From the sacred to the secular, the festive season is a joyful dance to be celebrated in song and dance. 

The Cantala Womens Choir with conductor Nancy Singla presents a choral program of Salvator Mundi with selected carols and choral theatre at 7pm on Saturday December 3rd , 2016 at St. Martin’s in the Fields, Toronto. 

Salvator Mundi by Walter Mathias. Salvator mundi is a sequence of seven carols for piano duet by Walter Mathias (1934-1992). Bridging the secular and sacred aspects of this season, the 7 poems delight in using the carol form as dance and celebration in addition to telling the mystery of the Nativity.

Noel des Enfants by Claude Debussy. Noel des Enfants (Christmas carol of the homeless children) is originally a piece for voice and piano. Written in 1915, this was Claude Debussy’s (1862-1918) last song. Succumbing to cancer at the time, his words reflect on the French people’s resentment of post world war 1. It is a political, powerful piece that speaks to the frightening truth of today’s reality of war.

Salve Regina by Milos Kocsar. Salve Regina means “Hail Holy Queen” and is the final prayer in the Rosary. The text was composed anonymously during the medieval ages. Hungarian composer Milos Kocsar is a prolific choral composer. His music feels both traditional and eloquently dissonant at once, just enough to intensify his harmonic language.   

The New Year Carol by Benjamin Britten. The New Year Carol-from Britten’s choral work Friday Afternoons, is also known as “Levy-dew”. It is a British folk song of Welsh origin. Traditionally sung at New Year celebrations, it is associated with the New Year custom of sprinkling people with well water.

The Holly and the Ivy, Traditional. The Holly and the Ivy is a traditional British folk Christmas Carol. In ancient mythology the Holly is associated with male fertility and the female the ivy. Holly and ivy are popular Christmas decorations ever since the 15 and 16thc when they were sacred to the druids, and thought by the Romans to be the “plant of Saturn”.

CHORAL THEATRE PIECE. O Vivens Fons by Hildegard von Bingen. O Vivens fons is text by Hildegard von Bingen from her liturgical drama Ordo Virtutum, c.1151. It is a play that describes her famous visions. O vivens fons, or “O Living Fountain” is found near the end of the play and describes the delights of choosing right from wrong. Cantala will perform this piece in a choreographed dance surrounding the audience.

A Merry Christmas, Traditional. A Merry Christmas is a traditional English Christmas carol. The earliest history of this carol is uncertain, however the greeting “a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” comes from the English 18C custom to perform outside of your neighbors home on Christmas Eve and ask for food, including “figgy pudding”.

Deck the Halls, Traditional. Deck the Halls is a traditional Welsh carol. The melody comes from a 18C Welsh tune called “Nos Galan” (meaning “New Year’s Eve”) while the lyrics we are familiar with are by 19C poet Thomas Oliphant.

Come join the celebration of sacred and secular choral music this season with Cantala. We will be thrilled to share our joy of performance with you.