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

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

Just Posted

Shane Ertmoed’s application for Escorted Temporary Absences was granted following a hearing May 4, 2021. (File photo)
Surrey child-killer an ‘average’ risk to sexually reoffend: Parole Board

Written reasons behind approval of Shane Ertmoed’s request for escorted absences shared

Surrey council on May 10, 2021 approved the Darts Hill Neighbourhood Concept Plan. (surrey.ca screenshot)
‘Desperately needed’ NCP for South Surrey’s Darts Hill neighbourhood approved

‘Potential housing for 10,000 people’ in 130-hectare space, says mayor

Trucks line up for food during a drive-thru event on the PNE grounds last May. (Photo: Darryl Dyck/CP)
Drive-thru food truck fest coming to North Surrey Secondary lot

School a ‘great location – high traffic, very visible, and a very large parking lot’

Volunteers unload 1,000 meal kits at the Cloverdale Community Kitchen May 12. CCK was gifted the meals from Goodfood and distributed the entire truckload to the needy in less than 24 hours. (Photo: Submitted)
Cloverdale Community Kitchen distributes 1,000 meals in less than 24 hours

Meal kits went to charities in Surrey, Langley, White Rock

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Brian Peach rescues ducklings from a storm drain in Smithers May 12. (Lauren L’Orsa video screen shot)
VIDEO: Smithers neighbours rescue ducklings from storm drain

Momma and babies made it safely back to the creek that runs behind Turner Way

Signage for ICBC, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, is shown in Victoria, B.C., on February 6, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
$150 refunds issued to eligible customers following ICBC’s switch to ‘enhanced care’

Savings amassed from the insurance policy change will lead to one-time rebates for close to 4 million customers

Lorna Seip touches up the mural on the wall at MRSS, working with students from the Rainbow Club. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Rainbow club puts message of inclusion at Maple Ridge School’s main entrance

Maple Ridge secondary grad says SOGI symbols are powerful

Police investigate a fatal 2011 shooting in a strip mall across from Central City Shopping Centre, which was deemed a gang hit. The Mayor’s Gang Task Force zeroed in on ways to reduce gang involvement and activity. (File photo)
COVID-19 could be a cause in public nature of B.C. gang violence: expert

Martin Bouchard says the pandemic has changed people’s routines and they aren’t getting out of their homes often, which could play a role in the brazen nature of shootings

Most Read