This is a vocal choir (SSAATTBB + guitar, piano, bass, drums) arrangement of Maria’s GRAMMY-winning (best classical composition) “Winter Morning Walks,” a work that sets nine of Ted Kooser’s poems from his book, Morning Walks: 100 Postcards to Jim Harrison. This nine-piece song cycle, wonderfully arranged by Réjean Marois, is accessible for any skilled choir looking for a challenging but gratifying set. There are nine vocal solos within seven of the songs, while songs #6 and #7 are simply arranged for all of the voices.
Maria writes: I had such a fantastically unique experience working at Capilano University in Vancouver several years ago, when Réjean so beautifully arranged "Winter Morning Walks" for his wonderful NiteCap vocal ensemble. I had originally recorded this work with Dawn Upshaw and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and I was simply thrilled to hear a whole new and very lovely reworking of it. Réjean’s students gave an inspired performance of his masterful arrangement, and we are thrilled to now be able to share this music with other performing groups. Réjean and I had fun sitting down and discussing how to get the most out of a performance of this music, and in this offer, we will share that with you.
Réjean writes: My experience working on Maria’s song cycle was very enlightening, not only by Maria’s exceptional composition, but most notably by her understanding of each poem and how she conveyed them in such lyrical treatment. It was a natural step for me, with a vocal ensemble, to bring a polyphonic, contrapuntal texture to some poems; for others I used four to seven parts in homophonic treatment in support of the soloist. And finally, for #2 and #7, you’ll find some “instrumental” sound effects in the voices.
For our performance, my group used individual microphones, but I don’t feel that’s mandatory. I feel that a capable chamber choir paired up with a rhythm section that is both cooperative and sensitive instrumentally can produce an outstanding performance of this work.