In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
Stephen Hatfield is a resident of Vancouver Island, where he composes for the theatre * Has taught band, chorus, stage band, vocal jazz, guitar, keyboard, steel drum and music appreciation, as well as university English and graduate courses in teaching techniques * Noted for his exciting arrangements of world music, and for his original works which weave influences from diverse cultures into a fresh and distinctive idiom * His choirs have earned gold medals in national festivals, and he has received various awards for his work in education, music and poetry, including the Governor General's Gold Medal * Often featured as a guest conductor and workshop leader throughout the world.
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Review: Composer's Notes: The first pieces I wrote for the Amabile Youth Singers, beautifully conducted by John Barron, were the cornerstone of my career. People often ask why they can't get those early classics on one CD. Now you can. Here in one collection are the legendary performances of "Nukapianguaq", "African Celebration", "Heaven Bound Train", "Missa Brevis", "The Virgin Mary Had A Baby Boy", and more from those astonishing early sessions in 1991-95. Spanning fifteen years of recordings, the CD also features the choir under my direction in superb live performances of new material such as "Geordie" and "The Sparks Fly Upward", plus gorgeous concert versions of "Once I Had A Sweetheart" and the 2nd movement of "Three Ways To Vaccum Your House". I am especially delighted that the CD includes several beloved performances that have never been commercially available before, such as the ferocious live version of "TJAK!", the first, unreleased recording of "La Lluvia" which remains my favourite version of the piece, and a radiant, mystical "Amazing Grace", performed here with oboe instead of bagpipes.
Songlist: Heaven Bound Train, African Celebration, Amazing Grace, Nukapianguaq, La Lluvia, Geordie, The Sparks Fly Upward, Apple Tree Wassail, TJAK!, Missa Brevis-Kyrie, Missa Brevis-Gloria, Missa Brevis-Sanctus, Missa Brevis-Agnus Dei, Carol of the Ladder, J'ai vu le loup, Three Ways to Vaccuum Your House (II), Go Where I Send Thee, Once I Had a Sweetheart, The Virgin Mary had a Baby Boy
Review: Award-winning conductor Stephen Hatfield's London, Canada-based Amabile Boys Choirs have entertained audiences throughout Canada, the US, Europe and Australia, receiving numerous awards including 10 first places at the prestigious CBC Choral Competition. The ABC's refreshingly varied song selection and clean, spirited harmonies are in ample evidence on "All Good People," beginning from the first exuberant cut, the Reggae tune "Don't Bend Down." 18 other gems follow: the 4-part "Missa Brevis," the Japanese work song "Ohisashi buri" (It's been a long time), the spiritual "Ezekiel Saw The Wheel," the lovely "When The Stars Fall," the salsa-flavored "Son de Camaguey," the raucous sea shanty "All For Me Grog," the heart-tugging "All Too Soon," "Double Shot," the spirited "Jesus Met the Woman at the Well," and the South African tune "Dubula." Each song surprises us with the energy and joy of singing of these talented boys. We have heard some of these songs before, but Amabile makes each one their own, the definitive version. "All Good People" is a treat, and winning CD #4 for Amabile!
Songlist: Don't Bend Down, Missa Brevis-, -Kyrie, -Sanctus, -Gloria, Agnus Dei , Ohisashi Buri, Ezekiel Saw The Wheel, Un Flambeau, Jeannette Isabelle, When The Stars Fall, Ka hia manu, Elibama, Son de Camaguey, All For Me Grog, All Too Soon, Double Shot (Honey in the Rock), Jesus Met The Woman At The Well, Living In A Holy City, Dubula, God-Bless Wassail
Review: Composer's Notes: The title for this CD refers to the fact that it opens and closes with all 300 members of the Amabile family singing and dancing in killer versions of "Oolichan" and "Dubula". These live performances, which I conducted, show all the Amabile choirs at their most fiery and confident, and include several massed choir selections that give an extra richness to the sound. The massed Amabile trebles give stunning performances of "Ahe Lau Makani", "Ain't That News" and "Acceptance Speech". The Amabile men are at their Olympian peak with "Heaven Somewhere" and "O Yo Yo". "Living In A Holy City" and "All For Me Grog" are sung as only 300 voices can sing them, while the younger choirs in the Amabile family give stand-out versions of "Two Minutes Before Sleep", "Foggy Birthday Shuffle", "Set" and the previously unavailable "Three-Part Conniption". In addition to the fourteen live performances that capture the singers at their high-flying best, the CD includes three treasures from the studio: the Amabile men tear up the speakers with their show-stopping TTBB version of "Nukapianguaq" ; the Chamber Choir gives their definitive performance of "Hard Shoulder", one of my best pieces ; and the Junior Amabile Singers serve up one of the rarest of Hatfield recordings, the reggae-soaked "No Rock". Fans of Amabile and Hatfield will not be disappointed in this collection of treasures from the archives.
Songlist: Oolichan, Ahe Lau Makani, O Yo Yo, Two Minutes Before Sleep, Foggy Birthday Shuffle, Set, No Rock, Ka Hia Manu, Three- part Conniption, Ain't That News, Acceptance Speech, Nukapianguaq, All for Me Grog, Living in a Holy City, Hard Shoulder, Heaven Somewhere, Dubula
Review: The Amabile (Ah MAH bee lay) Singers, based in London, Ontario, Canada is an auditioned choir of 50 young women, ages 12 to 23 years. It exists to give its members musical experiences of the highest caliber and to develop musical talents. Its repertoire ranges from Medieval to Broadway. Amabile rose quickly to national and international prominence with competition wins at the CBC Biennial Choral Competition, International Choral Competition, and many others. They have toured Europe several times and performed at Carnegie Hall. The music of Canadian composer Stephen Hatfield is surprising and wonderful, and it has never sounded better. 17 songs, the energetic spiritual "Run Children Run," the dramatic "Vus Vet Zayn," the lovely "Camino Caminante," the powerful 3-part a cappella gem, "Three Ways to Vacuum Your House," the sweet, plaintive "Queen Jane," the haunting "When It Was Dark," the plaintive "Once I Had a Sweetheart," the finger-snapping "Sweet Tooth," "Crimson, Ivory and Aquamarine" and "La Lluvia" (with percussion by Hatfield and others), the short, harmonic "Old Fox Wassail," the complex, dramatic, accompanied "Ya Faraoule" and the rhythmic, primitive "TJAK!" are favorites. This is edgy, interesting, entertaining stuff that definitely pushes the Choral envelope.
Songlist: Run Children, Run, Vus Vet Zayn, Ower the Hills, Camino Caminante, Three Ways to Vacuum Your House, Queen Jane, When It Was Yet Dark, Once I Had a Sweetheart, Odi Odi, Sweet Tooth, Crimson, Ivory and Aquamarine, La Lluvia, Old Fox Wassail, Ya Faraoule, TJAK!
J'ai vu le loup
Review: Floating Upstream is the first studio recording of Canadian choral composer Stephen Hatfield's music in several years, and showcases much of the eclectic composer's newest and best work. It is also the first such CD ever made by a public school choral music program in collaboration with and at the invitation of the composer. Music educators (as well as fans of Hatfield's music) will be particularly interested in this recording because the performing choirs range the gamut from grades six through twelve and the CD features both auditioned and non-auditioned groups. The beauty of Stephen's music shines through in the performances of both the advanced and younger ensembles. The physical package includes a 32-page booklet of texts, translations, and in-depth liner notes by the composer. Of this CD, Stephen Hatfield writes, "Floating Upstream turned out to be my most varied and eclectic CD yet, a real magic carpet ride through a cosmos of interconnecting musical worlds. I know that sounds a bit much, but that's how I feel when I listen to this CD."
Songlist: Living in a Holy City, Ojos Azules, Mayn Rue Platz, J'ai vu le loup, Two Minutes Before Sleep, Beacon Hill Carol, Koka, Labour of Love, Takeda No Komoriuta, Vus Vet Zayn, Floating Upstream, Jabula Jesu, The Green Shores of Fogo, First To Know, The Ballad of Skipper Knight, Cafe de Chinitas, On The Horizon (From Ann & Seamus), Construction Ahead, Oolichan
Review: The "Apple-Tree Wassail" comes from the cider country of Devon and Somerset, where it might be sung in the orchards or at the farmer's door. Wassail comes from the Anglo-Saxon wes hael - to be healthy. "The Green Shores of Fogo" bears marks of Irish provenance, although its musical origins were lost before Kenneth Peacock collected the song from Mrs. John Fogarty in 1952. The tune, which Peacock considered one of the most beautiful modal melodies he had ever heard, has attracted more than one set of lyrics, and is also known in Newfoundland as "The Blooming Bright Star of Belle Isle." Colcannon, made from various combinations of cabbage, kale, onions, scallions and potatoes mashed with butter and milk, is one of Ireland's most famous traditional dishes. Although this piece at first seems like a tribute to food, it's really a tribute to memory, and to times gone. The verses take us from the home, to the school, to courting on a country lane, with the narrator a little older in every verse, and a little more aware of the magic of the moment. "Girl of the Branches" emulates the long phrases and finely developed breath control that is a hallmark of Gaelic singing. Also included is the Jutland folk song "When The Star Falls".
Songlist: Girl of the Branches (Nighean nan Geug), When the Stars Fall, Colcannon, The Green Shores of Fogo, Apple-Tree Wassail
Review: Battant Son Plein is French slang, literally "hitting his fill," the equivalent of the English "in full swing." Written for Scala, a children's choir from Bruxelles, the title refers to what these children sound like when they sing, and the piece is a salute to their confidence and daring. Duration: ca. 5:10. Nukapianguaq presents Inuit music in a choral setting that remains as faithful as possible to the aesthetics of the original tradition. "Rosebud in June" is drawn from the English tradition that brought blessings to crops and flocks, this Somerset melody is rousingly arranged for full chorus. Also included in this package is "Sida Rudaia," a traditional Ukranian song arranged by Stephen Hatfield 4-pt treble a cappella, and "Double Shot" as performed by Sweet Honey In The Rock.
Songlist: Nukapianguaq, Rosebud In June, Sida Rudaia, Battant Son Plein, Double Shot (Honey in the Rock)
Review: These original pieces incorporates a multiplicity of multicultural influences, from Peru to Scotland. The text is a sequence of nonsense syllables, imitating the humming and muttering one does during housework. The first movement explores various hemiola patterns culminating in vocalized drum patterns modeled on Arabic and Indian traditions. The second movement, whose slow groove is derived from Reggae, incorporates tonalities and scale structures from Brazil and Lebanon. The final movement starts in Peru, and works upward through Latin America only to discover a hitherto unexplored Mexican/Scottish border. Lots of fun to both teach and sing!
Songlist: Three Ways To Vacuum Your House - Part I, Three Ways To Vacuum Your House - Part II, Three Ways To Vacuum Your House - Part III
Review: Stephen Hatfield is noted for his exciting arrangements of world music, and for his original works which weave influences from diverse cultures into a fresh and distinctive idiom. His choirs have earned gold medals in national festivals, and he has received various awards for his work in education and music. With "For Elizabeth:.." Hatfield uses the old Italian technique of matching the vowels of her name to the corresponding sol-fa syllables to create an ostinato that metaphorically translates her into music. The piece combines poignancy with lots of sparkle, lots of interlocking ostinati. The mix of tenderness and energy has effected audiences strongly. "Glettur" is an Icelandic word that signifies a mischievous but ultimately good-hearted sense of humour. Launching itself from a snatch of an old fiddle jig, "Glettur" lives up to its name with crafty changes of style and key, and with ironic allusions to a couple of other famous pieces of music that have something to do with high spirit. With "Fashion Victim, Drama Queen" we have a slangy de profundis about trying to placate your peer group. The soli section acts as the Drama Queen, while the rest of the choir takes the part of the peer group, commenting on the outsider in a mixture of English and Tex-Mex Spanish slang. Each movement of Missa Brevis incorporates folk melodies from a different country. The moods and the tempi of the originals have been altered; melodies have been unraveled, spliced together and persuaded to modulate.
Songlist: For Elizabeth: Gold, Frank Innocence, and Mirth, Glettur, Fashion Victim, Drama Queen, Missa Brevis
Review: The title of "Ain't That News" is a tribute to the superb Staple Singers, who dang a piece by that name, not otherwise quoted in this chart. The opening seven measures are an adaptation of an old Paul Robeson 78. The rest of the piece is original material intended to pay homage to both the black church and black popo music, just one of the many genres that owes its soul to the spiritual. The composer states, "My goal is to allow even the most demure chorister to have at least a little taste of what it would be like to be Aretha Franklin." "One For Frost.." is a merging of modern diction with the ancient forms of counting song, nursery rhyme, round, or "catch," and the incantational folk songs that paid homage to the natural powers of this peculiar and beautiful world. Set to a beautiful old hymn tune from an 1855 collection, "When It Was Dark" offers much scope for phrasing and word painting as the singers recreate the setting from outside the tomb, and explore the psychology of one of the Bible's most famous and timeless characters, Mary Magdalene. "Chant for a Long Day" is inspired by two monophonic chants for women, the Mersiyet from Pakistan, and the "waulking songs" from the island of Barra in the Hebrides. The text is a depiction of perserverance and longevity, a life force out of the distant and unknowable past, balanced for a moment in the present, and then heading for a distand and unknowable future. The words evoke images of physical and spiritual survival common to many cultures, as well as the images of femininity and womanhood that are also shared by peoples from around the world.
Songlist: When It Was Dark, One For Frost, Two For Fire, Ain't That News , Let Me Ask You, Chant For A Long Day
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