Madrigals reunite for holiday sampler
December 16, 2006
Steamboat Springs — In past times, people typically would arrive at madrigals via sled, horseback or sleigh. But you can probably find a good parking spot at the Depot Art Center for the Mountain Madrigal Singers Holiday Sampler on Sunday.
The music and spirit of the performance is based on the historical event.
“It was a magical session where people would come to a log cabin in the deep of winter,” said Marie Carmichael, director of the Mountain Madrigal Singers. “When we started hosting these events, we had this beautiful dinner with the Boris head, carols and great warmth and cheer. It was a very festive time in the dark of winter to hear these wonderful songs.”
After a five-year hiatus, the Mountain Madrigal Singers are bringing back the traditional songs and modern adaptations.
This is the first show the singers are performing with Carmichael as director.
“The 16th century traditional madrigals contain lyrics of love, humor, satire, politics and pastoral scenes,” Carmichael said. “The music is demanding, and there’s some unusual sounds and difficult rhythms. It’s not your ordinary garden-variety community chorus of church choir music.”
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Madrigal singer Nancy Kramer especially likes singing this type of music because of the challenge.
“It’s challenging because it’s so complex,” she said. “I don’t read music in the true sense of the word, so a lot of it for me is hearing the part, singing the part and blending with the other parts. When the sound comes together, it’s just phenomenal.”
Typical madrigal performances had a lute and recorder-type of instrument accompany the singers’ voices. On Sunday, the Mountain Madrigal Singers will be accompanied by piano, played by Christel Houston.
“And we will sing a cappella, which is cool because that’s the part where we play off each other and start to get a really more full and complex sound,” Kramer said. “It’s almost like self accompaniment.”
The performance also will involve wonderful food and a champagne reception.
“And you will definitely be filled with Christmas spirit from the first to the last song,” Carmichael said.