London, England – A series of concerts centeted on international choral music, under the name of Worldvoice 2003, will take place at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall in October of 2003. Two top Georgian vocal ensembles will perform in the British capital: Gori Women’s Choir and Rustavi Choir. William Robson, Artistic Director of the festival, describes the focus of the event: “Singing
in a group is an ancient human musical activity which unites societies profoundly – a song’s words contain the deepest beliefs of a society, and the occasions for singing are momentous: births, weddings, funerals and festivals.
In drawing together a festival of choral music from across the globe, I am drawn to the way that most peoples still use choral music for its most fundamental purpose: celebration. Choirs from all over the world have been invited to take part, and each one of them has been chosen because it represents the very best in its tradition.
OCTOBER 4th, 2003
7:00 pm Queen Elizabeth Hall
Gori Women’s Choir
From its foundations in Tbilisi in 1970, the choir has grown in size and scope to become a remarkable performer of contemporary Georgian music, representing the opposite pole to that of the Rustavi Choir, demonstrating the strength of the Georgian choral tradition. This is also their first visit to the U.K.
OCCTOBER 5th, 2003
7:00 pm Queen Elizabeth Hall
Songs and dances for both work and war have been noted by historians writing about the Georgian area for over two thousand years. The many foreign invaders seem not to have affected this significantly, for the unique style of polyphonic choral singing is still strong in all the regions of Georgia, and does not occur at all in any of its neighboring countries. Singers and dancers from all these
regions came together in 1968 to form the Rustavi Company, all contributing their local material and traditions. This gives the Rustavi Choir, for example (a part of the Rustavi Company) a huge repertoire of pieces, both sacred and secular, and the distinctive voices needed to perform them.
The robust work-songs, some of which may even predate the Christian era, are models of rhythmic precision. And the drinking songs have an enviable gusto – one which would make any team of sports fans proud. With their splendid costumes and full, rich voices, the Rustavi Choir is a sight and sound which no-one ever forgets.
Series: 020 7960 4242 (not available online)
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.