from the Santa Barbara
NewsPress [October 20, 2005]
Chamber Orchestra's serious-minded
JOSEF WOODARD, NEWS-PRESS CORRESPONDENTOctober 20, 2005 2:00 AM
In launching a new season strongly devoted to Mozart, in his 250th birthday
year, the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra stepped away from the norm on
Performing Mozart's masterful "Requiem" with the Santa Barbara's
fine choral ensemble, Quire of Voyces, in the suitable environment of
the First Presbyterian Church rather than the Lobero Theatre, the Chamber
Orchestra's usual home, the musical evening ended up being a gala of profound
and serious -- but not sober -- proportions.
Of course, in the cavernous acoustics of this large chapel, the instrumental
and choral forces found themselves in a much more reverberant space than
the Lobero. That situation proved to be beneficial to the "Requiem,"
but detrimental to Mozart's Symphony No. 29, in the first half of the
Despite the apparent clarity of the Symphony No. 29 performance led by
maestro Heiichiro Ohyama, the room added a softening gloss to the orchestral
sound, which isn't necessarily what you want for those crisp classical
phrases, but it did manage to give a luster to the slow movement.
Nevertheless, Mr. Ohyama coaxed the orchestra into a fit and balanced
reading, illustrating the ensemble's known skills in Mozartean splendor.
Naturally, this sold-out crowd packed into the church mainly for the "Requiem,"
which has earned new heights of popularity in recent years following its
key role in the film "Amadeus."
Here is an extremely rare occasion when Hollywood fueled interest in classical
music for its own sake, rather than exploiting existing classical works
for filmic ends (as with "2001: A Space Odyssey" and Richard
Strauss or "Platoon" and others with Samuel Barber).
Popular or not, Mozart's "Requiem" remains one of the more powerful
and, arguably, the greatest "Requiem" in the repertoire, with
Verdi's coming in a close second.
When performed with the right emotional, technical and sonic means, as
it was Tuesday, the opus verges on the transfixing, despite its ragged
unfinished quality (incomplete when the composer died, the score was finished
by composer Franz Sussmayr).
A glorious, integrated ensemble sound between orchestra and chorus was
nicely achieved here, especially in the glowing power of the "Sanctus"
section and the "Agnus Dei." In "Confutatis," the
stern heft of male voices was answered by the ethereal air of female voices,
both elements conjoining in the "Lacrimosa," a pivot point in
the overall structure of the piece.
The vocal soloists for the "Requiem" -- soprano Elissa Johnston,
mezzo-soprano Christina Wilcox, bass Jinyoung Jang and tenor Michael Lichtenauer
-- added their own extra layer of allure to the performance. Ms. Johnston
and Mr. Lichtenauer, in particular, sang with an impressive purity of
tone and clarity of expressive intent, coming to the fore with a notable
presence on "Benedictus."
It shouldn't have come as a surprise that, in the end, Mozart's masterpiece
started the Chamber Orchestra's season in a grand and deep fashion.
The "Requiem" form, after all, besides being an acknowledgment
of the gravitas of death's role in life -- timed eerily, at the very end
of Mozart's own short-lived chronology -- is also a rich affirmation of
And what better way to celebrate life than with great music played accordingly?
from the Santa Barbara NewsPress
[December 16, 2005]
The sound of the sacred - Tom Jacobs
The Santa Barbara Quire of Voyces has two distinct groups of fans. There
are the sophisticated listeners who enjoy the ensemble's unique mix of
Renaissance and contemporary classical music. And then there are the video
Nathan Kreitzer can explain. Several years back, the chamber choir performed
and recorded an a cappella vocal arrangement of Samuel Barber's "Adagio
for Strings." The composer adapted his best-known work into a setting
of the "Agnus Dei" section of the Catholic Mass.
The CD somehow reached the creative staff of a video game company, which
contacted Kreitzer, the choir's founder and director. He agreed to rerecord
it to their specifications.
"It's now heard in the video game 'Home World,' which is a space
adventure," he said. "The game starts up, and you hear the opening
Kreitzer's reaction to this is, basically, bemusement. He was happy to
make some money on the project, and happier still by the calls he started
getting from gamers trying to find the group's other recordings.
But the experience did not change the 25-voice choir's essential mission:
to give world-class performances of engaging, enjoyable music that audiences
are unlikely to hear elsewhere.
That effort continues this weekend, when the group performs its annual
"Mysteries of Christmas" concert 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m.
Sunday in the chapel of St. Anthony's Seminary.
"I try to choose music that is interesting and challenging and fun,"
Kreitzer said in a recent interview. "I think that's why people stay,
and why we get a steady audience."
The a cappella choir performs both Renaissance and contemporary music,
often on the same program. It exclusively sings sacred music, although
Kreitzer's definition of that term is fairly loose. "We've done stuff
by Los Angeles composer Eric Whitacre that is spiritual in a very general
sense," he noted.
The son of a church organist, Kreitzer, 38, was born in Iowa but raised
in the small California town of Porterville.
"I grew up singing," he recalled. "For fun, my family would
get together around the piano and sing out of the Reader's Digest songbook.
At Thanksgiving, we would sing chorales."
He enrolled at Fresno State as a computer engineering major, but gradually
realized he was having a lot more fun singing in college choirs than he
was learning calculus. His junior year, he switched his emphasis, ultimately
earning a degree in vocal performance.
Looking for "a way to be surrounded by choral music," he enrolled
at UC Irvine, where he earned a master's degree in choral conducting.
Soon thereafter, in 1993, he moved to Santa Barbara with a former wife
who was pursuing a doctorate at UCSB.
"I looked around for work for about six months," he recalled.
"There was nothing. I decided I had to do something, or I would wither
away. So I thought, 'OK, I'll start my own choir.'
"I put an ad in the paper and put up fliers. I made it sound impossible
to get in -- and all these people showed up! I got some really incredible
talent. Three members of that original group are still in the choir today."
The first Quire of Voyces concert was in the Presidio Chapel in 1994.
"I paid for everything myself," Kreitzer said. "I think
it cost me $1,000. That was my rent money! We were in the black by our
second concert, and we have never gone under budget since. We started
getting bigger audiences, and a steady stream of devout donors."
Kreitzer joined the Santa Barbara City College music faculty part-time
in 1994. In 1996, when he got a full-time position, he took the choir
"We get no funding from the college -- we have to raise all our own
funds -- but they help us out in a lot of different ways," he said.
"We get a rehearsal space, an accompanist and administrative support."
Part of Kreitzer's salary as a teacher is used to pay him to conduct the
group. "There's a nice symbiotic relationship."
The choir began a new relationship this fall, when it performed the Mozart
Requiem with the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra in the First Presbyterian
"That looks like it will be an ongoing relationship," he said.
"I would like that. We've been wanting to collaborate with an instrumental
group. We're talking about doing the Bach B-minor Mass, which would be
a huge ordeal. The last time it was done here was in the 1970s!"
The choir's own concerts take place in the chapel of St. Anthony's Seminary,
which Kreitzer calls "the best place to sing within 100 miles of
here. It's all hard surfaces -- stone and wood. It's built like a small
Gothic cathedral. It fits the music we do to a T.
"You'll freeze in there," he warned, "but people bring
blankets and pillows for the Christmas concerts. They have radiant heating
in the floor, which they always tell me is on, but it never seems to matter
The main work on this weekend's program is the "Missa Brevis,"
by contemporary British composer Richard Rodney Bennett. A brand-new piece
(written in 2004), it is "very British, with a French influence in
some of the chords," Kreitzer reported. "It's beautiful music."
Kreitzer will follow that up on March 18 and 19 with an intriguing program
he calls "The Eclectic Mass."
"(Veteran choral conductor) Dale Warland has done this for many years,"
Kreitzer noted. "He takes movements from different masses and pieces
them together. He creates a work out of movements by six different composers."
So which composers will be represented in Kreitzer's postmodern mass?
"I'm still trying to decide," he said. "We'll probably
hear movements from (Renaissance masters) William Byrd and Josquin Dupres.
It'll be mostly 20th-century, including the Sanctus from Frank Martin's
Mass for Double Chorus."
It will most likely conclude with Samuel Barber's "Agnus Dei"
-- albeit without the flashing lights and high-tech graphics of a video
Chances are they will not be missed.
If Kreitzer and his singers are doing their jobs, the audience should
be transported to a different place by the sound alone.
"Music is my communion (with the spiritual), more so than religion,"
the conductor said. "It's a way to reach a higher level of being
-- a way to tap into a better part of ourselves." I try to choose
music that is interesting and challenging and fun. I think that's why
people stay, and why we get a steady audience.
The Santa Barbara Quire of Voyces will perform
its Christmas concert this weekend at St. Anthony's Seminary.
from the Santa Barbara Independent
- Laments and Supplications
- A bright, clear, and blustery day. Quire of
Voyces does not achieve its greatest effects by the massing of singers-
there aren't enough of them for that- but by a laser-like focus and
attention to detail; by weaving a delicate, transparent web of music
through the screen of consciousness. This is spirituality for the connoisseur,
where the various settings of the sacred texts can be savored like fine
vintages. ("Fetch me up another bottle of Tallis '85.") Sometimes,
this subtle, voluptuous tapestry of sound seemed to emanate directly
from Saint Anthony's fantastic altar screen. The core of the program
consisted of three settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah by Roland
di Lassus. Neither as intricately beautiful as the Misereres of Robert
White and Gregorio Allegri, nor as inspiring and transcendent as Thomas
Tallis's Candidi facti sunt ("the music goes up forever,"
I wrote on my program during the Tallis), the Lassus settings were the
ground, the rich velvet backdrop, for the other pieces. Each setting
used different passages from Lamentations- no doubt pertinent to the
occasions for which they were originally composed- and concluded with
the same verse from Hosea: "O Israel, return unto the Lord thy
God, for thou hast fallen by thy iniquity." [14:1] Lassus, one
of the supreme musical geniuses of all time, made a dark mirror of these
somber texts- it was impossible not to see ourselves and our current
situation reflected there. Similarly, it was hard to keep from adding
one's own inner voice to the plea of the Miserere- a setting of Psalm
51 (not 50, as mistakenly identified in the program notes): "Have
mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness; according to
the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions."
Edwin London's amazing Come, Sweet Death, with which the Quire soared
to a close, is a brilliant contemporary restructuring of the Bach chorale
of the same name, "de-composed" into a peacefully atonal Pendereckian
from the GOLETA VALLEY VOICE
[DECEMBER 13, 2002]
Saint Anthony's echoes
with crystalline Voyces of Christmas
The vocal purity of the Quire
of Voyces flooded St. Anthony's Seminary Chapel Sunday afternoon,
the third day of the group's exquisite Christmas concerts of English
music. The men of the Quire entered the Chapel by the side aisle,
singing the "Noel" by Steven Sametz, a four-part canon based on a
medieval Christmas carol text. Under the sensitive guidance of artistic
director Nathan J. Kreitzer, the women then joined the men and began
the first half of the diverse program. Outstanding short pieces included
"Laudate Dominum" and "O nata lux" by sixteenth-century composer Thomas
Tallis, who served the Tudor court through four monarchs and the backing
and forthing of as many Reformation and Counter-Reformation movements.
The text is in Latin, but, as the program noted, "This does not automatically
mean Tallis was targeting a Catholic audience: Queen Elizabeth favored
Latin for her Chapel Royal." "The Rose, A Christmas Song," by John
Paynter, was composed in 1969, but its text echoes early music with
reference to Mary: "The rose of floweres she is the flower ..." The
music was austere at the beginning, then bloomed with warmth as the
piece soared to its culmination. The first half closed with a setting
for the antiphon for Maundy Thursday, "Ubi caritas," by Imant Raminsh,
a Latvian-born Canadian composer. This work used chants, modal harmonies
and changes of meter to describe the Christian ceremony of foot washing.
After an intermission, the Quire returned to perform Ralph Vaughan
Williams' Mass in G minor, featuring soloists Elizabeth Kinsch,
soprano, Kristin Aylesworth, alto, Temmo Korisheli, tenor, and Mark
Andrew Steketee, bass. This unaccompanied work for double choir was
premiered in 1922 at Westminster Cathedral, and is a shining example
of how Vaughan Williams imbued his compositions with his own English
identity. After his studies at Trinity College, Cambridge, and the
Royal College of Music, the composer turned away from the dominant
German models and began to move towards his own unique synthesis of
British folk idioms and 16th century polyphonic masters like William
Byrd and Thomas Tallis. The gorgeous Mass in G minor is an early product
of this synthesis, which became his trademark sound. The afternoon
came to a close with two versions of "Silent Night": the original
by the Austrian Franz Xavier Gruber, followed with the popular modern
arrangement created by British conductor Sir Malcolm Sargent in 1948.
The full-house audience stood to applaud the singers as they filed
out via the main aisle, into the last rays of the afternoon sun.
from the SANTA BARBARA NEWS-PRESS
- A fitting finale for Quire of Voyces
- The Quire of Voyces presented its final regular`
season performances last weekend, but it was far more than just a fitting
conclusion to a seventh season. The performances also marked a sort
of dress rehearsal for its summer tour of northern Europe, highlighted
by their opening of the Medieval Festival of Gotland, Sweden in August
The major work of the first half of their concert Sunday afternoon in
the chapel of St. Anthony's Seminary is a staple of the repertoire the
ensemble specializes in: "Missa Pange Lingua" of Josquin des Prez. Written
in the early 1500s and a crowning achievement of the High Renaissance
style, the work was also featured on the Quire's first CD in 1997. Nathan
Kreitzer's leading of the masterpiece was a potent reminder that live
performances still prove more moving than even the best recordings -
and that the current 25-member incarnation of the group he founded may
be the finest. While the sopranos are free of even a hint of shrillness
- as they must be in this literature - it is the richness of the altos
that gives a special quality to the sound of the women. As for the men,
it is simply a matter of personal taste whether one prefers a clear,
ringing yet blended sound on top or a bass section that filled the chapel
with a warm and velvety cushion of sound for a foundation. The short
follow-up was a pristine reading of Josquin des Prez's motet setting
of "Ave Maria." Kreitzer prefaced the second half offering of Herbert
Howell's "Mass in the Dorian Mode" with a comment that this was the
work for people "who wondered whether there really is a link between
music of the Renaissance and the 20th century. The "Kyrie" section alone
convinced the packed house that there was virtually nothing 64 modem"
about the piece at all. But it was easy to hear why Kreitzer (who programs
such works regularly) was so attracted to the piece: Howell's used the
vocal polyphony and ancient church mode as a point of departure and
created music which is not a pale imitation or even a cleverly crafted
homage. Howell's "Mass" also featured a solo quartet from within the
group, heard at once in the central portion of the "Kyrie," and to great
effect in the "Credo." It is not a simple thing for voices so carefully
trained to blend seamlessly to sing out even in a small group of four
which demands a fine balance between a glimpse of solo quality without
completely sacrificing a blended quality. Soprano Liz Kinsch, alto Kathy
Kamath, tenor Steve Swearer and bass Ken Ryals did an impressive job
throughout. Howell also provided a couple of major climactic moments
that cross the boundaries of Renaissance expression, and in the closing"Amens"
of the "Gloria" and the "Credo," the Quire was heard to truly full effect
Only in the "Resurrexit" section of the "Credo" did the textures ever
turn muddy; everywhere else Kreitzer's group was the model of transparency.
Sweden and its neighbors are in for a treat this summer.
- GREG HETTMANSBERGER
From the Santa Barbara Independent
[May 25, 2000]
- From the Terrace
- The Quire of Voyces
- Directed by Nathan Kreitzer
- at Saint Anthony's Seminary Chapel,Saturday,
- When I remember this evening the whole experience
is suffused with the Sublime sound of the Quire of Voyces singing Des
Prez, yet I was in a different world from the moment I turned off Garden
Street into the drive up to Saint Anthony's. The warm air, soft and
tranquil and still full of late-afternoon radiance, seemed to constitute
a separate atmosphere, generated discreetly from somewhere within the
seminary grounds. The verdant ravine, with its graveled terraces, beckoned
me for a stroll. I descended one level, then another, paused in front
of a statue of the Virgin, leaned on the rail, and listened to the sound
of water rising from the depths of the ravine up though the leaves and
branches-"caught," as Dylan said, "by no track of hours, for they hanged
suspended... " Sure enough, as I walked up the beautiful cloister alongside
the chapel, I heard the first, ethereal strains of Des Prez's Missa
Pange Lingua, and decided to listen to it right where I was. Perhaps
that was what I secretly wanted: to hear this perfect music alone, from
another room, or an empty colonnade that looked across a small, exquisite
garden at the seminary proper, with the late afternoon shading gently
into evening. Once inside the impressive chapel, for Des Prez's Ave
Maria ... virgo serena, I thought that I might hear more imperfections
in the Quire's performance- under the assumption that the thick stone
walls of the chapel had served as a filter. But the Ave Maria was as
flawless and luminous as the mass. During the break, I watched everyone
wander around slightly dazed, bewitched like me by the dispensation
of this experience. Herbert Howells's serenely beautiful Mass in the
Dorian Mode which comprised the second half of the program, sounded
virtually contemporaneous with the Des Prez, though some 438 years separated
the two compositions. It was the right work to sing at that time, in
that it seamlessly maintained the enchantment and kept the whole magical
evening in one piece. An extraordinary group, an extraordinary concert.
Nathan Kreitzer and Quire of Voyces are the answer to a prayer I had
not thought to pray.
from The Santa Barbara Independent
[March 26, 1999]
- Conscious Counterfeits
- Quire of Voyces Directed by Nathan Kreitzer
- presented by the Santa Barbara City College
- March 20 and 21 at St. Anthony's Seminary
- Under the direction of its founder, Nathan J.
Kreitzer, the Quire of Voyces gave a rare performance last weekend of
Rachmaninoffıs 1915 All-Night Vigil, Op. 37, in the welcoming acoustics
of the chapel at St. Anthony's Seminary. It was a satisfying, uplifting
concert as the 22 singers negotiated this fascinating score. It sounded
nothing like the lush, romantic Rachmaninoff we know and love. Here
he was writing for the Russian Orthodox Church, within the constraints
of a tradition little known in the West. The 15 settings in this liturgy
are comparatively austere and formal; their harmonic language is modal,
drawn from centuries-old chants, their musical content based directly
on traditional melodies or employing what Rachmaninoff called "conscious
counterfeits" of them. It is easier to say what this music is not than
what it actually is. It is neither melodic with accompaniment nor contrapuntal.
It is not dramatic in the sense of using tension and release to structure
the experience. It does not have a four-square beat, does not neatly
resolve its harmonies. In a way it is all the same, foreign (sung in
Russian), contained within its hermetic world. Yet Kreitzer's flexible,
energetic direction and responsive singers gave the music shifting balances
and dynamic variety that made each of the sections interesting and engaging,
even if not comprehensible. Generally, the voices blended so that individual
lines were not distinctly heard. No. 3 ("Blessed is the man") began
with weird harmonies, then used the middle voices for the verses, the
ensemble for the repeating Alleluia; the ending was exquisite as the
sound grew more and more gentle. No. 4 ("Gladsome light") had a single
sinuous line floating up and down, unresolved. No. 5 ("Mine eyes have
seen thy salvation") piled up simple phrases to a rocking rhythm. Sometimes
there was a burst of power, sometimes an unearthly purity. In the second
half the music seemed more complex, the structures more ambitious. No.
9 ("Blessed art thou, 0 Lord") was especially intricate, tying diverse
elements together with drones and building up great rhythmic energy.
No. 10 ("Having beheld the resurrection of Christ") contrasted a smooth
vocal texture with forceful dramatic episodes. No. 11 ("My soul magnifies
the Lord") alternated low grumbling with high danc-ing sections, then
mixed them together into a big, powerful sound. No. 12 ("Glory to God
in the highest") built to ecstasy. All praise to Kreitzer and the Quire
of Voyces for their adventurous programming and meticulous preparation.
from The Santa Barbara Independent
[December 24, 1998]
- Music of Spheres
- Quire of Voyces Directed by Nathan Kreitzer
- presented by the Santa Barbara City College
- December 19 and 20 at St. Anthony's Seminary
- The Santa Barbara Quire of Voyces' exquisite
program of mostly English, mostly unfamiliar Christmas choral music
at St. Anthony's Seminary erased sea-sonal distractions and transported
one to a place where harmony is meaning and time stops. The performances
in the chapel's flattering acoustics were balanced and alert, the perfect
intervals ringing like the music of the spheres, and the programming
was thoughtful and imaginative. Like the Cappella Cordina last month,
the Quire of Voyces showcased the modern premiere of a rediscovered
mass. The Missa "Mater Christi" of John Taverner, not heard for centuries,
featured a tenor part beautifully reconstructed by musicologist David
Skinner at Oxford, where it was written between 1525 and 1530. This
is thus very early Renaissance music, but it is by no means dry, reaching
upward until it is ecstatically floating, highly expressive in its canonic
energy. Nathan Kreitzer, founder and artistic director of the Quire
of Voyces, spread the five parts of the mass through the program, framing
them with a variety of shorter pieces from both the Renaissance and
the 20th century. The contrast was not as great as you would think;
although the moderns go in for lusher harmonies, all of the composers
express a sense of illumination, a yearning toward transformation, an
imminence of blessing. Benjamin Britten's luminous "A Boy Was Born"
and Franz Bieblıs expansive "Ave Maria" followed persuasively out of
Taverner's fervent "Credo." On the second half, "The Lamb" by another
John Taverner, born in 1944, and William Walton's rollicking "What Cheer?"
fit naturally between a "Sanctus" and "Benedictus" written almost 500
years before. There was a gorgeous Russian Orthodox prayer setting by
Sergei Rachmaninoff and Malcolm Sargent's 1948 arrangement of "Silent
Night" sent us home with a fresh sense of the relative timelessness
of Christmas. The Quire of Voyces is amazingly good at bringing all
this music alive. Kreitzer conducts the 11 women and eight men with
a forward moving, spacious sense of rhythm, and he has trained them
to produce a remarkably flexible balance among the four or more parts,
blending or singing out as the moment demands, stylish and precise in
attack and finish. This was the first of three programs by the Quire
of Voyces in the 1998-99 season; their concerts of Russian liturgical
music in, March and English cathedral music in May are not to be missed.
from The Santa Barbara Independent
[May 29, 1998]
Local CDs from Quire of Voyces"The
"The Quire of Voyces, Nathan Kreitzer, director.
Apparently, three seasons is not long enough to have
discovered every local treasure, for the evidence on this disc is that the
5-year old Santa Barbara Quire of Voyces is a major choral force waiting
to happen. The group has been featured on the nationally syndicated radio
program "The First Art" and this CD -- even without major distribution
-- should help spread the word.
Thoughtfully conceived and brilliantly and understandably
linked by Temmo Korishelli's uncommonly incisive program notes, this set
of masses by Josquin des Prez, William Byrd and Tomas Luis de Victoria is
a miniature 150-year tour of the Catholic mass in the Renaissance period.
Lovingly recorded at St.Anthony's Seminary Chapel in three sessions spanning
March 1996 to March '97, the disc preserves the 24-voice ensemble's readings
with a freshness rarely captured even by the "major" recording
studios and choirs.
A can't-miss label should be on the cover for those
already enamored of this repertoire -- and another that reads "you've
got to hear this" should be next to it, for those who have yet to really
give this kind of music a chance. You don't ever have to had set foot in
a church to testify that something divine has occurred in this creative
process -- and not just from the composers who first conceived the music.
If you can't find the disc easily, call 965-0581
ext. 2230, at Santa Barbara City College, the Quire's sponsoring institution.
The Santa Barbara Quire of Voyces, directed by Nathan
Kreitzer, will perform at 7pm Saturday, and 3pm Sunday at St. Anthony's
Seminary Chapel, 2300 Garden St. Tickets may be purchased by calling the
Garvin Theatre Box Office at 965-5935. They will also be available at the
from The Santa Barbara Independent
[December 14, 1995]
Nathan Kreitzer has established his Quire of Voyces as the most elegant
choral ensemble sound in the Santa Barbara area. Last Sunday's concert had
the audience around me literally holding their breath, then sighing with
satisfaction at the end of each selection of the attractive Christmas program.
The artistic director has chosen to develop his choral sound with pristine
acoustics like those of St. Anthonyıs Chapel, where every sound is magnified
beyond any sound studioıs capacity. The same acoustic properties that complemented
on Sunday also hindered the understanding of text. But, for the audience,
the Chapel's mushiness was a justifiable trade-off for the exquisite organ-like
timbre of the 15-voice ensemble in the hall. Kreitzer has shown an affinity
for Russian and 20th-century literature in previous concerts. Sunday's outing
didn't contradict that history but went considerably further in extending
the effective scope of his group's professionalism. Not only did Grechaninov's
"Song of Simeon," the two 20th century settings of "The Lamb," and Herbert
Howell's "A Spotless Rose" prove to be musically satisfying. The conductor
also included smaller ensembles pulled from the group. Hildegard von Bingen's
12th-century "De Virginibus" was sung from the chapel's Transept by Kimberly
Labor, Elizabeth Kinsch, Melanie Jacobsen, and Theresa Roys. It proved as
beautiful as the men's singing of an anonymous 15th-century medieval carol,
"Nowell, Nowell, Out of Your Sleep" was lusty.
from The Santa Barbara Independent
[December 11, 1994]
The Quire of Voyces is the newest choral ensemble in town, but their founder
and conductor, Nathan Kreitzer, has already established high musical standards
for the 12-voice ensemble. Beauty and refinement were in evidence throughout
"In Dulci Jubilo", their Christmas concert of a cappella music last Sunday
at St. Anthony's Seminary. Kreitzer programmed challenging literature from
six centuries, including medieval chants, Renaissance and contemporary motets,
some of the best 20th Century arrangements of early carols, and some rarely
heard Russian litrugy by Rachmaninoff. He edned the evening with a stunning
reading of Gruber's "Silent Night" and offere one encore, Randall Thompsons'
famous "Alleluia." The choir sang in clearly articulated latin, German,
French, Spanish, English, and Russian. The young conductor has a singular
vision of choral style and sound, and he has gathered a group of intelligent,
attractive singers who are willing to use their voices to create evocative
sound pictures to achieve it. Who could argue with Kreitzer's choice of
the St. Anthony's chapel as a concert venue? It enhanced the ensemble's
already distinctive sound, and it provided us with an elegant visual environment,
with the stone relief behind the altar and the red, gold and green cloth
swagging that framed the apse for the holidays. The most important thing,
though, was the singing. It was beautiful, varied, and full of color. Kreitzer
paid close attention to choral ensemble and achieved wonderful results all
evening, particularly in the second half, where musicological matters of
exotic tunings and rhythmic prolation were not central to authenticity.
The three pieces from Rachmaninoff's "Vespers" were exquisitely performed
and could become signature pieces for this group. Sunday's concert became
doubly interesting because the conductor cast the individual singers for
their vocal personalities. As each began to emerge, we heard more than just
a superbly controlled ensemble. Kimberly Labor's emulation of a boy soprano
was diverting. Steve Reading's alto falsetto work created afffective sonorities
in the treble. Ted Rau's basso filled out the bottom of the ensemble in
truly Russian character. Alfredo Paredes' solo in "Riu, riu, chiu" had a
Mediterranean lilt to it, rather than a picaresque quality. Elizabeth Kinsch's
voice had a distinctive color. And Coke Morgan's solo in Rachmaninoff's
"Nyne Otpushchayeshi" was an expressive highlight.