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Directed by Eric Banks
NOTTURNA, the title of The Esoterics' seventh CD recording, is the feminine form of the of Italian noun notturno, which refers to a musical composition that is inspired by the night, the "nocturne." A word employed by such diverse composers as Mozart, Chopin, Shostakovich, and Fine, nocturne first applied to 18th-century ensemble pieces in several movements; in the Romantic era, the nocturne evolved to its more familiar form, a single-movement work for piano. Olli Kortekangas' Three romances were performed by The Esoterics at the Harald Andersen International Choir Competition in Helsinki, Finland in September 2006. Lajos Vass Nocturne, the namesake of this recording, recounts the quiet ecstasy of Verlaine's moonlit midnight. The other four pieces on this CD were commissioned by the ensemble in 2001, and are intended to commend our celestial company of sun, moon, and stars - Asplin's Of a turning wheel turns to the ancient wisdom of the Upanishads and Vedas, Rumi, ibn Ezra, Ptolemy, and Tagore; Skirvin's ...stars to hold relies upon the star-gazing strophes of Sara Teasdale; Mantyjarvi's Kosijat echoes the folky flavor of the Finnish national epic, the Kanteletar; and Eric Banks' Celestial Wystan finds inspiration in the verses of WH Auden.