On Sunday, February 19 at 4:00 p.m., the award-winning vocal ensemble Eya will perform a concert appropriate to the annual observance of St. Valentine. Inspired by the exquisite Chansonnier Cordiforme (“Heart-shaped Songbook”), Eya will sift through a fantastic array of music and poetry that speaks of longing, of sensuality, of connection with the Beloved. The program entitled Heartform softens the line between sacred and secular, exploring the profound theme of sacred desire whilst asking the question, “Is every kind of love sacred?”
In this inventive and exciting program, Eya layers the delicately-crafted works of the Chansonnier Cordiforme, featuring French and Italian songs of the early Renaissance, folded within the lines of Rumi, John Donne, Hildegard von Bingen, Richard Rolle, the Song of Songs, Shakespeare, Peter Gabriel, and many more. The afternoon of music will feature a special commission by Baltimore-based composer Douglas Buchanan and music of Hildegard von Bingen, Francis Poulenc, Richard Einhorn, and Gregorian chant, as well as spoken text and poetry.
Eya, whose name is based on a Latin exclamation of joy, is based in Washington, DC specializing in the interpretation of medieval music for women’s voices. Launched in 2010 and directed by Allison Mondel, Eya has established its place in the Washington, DC community as an early music ensemble of impeccable vocal quality and deep spirit. The ensemble is noted for concert programs that interweave diverse repertories of the 12th through 15th centuries, from Hildegard von Bingen to Notre Dame to the flyleaves of early English manuscripts and beyond. Through this lens, these programs seek to tell a story that forges new points of connection between contemporary audiences and medieval repertoire, underlining our common humanity with these early poets and composers.
Eya’s performers are regarded as some of the finest young early music specialists in the region. Audiences have praised the ensemble for its vocal beauty, fascinating and accessible programming, fresh and inspired interpretations, and musicianship of the highest standard. Eya has performed at a variety of venues thus far, notably The Music Center at Strathmore, Washington National Cathedral, the Boston Early Music Festival Fringe, Dumbarton Oaks (Harvard University), Georgetown University, Williams College, and The College of William and Mary, among many others. The ensemble is the proud recipient of the 2013 Greater DC Choral Excellence Award for Best Specialty Group: Early Music as well as a 2015 nominee for Most Creative Programming.
Sunday’s concert is presented by the Christ Church Concert Series and is supported in part by the Talbot County and Maryland State Arts Councils. There is no admission to the concert, and a freewill offering will be received. Christ Church is located at 111 S. Harrison Street in Easton. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. For more information call 410-822-2677.