Saturday, February 8, 2014

Boston Globe subscribers: Support us through the GRANT program!

Dear Oriana Friends and Supporters,

If you are a Boston Globe subscriber, you may have received a silver envelope announcing a new partnership between the Globe and Boston-area 501(c)(3) non-profit groups such as the Oriana Consort.  It’s called GRANT (Globe Readers And Non-profits Together).
The Oriana Consort in Leipzig, August 2013
The Oriana Consort in Leipzig, August 2013

These silver envelopes contain vouchers that Globe subscribers can fill out and return on behalf of a local non-profit organization.  The GRANT program will then award the organization free Globe advertising space: the more vouchers returned, the more advertising received.  For a small group like Oriana, this kind of advertising help is invaluable. If just 20 of you return your vouchers for us, our advertising budget will be tripled! This is at no cost to you or the organization.

We hope that you’ll consider using your voucher on Oriana’s behalf!  On the voucher, simply write “The Oriana Consort, P. O. Box 381608, Cambridge, MA 02238”, and return it to the Globe in the prepaid self-addressed envelope that is provided. 

If you’re a Globe subscriber and have not yet received a silver envelope, you probably soon will.  Or you can call the Globe at 617-929-3198 to request one.

Oriana has an exciting program to present in April!  It features Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Unicorn, the Gorgon and the Manticore, Italian and English madrigals, English part-songs, and the East Coast premiere of Abbie Betinis’ The Waking, a breathtaking new work by this talented young composer.  We hope to see you at one of our concerts ― on April 4, 6, or 11.  You’ll receive further details soon.

Thank you in advance for your support!

Monday, October 14, 2013

December 2013 concerts: Bach's Magnificat

J.S. Bach: Magnificat
and seasonal choral music of Guerrero, Obrecht, Whitacre, Chilcott, Betinis, Jeffers, and Gjeilo

Magnificat in D major, BWV 243
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Bach wrote an elaborate setting of the Magnificat - the Canticle of the Virgin - for Christmas of 1723 during his first year at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig; he revised it ten years later into the form most often heard today. The Oriana Consort, after a tour last August to sing music of Bach and others in Frankfurt and Leipzig, continues its devotion to this composer in presenting his Magnificat, with soloists from our membership and accompanied by a Baroque ensemble using the 1733 instrumentation.

5 pm, Sunday, Dec. 8
University Lutheran Church
66 Winthrop St., Cambridge MA

8 pm, Friday, Dec. 13
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
15 St. Paul St., Brookline, MA

3 pm, Sunday, Dec. 15
First Lutheran Church of Boston
299 Berkeley St., Boston, MA

Also on the program:

Francisco Guerrero (1528?-1599)
Alma redemptoris mater
A Marian antiphon for advent, an 11th-century chant, is the basis of a polyphonic setting by this master composer of the Spanish Renaissance. 

Jacob Obrecht (1457?-1505)
Salve regina
This Netherlander's setting of a Marian antiphon, written when polyphony was still an outgrowth of chant, is as much chant as it is polyphony.

Bob Chilcott (1955-)
O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
O Rex Gentium (O King of Nations)
O Emmanuel (O With Us is God)
The ancient Advent chants O Sapientia, O Rex gentium, and O Emmanuel echo pervasively amidst Chilcott's bold, arresting 21st-century harmonies.

Anonymous (15th c.)
There is no rose
Nowell! Dieu vous garde
These two early English carols are as captivating to modern ears as they were to those of the century from which this music comes.

Abbie Betinis (1980-)
In this Tyme of Chrystmas
Dormi, Jesu

A markedly inventive American composer has devised beautiful settings for choral voices and soloists of these Renaissance carol texts.

Ron Jeffers (1943-)
Hanukkah Blessings
The blessings with which Menorah candles are lit in December are beautifully set for choral voices by the American composer Ron Jeffers.

Ola Gjeilo (1978-)
The Holly and the Ivy
The First Nowell
This Norwegian composer wrote these fascinating new harmonizations of two familiar carols.

Eric Whitacre (1970-)
Lux aurumque
"Light and Gold": a deeply moving setting of a gentle Advent poem.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Choral Odyssey: April 2013 concerts

The Oriana Consort presents A Choral Odyssey: choral music of Germany and America: an eclectic mix of musical eras and styles... a cultural exchange for listeners on two continents!

Dates and Locations

Concerts are in Cambridge, Boston, and Concord Mass. in April, and in Frankfurt and Leipzig in July and August.

Purchase tickets online for any of these performances:

Sunday, April 14, 5:00 pm
Cambridge: University Lutheran Church, 66 Winthrop Street, two blocks from Harvard Square

Friday, April 19, 8:00 pm
Boston:  First Lutheran Church of Boston, 299 Berkeley Street, at the corner of Marlborough Street

Sunday, April 21, 5:00 pm
Concord: First Parish in Concord, 20 Lexington Road, near Concord Center


Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
So gehe hin und iß dein Brot mit Freuden from the oratorio Jauchze, jubilier’ und Singe
With the words of Ecclesiastes, "Go thy way, and eat thy bread with joy,” Telemann energetically concludes his oratorio.  The full chorus alternates with a solo quartet.

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
Preis sei Dir, O Gott (Te deum)
The resounding full chorus alternates with a stunning solo quartet in this setting of a fourth-century hymn.

Eric Whitacre (1970-)
Water Night
This setting of a poem by Octavio Paz draws the listener into an ethereal and transporting musical atmosphere.

Irving Fine (1914-1962)
Three choruses from The Hour Glass: O do not wanton with those eyes, Have you seen the while lily grow, The Hour-Glass 
This mid-century master of magnificent choral sound brings us his settings of enigmatic poems by Ben Jonson.

Samuel Barber (1910-1981)
Agnus Dei, transcription for choral voices of Adagio for Strings
In the 1930’s Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” was one of the first American works to attract significant attention abroad.  His choral version, from the 1960’s, has become an indelible icon of American musical culture.

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)
Choruses from The Lark
Bernstein’s choral music, written to accompany Jean Anouilh’s play on the trial of Joan of Arc, is irrepressible!

Paul Hindemith (1895-1963)
Gloria from Mass, 1963
In his very last composition, this master of twentieth-century counterpoint gives us a choral texture in which tonality and melodic line are heard with a constantly shifting kaleidoscopic effect.  A challenge to the listener!

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Fürchte dich nicht, ich bin bei dir, Motet BWV 228
The words of Isaiah are declaimed by a double chorus and a double quartet, and conclude with the simultaneous singing of a Lutheran chorale.  A musical gem from the master of sacred music in the Lutheran tradition!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Join us for December 2012 concerts

LIGHT has always meant much more to humankind than just physical radiant energy: it is an eternal metaphor for the advent of goodness; for the coming of a feeling that we’re a part of something greater than ourselves. Not surprisingly, the theme of LIGHT turns up often in choral music: frequently the word “light” is part of a choral text; or if light is not mentioned directly, the music often conveys the notion that something wonderful is being brought to us.  So it is with the choral music of our program “Festive Light”, which you’ll hear Oriana’s choir, soloists, and period instrumental ensemble perform on:

Sunday December 2 — 5:00 pm
University Lutheran Church — 66 Winthrop Street, Cambridge, MA (two blocks from Harvard Square)

Friday December 7 — 8:00 pm
First Lutheran Church of Boston — 299 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA (at the corner of Marlborough St.)

Sunday December 9 — 5:00 pm
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church — 15 St. Paul Street, Brookline, MA (near Brookline Village)

Buy tickets online!

Full program

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
O Jesu Christ mein Lebens Licht, BWV 118 (O Jesus Christ, the light of my life)
Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf, BWV 226 (The Spirit gives aid to our weakness)
Wer da gläubet und getauft wird, BWV 37 (The one who believes and is christened)

These three gems from the supreme master of sacred music in the German Lutheran tradition are all about the intimate connection of the individual with the divine.
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
Magnificat (Mary’s song of praise)
Herr, nun lässest du deinen Diener in Frieden fahren, op. 69 no. 1 (Lord, now let thy servant depart in peace)

The Canticle of Mary and the Song of Simeon, with its reference to “a light to lighten the nations”, were given these beautiful choral settings by this supremely gifted mid-Romantic composer.
Adam Jacob Simon
Ani Adonai (I, the Lord)

Oriana premieres a talented composer’s arresting and powerful choral setting of verses from the Book of Isaiah that foreshadow the Song of Simeon’s “light to lighten the nations.”
Thomas Tallis (1505-1585); Morten Lauridsen (1943-)
O nata lux de lumine (O light born of light)

Two composers separated in time by four and a half centuries have each set a prayer which is itself a millenium old.
Ola Gjeilo (1978-)
Northern Lights  

The Song of Solomon reminded the composer of the beauty of the Aurora Borealis.

Purchase tickets online!

Cambridge, Dec. 2:
Boston, Dec. 7:
Brookline, Dec. 9:

Join us on Facebook!

Cambridge, Dec. 2:
Boston, Dec. 7:
Brookline, Dec. 9:

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Auditions for the 2012/2013 season

We are actively recruiting singers, tenors in particular, for our exciting 2012/2013 season which will almost certainly include a summer 2013 trip to Germany.

The Oriana Consort is an accomplished chorale of 8 voices on a part, with an eclectic repertory from seven centuries, enthusiastic audiences, and a warm and attractive choral sound.
Our members are good-to-excellent readers with voices that are clear, well-produced, and center-of-the-pitch. For our 2012-2013 season we are seeking 4 tenors and 1 bass to fill out our ensemble.

We invite interested singers to schedule a half-hour audition between 6:30 and 8:30 pm on Thurs. Aug. 16, Thurs. Aug. 23, or Thurs. Sept. 6 or another mutually agreeable time to be determined via email. Please email Walter Chapin at , and include a summary of your choral singing experience. For the audition you’ll join a quartet of Oriana members to read excerpts from our repertory and to sing a difficult but brief choral part that you’ll prepare 2 days in advance. Please also bring a solo of your choice.

Sunday evening rehearsals begin on Sept. 9, 2012 in Cambridge for December performances of works by Thomas Tallis, Morten Lauridsen, Ola Gjeilo, Felix Mendelssohn, and J. S. Bach. Samples of our sound are posted on our Media page.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring 2012 concerts begin this weekend! March 25, March 31, April 22

The Oriana Consort presents Many Voices of Spring. Hear the 27 voices of the Oriana Consort, along with a period instrumental ensemble. Springtime brings Easter, Passover, and a renewal of the natural world. Enjoy springtime choral music from Christian, Judaic, and secular traditions!
  • All-Night Vigil, selections 1-6, 15 / Sergei Rachmaninoff
  • Five Flower Songs / Benjamin Britten
  • Four Passover Songs / Yehezkel Braun
  • Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt; Mein Sohn, warum hast du uns das getan?; Unser Herr Jesu Christ in der Nacht, da er verraten ward; Saul, Saul, was verfolgst du mich? / Heinrich Schütz
Sunday, March 25, 2012; 5 pm
University Lutheran Church
66 Winthrop Street, Cambridge

Saturday, March 31, 2012; 8 pm
First Lutheran Church of Boston
299 Berkeley Street, Boston

Sunday, April 22, 2012; 5 pm
First Parish in Concord
20 Lexington Road, Concord
tickets: $18
seniors and students: $14
discount available for advance purchases
call 617.547.1798 or email

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Auditions for 2012

We seek 4 tenors and 2 low basses to fill out our ensemble! Sunday evening rehearsals begin on Jan. 8, 2012 in Cambridge for March & April performances of works by Britten, Schütz, Braun, and Rachmaninoff (7 of the 15 movements of his “All-Night Vigil”). Samples of our sound are posted on our Media page.

We invite interested tenors and basses to schedule a half-hour audition on Thurs. Jan. 12 from 6:30 pm, Sat. Jan. 14 from 3:00 pm, Thurs. Jan. 19 from 6:30 pm, Sat. Jan. 21 from 3:00 pm, or another mutually agreeable time to be determined via email. Please email Walter Chapin at, and include a summary of your choral singing experience. For the audition you’ll join a quartet of Oriana members to read excerpts from our repertory and to sing a difficult but brief choral part that you’ll prepare 2 days in advance. Please also bring a solo of your choice.