pieces by leading female composers over the year’s, which still feature in their programming today. As the group prepare for our Asia tour in May 2016, the KS look forward to performing Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin River’s Lament – 4 stunning pieces setting an evocative poem by Charles Anthony Silvestri which laments the drying up of a once flowing river – which they intersperse within their Postcards programme. This set of pieces were specially commissioned by the KS, with its world première at the City of London Festival in July 2011.
One truly magical experience for The King’s Singers was working with the American composer Gabriela Lena Frank on Tres Mitos de mi Tierra. Premièred by the group, Gabriela says of this piece: The lyrics and music of Tres Mitos de mi Tierra (Three Myths of my Land), while completely original, draw direct inspiration from the mountain cultures of Perú, Bolivia, and Ecuador. Frequently referred to as “singing mountaineers,” the people of the Andes enjoy a contemporary artistic expression that still carries the overtones of their Inca and pre-Inca past. The rhythms of Tres mitos suggest traditional dance, while melodies and harmonies evoke tunings of panpipes and guitar-like instruments. Vocal techniques such as glissandi and brief inhaled passages reference typical singing practices, and the lyrics follow a strophic declamatory style commonly encountered in Andean poetry. As “myths,” each of these three songs is longer than a traditional folk song. One could consequently imagine these as either concert works or as the backdrop to a mini-ballet setting the scene to the texts. The songs are also designed to work together as a set or as stand-alones.
Read more about women in music on this International Women’s Day.
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