The Livin' is Easy, Songs of the Summer Idyll

Five varied song cycles make up the City of Oxford Choir’s June concert in the acoustically superb surroundings of Merton College Chapel. Three songs for a capella choir by Philip Glass include a setting of “There are some men” by Leonard Cohen.

These unusual scores merge the composer’s trademark minimalism with rhythmically vital vocal contours. Beloved by singers, Josef Rheinberger’s music is suffused with the glow of summerlight. The rich textures of the Three Sacred Songs (which conclude with the famous Abendlied) are ideally suited to Merton’s warm ambience.

Britten’s Five flower songs provide an aesthetic counterpoint. Memorable texts by Herrick, Crabbe and Clare are set with considerable relish and vocal flamboyance by a great composer.

Two folk-inspired settings complete our evening: Kodály’s Mátra Pictures evoke the sounds and the mood of life within Hungary’s most mountainous province, while the Swedish composer Wilhelm Stenhammar’s Three Choral Ballads includes the beguiling In the Seraglio Garden.

Duration: 2 hours with interval

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