True Concord Voices & Orchestra is leaving the orchestra behind this weekend when it performs almost entirely a cappella works reminiscent of the ethereal aurora borealis.
A solo piano will chime in on the final work of the “Northern Lights” concert, which will be performed on Oct. 19, 20 and 21 at venues in Tucson and Green Valley.
Choral-world luminary Dale Warland will be at the podium guest conducting while True Concord’s music director and founder Eric Holtan sits in the audience.
Warland is an inductee of the American Classical Music Hall of Fame for his legendary work in the choral field. Over six decades, he has commissioned more than 270 works and taught a generation of today’s choral composers and conductors.
During a call from Minnesota, Warland, founder of the Grammy-nominated Dale Warland Singers, said he was excited to collaborate with the Tucson-based choir for the first time.
“I only know of them by recording and reputation and what I’ve heard is first rate, both in terms of repertoire and their level of performance artistically,” he said.
The concert will feature mostly 20th century music of Scandinavia and Baltic origin, meant to mirror the spirit and color of the northern lights.
Warland, 86, is a veteran when it comes to Estonian music and he loves the revolutionary history behind these songs.
“The Scandinavian countries after World War II took such a strong leadership in terms of a new emphasis of music in those countries, but also the writing and the composition was really cutting edge,” he explained. “They were doing all kinds of experimental things. The fresh sounds come from the Baltic composers.”
During his time working in Estonia, Warland conducted his fair share of masses. While putting together the program for “Northern Lights,” he drew from experience and chose each song carefully to tell an effective musical story.
“Over the years, I have been doing eclectic masses. I could not find one mass where I liked all of the movements, so I took all the strongest movements within the mass and that’s what I’ve done with this concert,” he said. “The concert is on the heavy side and I wanted to add some lightness to it as well. That’s why it’s so wonderful, you get such a variety.”
Warland’s vision for the concert involved all a cappella music, except for the last piece, which features a solo piano. He wanted each vocal part to be distinct.
“The biggest word is beauty. It touches the soul, both the music itself and our performance of that music,” he said. “It goes deep into their whole listening mechanism not just their ears, but their hearts and their souls. Beauty is the key word and inspiration ties in with that.”
Alexa Agostinelli is a University of Arizona journalism student apprenticing with the Star.