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Skylark Vocal Ensemble | Once Upon a Time

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Classical: Vocal Music Spoken Word: Storytelling Moods: Type: Vocal
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Once Upon a Time

by Skylark Vocal Ensemble

Weaving together the fantastical fairy tales Snow White and the Little Mermaid with choral music from all ages, and an original 'Story Score' by composer Benedict Sheehan, this album creates an entirely new "choral-theatrical" art form
Genre: Classical: Vocal Music
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Three Shakespeare Songs: No. 2, The Cloud-Capp'd Towers
Skylark Vocal Ensemble
2:24 $0.99
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2. Snow White
Skylark Vocal Ensemble, Sarah Walker, Sarah Moyer, Madeline Apple Healey & Helen Karloski
1:19 $0.99
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3. Un soir de neige, Fp 126: I. De grandes cuillers de neige
Skylark Vocal Ensemble
1:15 $0.99
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4. The Queen’s Envy
Skylark Vocal Ensemble, Sarah Walker, Sarah Moyer & Helen Karloski
1:53 $0.99
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5. Suite de Lorca, Op. 72: II. El Grito
Skylark Vocal Ensemble
2:10 $0.99
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6. Into the Forest
Skylark Vocal Ensemble & Sarah Walker
1:23 $0.99
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7. Un soir de neige, Fp 126: III. Bois meurtri
Skylark Vocal Ensemble
2:22 $0.99
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8. At the Dwarves’ House
Skylark Vocal Ensemble, Sarah Walker, Peter Walker, George Case & Sarah Moyer
2:40 $0.99
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9. El Hambo
Skylark Vocal Ensemble
2:51 $0.99
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10. The Poisoned Apple
Skylark Vocal Ensemble, Sarah Walker & Doug Dodson
2:17 $0.99
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11. Un soir de neige, Fp 126: II. La bonne neige
Skylark Vocal Ensemble
1:50 $0.99
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12. The Queen Victorious
Skylark Vocal Ensemble, Sarah Walker & Helen Karloski
1:37 $0.99
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13. Un soir de neige, Fp 126: IV. La nuit le froid la solitude
Skylark Vocal Ensemble
1:01 $0.99
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14. The Dwarves’ Lament
Skylark Vocal Ensemble, Sarah Walker & Sarah Moyer
1:06 $0.99
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15. Lay a Garland
Skylark Vocal Ensemble
2:50 $0.99
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16. Snow White Awakens
Skylark Vocal Ensemble, Sarah Walker, Peter Walker & Helen Karloski
2:53 $0.99
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17. Fatiše Kolo
Skylark Vocal Ensemble
1:56 $0.99
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18. Seven Daughters
Skylark Vocal Ensemble & Sarah Walker
0:52 $0.99
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19. Three Shakespeare Songs: No. 1, Full Fathom Five
Skylark Vocal Ensemble
3:31 $0.99
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20. The Shipwreck
Skylark Vocal Ensemble, Sarah Walker & Alissa Ruth Suver
1:11 $0.99
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21. 3 Eesti Mangulaulu (3 Estonian Game Songs): No. 3, Laevamäng (The Ship Game)
Skylark Vocal Ensemble, Fiona Gillespie, Carrie Cheron, Helen Karloski & Doug Dodson
2:41 $0.99
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22. The Witch's Bargain
Skylark Vocal Ensemble, Sarah Walker & Alissa Ruth Suver
2:25 $0.99
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23. I-I-O Hi-Ho
Skylark Vocal Ensemble & Alissa Ruth Suver
3:01 $0.99
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24. The Cauldron
Skylark Vocal Ensemble, Sarah Walker, Dana Whiteside & Robbie Jacobs
0:58 $0.99
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25. 4 Shakespeare Songs: No. 3, Double, Double Toil and Trouble
Skylark Vocal Ensemble
3:01 $0.99
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26. Speechless
Skylark Vocal Ensemble & Sarah Walker
1:17 $0.99
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27. French Choruses from the Lark: II. Court Song
Skylark Vocal Ensemble, Sarah Moyer & Doug Dodson
1:20 $0.99
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28. Laevas Lauldakse (Singing Aboard Ship)
Skylark Vocal Ensemble, Sarah Walker & Carrie Cheron
6:00 $0.99
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29. At Dawn
Skylark Vocal Ensemble, Sarah Walker & Carrie Cheron
0:51 $0.99
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30. Nocturnes: No. 2, Soneto de la Noche
Skylark Vocal Ensemble, Sarah Walker & Dana Whiteside
6:32 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Finding new ways to engage with choral music has become one of Skylark’s passions as we have developed our collective voice over the last 6 years. After our GRAMMY-nominated recording last year, we wanted our next release to be something completely different.

In 2016, Skylark launched our first collaboration with storyteller Sarah Walker as an experiment in a new concept for us: the choral story concert. I love fantastical children’s stories, I love theater, and I love (obviously!) choral music. What, I thought, if we could bring together some (hitherto unconnected) short choral works of the last few centuries in a way that compellingly brings familiar stories to life?

Our first story concert, called Once Upon a Time, included two fairy tales: Snow White and The Little Mermaid (if you think you know these stories because you saw the Disney movies, you might be a little surprised). Skylark shared music at key moments in the narratives. I chose some pieces because of a textual connection, others because the “mood” seemed right, others because the sound-world they created evoked images of what was transpiring in the story.

As rehearsals began, our artists were visibly skeptical. I overheard both “We’re going to do what?” and “I don’t get it” several times on the first day. When Sarah arrived for the dress rehearsal, eyes brightened. After the first concert, some of us were giddy- because it was just so much fun. We resolved to do a program with Sarah every season. In the intervening years, we created four programs in collaboration with her, and with Peter Walker, her multi-talented husband and Skylark bass-baritone (who also brings unique musical/historical knowledge and plays a staggering number of interesting instruments).

When I mentioned the project in passing to composer Benedict Sheehan, he was intrigued. He loved the idea of working together to create a new type of composition, a ‘Story Score’ that is composed with the intention of animating spoken dialogue and bringing it to life with unobtrusive but evocative vocal accompaniment. He was energized by the challenge of having to work within the context of existing musical material composed by others. In addition to his own musical creations, he has cleverly intertwined and morphed melodic and harmonic ideas from the pieces I had already chosen for the program, including offerings by Poulenc, Vaughan Williams, Mäntyjärvi, Rautavaara, Tormis, and others.

On two occasions in 2019, Sarah, Benedict, Peter, and I convened for several days of joint work to bring the project to life. These were special days, as it seemed to us that we were creating something totally new. In my opinion, the result is two stories that flow virtually seamlessly in their narrative and musical progression. Although most of this music was composed at different times with different contexts, in this particular form it seems to me as if it were all meant to go together.

Some might feel that taking pieces like Poulenc’s Un Soir de Neige into a fairy tale world could cheapen the real world reality of its composition in the darkest depths of December during the Second World War. Others might find some of the textual relationships between the music and stories disjunct (“why is a Swedish herding song being sung by a mermaid?”) And, although the fairy tales are familiar to many of us, re-hearing some of their 19th century cultural artifacts can be somewhat jarring in our more enlightened age.

These are all valid issues to raise, and I don’t wish to discount them – in fact, I think they can make for a fascinating discussion. But, I’ll be the first to admit that this project was not borne out of deep analysis of any of these issues. Rather, it emerged from a desire to combine familiar stories with unfamiliar music in a new and beautiful way, in the hopes that people might be surprised by how much they can enjoy music that might otherwise seem esoteric and randomly assembled. My hope is that you might suspend disbelief and listen to the stories as if you were hearing them for the first time, and that you might find that the music speaks more deeply to you than you imagined it would.

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