It's hard to imagine anyone but SLCC artistic director
The main event was a world premiere, "Iam ver egelidos (Now spring brings back unchilled warmth)," by Latvian composer
"Iam," with a text by Catullus, is a complex work. It starts and ends with whispers, like spurts of spring wind, and mixes rock rhythms with phrases that influenced by liturgy and other different sources. In places, it features a stratospheric tessitura for the first sopranos, and it challenges the choir throughout. Praulins has done a terrific job of accompanying the text in a knowing and sympathetic way; with luck, Barnes will give audiences a second hearing of it soon.
The program opened with three different settings of an elegiac couplet by Catullus (c. 84-54 B.C.), "Odi et amo," "I hate and I love. Why do I do this, perhaps you ask? I don't know, but I feel it happening, and I'm being crucified."
The first was by Praulins. The second, in complete contrast, was by the Renaissance composer
From there, the program moved to two settings of the erotic "Veni, delicte me (Come, my beloved)" from the Song of Songs, one of the most improbable bits of the Bible.
The first was the beautiful version by Palestrina (c. 1525-1594); the second was a sensual, seductive setting by
"In Honorem Vitae," a group of five poems by Horace set by Antonin Tucapsky (b. 1928), closed the first half.
An unusual (for the SLCC) number of issues afflicted the first half, from some problematic entrances to occasional uncertainty in the sopranos, but the overall quality was still high.
Things settled down in the second half, with two gorgeous settings by
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