This term I had the pleasure of starting and leading a collaborative musical ensemble in the format of a small vocal chamber group that focuses on early music repertoire.
The name "Clamare" is inspired from Dartmouth's motto "Vox clamantis in deserto". A definition I love, from an Italian dictionary, describes the term 'clamare' as '"pronouncing words, with fullness and emphasis, to express a feeling that is alive or in the moment”. Our goal is not just performance, but actively engaging and questioning the repertoire (see below on our translation project). The members are ones reached out, from all sorts of backgrounds (mostly non-music majors, undergraduate students). 'Clamare' hopes to be a space to explore early repertoire, as the campus has no existing small-chamber choirs or specific outlets for period repertoire. It is not part of courses and the students have volunteered to participate. The wonderful Prof. Diane Belcher has been an integral part in facilitating our start!
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Thanks to Rebekah Schweitzer, member and soprano, this term we focused on Monteverdi and particularly worked on Italian madrigals.. More importantly, we wanted to actively engage with the text. Rebekah created a cantabile translation in English of the madrigal "Ecco mormorar l'onde" - her translation took into account the language and history of the text, as well as approaching it for singers - which vowels are on what pitches, trying to remain true to the composers' colors and timbres... The challenge of having a poetic, literate, translation and one that works in singing it! The group then prepared and sang both the original and the singable translation - this sort of interaction really made us feel and understand the text, the choices made, its affect, and so much more, all creating an active, full participation with early music.