Elektra Women’s Choir artistic director Morna Edmundson (middle) with some members of the choir, which Edmundson co-founded in 1987. (Photo: elektra.ca)

MUSIC

Elektra choir’s new ‘Fire Flowers’ offers ‘intimate and hopeful’ sounds, Surrey director says

Online-only release of choir’s 17th collection of music

“I think it’s a very intimate and hopeful album, which turns out to be a wonderful thing right now.”

So says Elektra Women’s Choir artistic director Morna Edmundson about “Fire Flowers,” the 17th collection of music released by the Vancouver-based ensemble she co-founded 33 years ago.

“Fire Flowers” invites the listener to a wealth of 21st-century repertoire for women’s voices, including several first recordings, according to a BC ArtsPost media release.

Edmundson, a longtime Guildford-area resident, shared her thoughts in a 35-minute “launch party” video posted to the choir’s Facebook page on Aug. 11. She introduced the music of “Fire Flowers” and also interviewed two of the featured composers, Don Macdonald and Marie-Claire Saindon.

(Story continues below video)

The opening work, “Sicut Lilium Inter Spinas,” was written for women in a 16th-century Italian convent. “Its authorship by Eleanora d’Este is conjecture based on modern-day research. It was originally published anonymously, as it would have been unacceptable for a noblewoman to publish under her own name at that time,” notes a post at elektra.ca/cds/fire-flowers.

“Fast-forward to the five other tracks on this recording by women and one experiences the raw energy of ‘Terre-Neuve’ by Marie-Claire Saindon and ‘Seikilos’ by Joanne Metcalf, a playful vocalise by Saindon called ‘Turlutte acadienne Montrealaise,’ Joni Mitchell’s loving tribute to her baby daughter, ‘Little Green,’ arranged for Elektra by Kate MacColl, and Susan LaBarr’s exquisite closing track, ‘Spring Shall Bloom’ on which our wonderful pianist, Dr. Stephen Smith, absolutely shines.”

(Story continues below video)

As well, a theme of music is represented by composers Sheldon Rose, Pärt Uusberg, Stephen Smith and Nicholas Ryan Kelly. The title track, by Macdonald, “brings us to a place of acceptance with words by E. Pauline Johnson which compare human suffering to a burnt forest floor – where from tragic circumstances, new growth and delicate flowers can emerge.”

Featured on the recording are pianist Stephen Smith, violinist Joan Blackman and cellist Rebecca Wenham.

CLICK HERE to read the complete CD booklet, which includes track list, texts and translations, and more.

“Fire Flowers” is released online only and can be downloaded on iTunes or streamed through other platforms.

Back in 1987, Edmundson chatted with a fellow choral director at a Vancouver Chamber Choir concert – a conversation that gave birth to Elektra Women’s Choir.

“I was with Diane Loomer,” Edmundson said in a 2016 interview, four years after Loomer’s death, in 2012. “I had just come back from studying in Sweden for a year, and we thought, ‘No one is singing the women’s choir repertoire – I wonder what the repertoire is?’”

Over its three-plus decades, Elektra has explored all the important music for women’s choir, spearheaded the creation of countless new scores and raised the profile of female choirs.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Music

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Delta, Metro Vancouver add more than 300 hectares to Burns Bog Conservation Area

Delta Nature Reserve among parcels of land added to conservation area but will remain open to public

Premier says Surrey mayor opened ‘hornets’ nest’ with Surrey policing transition

Surrey election battle heating up over controversial cop transition

‘Illegal’ Canadian crab traps, fishing gear seized in U.S. waters near White Rock

Investigation continues after joint operation between Canadian, American authorities in Boundary Bay

OPINION: It’s Time for Surrey to be Heard

Which party will listen to Surrey voters?

Face masks to be mandatory at all Delta facilities Oct. 1

Masks will be mandatory when entering, exiting and moving around all common areas

Liberals vow wage-subsidy extension to 2021, revamp of EI system in throne speech

Canadian labour market was hammered by pandemic, when lockdowns in the spring led to a loss of 3 million jobs

Boulders near Harrison vandalized with derogatory word

Vandalism likely occured between Sunday evening and Tuesday evening

‘It’s a boy’: Southern Resident killer whale calf born to J Pod is healthy, researchers say

J35 had previously done a ‘Tour of Grief,’ carrying her dead calf for 17 days

People ‘disgusted’ by COVID-19 election call, B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson speaks to municipal leaders from Victoria

Horgan blasts B.C. Greens for refusing youth overdose detention

Lack of support key to B.C. election call, NDP leader says

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

Abbotsford youth launches mental health awareness page

Abby Senior student Mia Skoone aims to provide information with @mentalhealth4youth account

RCMP investigating man reportedly hiking nude on Summerland’s Full Frontal trail

Potential charges against the man could include indecent exposure.

Most Read