Review: Thirst: Ana Sokolović; Julia Wolfe - Turning Point Ensemble; musica intima Vocal Ensemble

Thirst. The name of this CD evokes a primal human need and fear – our absolute reliance on water for survival. The album offers four works by two composers – Ana Sokolović from Montreal and Julia Wolfe from New York City – whose composing styles share some similarities while also exhibiting quite contrasting approaches. The four works on the album are expertly performed by two Vancouver-based groups, the Turning Point Ensemble and musica intima.



Fresh new wave of composers and performers lights up stages across Vancouver

It seemed only a few years ago that new music (that is, contemporary classical music) was performed mostly in academic settings to tiny audiences so schooled in modern aesthetics that they could no longer carry on a conversation with regular folk. And of course, regular folk were disdained to enter anyway, hence the tiny audiences. Music seemed as obtuse as it could possibly be. Now, there’s been a fresh new wave of composers and performers where new music doesn’t take itself too seriously, yet is rich and interesting, where performers are accessible yet top notch, and most of all where the music is intimate.



musica intima: making the magic work

“Wow! Wasn’t that wonderful?” This was the shared sentiment Friday evening at the end of an amazing choral performance by Musica Intima, an eight person a capella vocal ensemble. It was an evening that wowed everyone,  sending us home thrilled with what a well trained voice can do all on it’s own, unaccompanied.


musica intima connects to Sto:lo Nation legend with Sche’i:l

This is a story about a choir, a composer, a community, and a legend. It’s also a story that extends way out into the Pacific Ocean, and then upriver to Lady Franklin Rock, just north of Yale in the Fraser Canyon. Depending on who’s telling it, it’s a story that goes back 15,000 years, based on the latest archaeological evidence, or to before the beginning of recorded time. Appropriately enough, given the events of this fall, it’s a story of truth and reconciliation, with the reconciliation in this case taking place between the highly European form of unaccompanied choral music and the distinctively aboriginal history of Sche’i:l and the First Salmon.


musica intima collaborates with Sto:lo nation in "this land" at UBC

Acclaimed choral ensemble musica intima isn’t fond of hierarchy.

This Saturday, UBC will host the 12-part choir for two new commissions by B.C. composers Ed Henderson and Imant Raminish, in collaboration with the Sto:lo Nation, for This Land, a spiritual journey through the natural world aided by the voices of the choir.

musica intima was formed in 1992 as a grassroots ensemble of eight friends looking to share their passion for music in a more social, informal setting. The opportunity to lead themselves in their own singing style was key to forming a strong artistic direction. As an amateur choir, musica intima won awards at the 1996 CBC Choral Competition, which allowed them to make the transition into a professional, 12-piece ensemble in 1999.



home for Christmas

musica intima, a vocal chamber ensemble, is celebrating its 20th anniversary season this year. It is comprised of three sopranos; Caitlin Beaupre, Tora Klassen and Eva Tavares; three altos, Melanie Adams, Bess Albrecht and Katherine Landry; three tenors, Tristan Pearson, Carman J. Price and Shane Raman and three baritones, Peter Alexander, Jacob Gramit and Troy Topnik.

This group has been nominated for several Juno awards, most recently for two Juno awards in 2011 (Classical Album of the Year & Classical Composition of the Year) for its album "into light." The album won the Western Canadian Music Award for Classical Recording of the Year in 2010.


musica intima gives a magical performance

The North Okanagan Community Concert Association’s first concert of the season featured eight Canadian voices finely blended in intricate harmonies at the Performing Arts Centre Sunday. The four men and four women who comprise musica intima closed the first half of their all too short program with a chant “to make the magic work.” And it succeeded. Magic was in the air several times, particularly during another series of chants: Le chant des oyseaux (Bird Chants) – the work of Clement Janequin in the 1500s. Cute coo coos, rolled angry rrrs and irrepressible cara ra ras interspersed between lively melodies kept our eyes and ears on tender hooks for where next to focus.



musica intima’s ‘into the wild’ a moving tribute to the seasons

There’s something elegantly symmetrical about musica intima. Who knows how they ever got the idea of singing without a conductor, something comparable to being an aerialist without a net but no doubt based in a tradition as ancient as singing itself? The wonder is that they do it so well, taking their cues from a breath, a glance, some subtle little thing going on among them and unseen by the audience- because to notice it would be to break the spell. It would be easy to play on this, to hoke it up, but they don’t.



At the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts on Sunday, April 18

It’s strange that we don’t hear choir and cello together more often, and it’s great when we do. The pairing makes perfect sense, the cello being the closest of all string instruments to the human voice in range and timbre, its wordless vocalise adding colour and body to the sung text.

A program by musica intima called silhouette, upstairs at the Chan Centre’s Telus Studio Theatre on Sunday, presented the 12 self-conducted singers accompanied by cellist Ariel Barnes in a program that ranged from a madrigal by the early Romantic Robert Pearsall to a new locally written work by Jocelyn Morlock. The theme was a philosophical examination of women and the program notes were reflective and beautifully written, emphasizing the ambivalence inherent in art.


review of Canadian choral CD into light

Pour accueillir le printemps, l'ensemble musica intima est un remède approprié. Sur le mode intimiste qui puise dans un vaste parterre d'oeuvres canadiennes assez récentes comme Murray Schaefer, Jeffrey Ryan, Claude Vivier, Derek Healy, les passionnés du travail pour chorale trouveront amplement de quoi se satisfaire. 



The Wholenote (December 2008 – February 2009)

Wholenote says musica intima’s newest Christmas disc, o nata lux is one of “by far the two best Canadian Christmas choral recordings heard from this year’s offerings. Vancouver’s musica intima, a 12-voice a capella ensemble, perform seasonal gems, some modern, some ancient with fresh arrangements, many by the members themselves, and selections by Willan, Howells and Britten.



review of "angels bright"

At the West Vancouver United Church on Sunday, December 14. Remaining performance December 19 at Christ Church Cathedral.

The singers of musica intima put so much thought and preparation into their performances, it’s tempting to believe they orchestrated last weekend’s turn in the weather to create the perfect setting for their seasonal concert, Angels Bright.


City choirs went to high-tech studios, old cathedrals, and European concert halls to record their seasonal CDs

You know it's December when the city's choirs begin infiltrating just about every performance venue imaginable, hawking their freshly minted Christmas CDs. Musica intima, the Vancouver Men's Chorus, and Phoenix Chamber Choir are three local groups with hot-off-the-press albums, each of which took its own approach to the complex and challenging process of choral recording.


Irish Examiner

For the Cork International Choral Festival director John Fitzpatrick, his small full-time staff, and his army of volunteers, who perform an annual miracle of organisation, the opening concert last Wednesday night must have come as a relief.


Canadians hit all the right notes for audience

Evening Echo

The Canadian choir ‘musica intima’ may number only 12 singers, but they can range in sound from the most delicate whisper to a full orchestra and that without the aid of microphones and amplification of any sort. Last night’s concert was a heady mix of musical styles down the centuries. It began in sixteenth century with Thomas Tallis Loquebantur variis linguis and immediately after embraced the twentieth century in Arvo Part’s austerely beautiful Magnificent.


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