Synaesthesia it’s called, when people ‘see’ musical sounds as colours. Messiaen, Lizst and Rimsky-Korsakov had it, along with Duke Ellington and Billy Joel. So did Syd Barrett, the founder – appropriately – of Pink Floyd. Far from being debilitating, though (Syd went mad for other reasons), listening to music is, according to one synaesthete, “like fireworks”. Much like your typical Viva Voce concert … especially the next one. Our particular synaesthetic variation, however, is quite specific and hopefully short-lived: every song in The Rainbow Collection is associated with a colour, and some of them with the full spectrum.
Of course for VV the above ‘condition’ only affects our programming. It’s actually the composers who hear gardens, brooms and sleeves as being green, love and the moon as blue, and birds as black, blue, silver, white and yellow. A mood can be indigo (Duke Ellington, naturally) and faces can turn a whiter shade of pale. They even peer over the rainbow to see our true colours shining through.
Our job is just to interpret, in as many shades and nuances as possible. So, some thirty years after Kermit the Frog wondered why there were so many songs about polychromatic arches, we bring you a vibrant and varied display of choral works from the brushes of such luminaries as Stanford, Monteverdi, Byrd, Arcadelt, Britten, Vaughan Williams, Finzi, Lennon McCartney, Rodgers, Hamilton and Marshall. And alongside old, familiar strains we introduce some subtle new tones, notably young American Joshua Shank’s “Color Madrigals”, four fun and attractive settings of John Keats poems.
Can’t wait to see-hear you there.Viva Voce