Vox Femina Album (2024)

The Vox Femina project was a part of Ensemble Laude’s resilience plan after the pandemic shut down so much of our lives. Led by Artistic Director Elizabeth MacIsaac and Associate Director Christina Banman, this album features the 44-voice choir singing a gorgeous collection of a cappella choral music from current women composers.

If you’d like to order a physical CD copy of Vox Femina, please email info@ensemblelaude.org.

Click here to listen online and purchase a digital copy of Vox Femina

Liner Notes

Album art by Jenny Hainsworth Auld.

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Stephanie Martin (1962– )
Text by Robert Frost (1874–1963)

Published in 1923, this short poem became one of Frost’s best-known works. A century later, in 2021, Stephanie Martin wrote this score while in lockdown, uncertain if it would ever be performed. The words remind us to seize golden moments while they last.

Uraren Besotik (2001)

Eva Ugalde (1973 – ), Spain
Text: Josune Lopez, Spain

Through the arms of the water and the hands of the air, we arrived at the lonely city, unable to enjoy the ephemeral present together. Continuing through the arms of the water, through your hands, we arrived at the city of sensation, and there we enjoyed! We did! We did!

In Her Image

Katerina Gimon (1993– )
Text by Lauren Peat

“In Her Image” follows the narrator’s journey to recapture the image of a woman she once saw in a garden. The search, at times frantic, eventually resolves in a moment of stillness as she realizes the image she saw was herself

The Arrow and the Song

Laura Hawley (1982 -)
Text by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Laura Hawley breathed this poem into a song that soars, accompanied by the sound of wind, the whistle of an arrow in flight, the call of birds. The song, unlike the arrow, finds a welcome home in the heart of a friend.

Ur Dromliv I

Elfrida Andree (1841-1923), Sweden
Text: Viktor Rydberg, Sweden
Arr: E. MacIsaac

Andrée, a pioneering female conductor and composer, evokes a Dromliv (dreamlife) with poignant harmonies. Walking along rapids and cascades of shaded streams, you behold immortality as whirlpools escape with withered leaves. A moonbeam bridge, glittering over waves beating from shore to shore, links this corrupted land to eternity.

La belle se promène

Traditional Acadian
arr. Meghan Quinlan, Canada

A dreamlike melody unfolds as a maiden strolls from garden to riverbank, sighting a boat of 30 sailors. Compelling rhythms swell as she is drawn in by the youngest sailor’s song inviting her to board the vessel, where she will–only then–hear his song fully.

Okâwîmâw askiy (Mother Earth)

Sherryl Sewepagaham, Canada

Through body percussions and Cree melodies, vocables and words, this song, written by a Cree-Dene composer, calls us to connect to Mother Earth with our hearts and bodies, honouring and caring for her: Mother Earth, we are your children. We love you.

Mid-Winter

Kathryn Parrotta (1981– )
Text by Christina Rossetti (1830–1894)

Ensemble Laude premieres this striking interpretation of the poem that inspired the familiar carol “In the Bleak Mid-Winter.” Opening with an interplay of haunting echoes, the harmonies gradually soften amid images of flocking angels, the bestowing of gifts, and a mother’s loving kiss.

How Can I Keep from Singing!

Traditional, arr. Sarah Quartel (1982– ), Canada
Commissioned by Ensemble Laude in 2016

Commissioned following the choir’s visit to Nice, France, in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, the words inspire us to nurture hope where there is despair, find courage in the face of injustice, and sow peace where there is suffering.

Let Us Carry You

Kristia Di Gregorio (1976 – )
Arr. Sarah Quartel (1982 – ) Canada

“Let us carry you” were the loving words spoken by a chorister to Kristia Di Gregorio when she expressed her initial nervousness after joining the choir. Di Gregorio wrote this song as a gift to the choir, capturing the essence of the Laude sisterhood – how we support one another in song and in life.

JAM! (Jom-Ayuh-Maril!)

Tracy Wong (1983– )

The title Jam is the Malay word for clock, represented by the rhythmic snapping of fingers, and is also a play on the English phrase “jam session.” The Malay words “jom,” “ayuh,” and “maril” share a similar meaning: “come, let’s go”, inviting us to make lively music together while passing time.

Hope Lingers On

Lissa Schneckenburger (1968– )
arr. Andrea L. Ramsey

New England fiddler Lissa Schneckenburger opened a new page in her career in 2019 with a collection of songs about her experience as a foster and adoptive parent. This piece, with its warm harmonies and solid rhythms, offers gentle encouragement to families affected by trauma and separation.

Sanctum: A Requiem on Vancouver Island

Sarah Quartel (1982– ) Canada
Commissioned by Ensemble Laude in 2014

Three texts from the Latin Mass conjure Quartel’s experience of Vancouver Island as a sacred healing sanctuary, where she felt nature singing to her: Lux Aeterna—the sky after rain; Agnus Dei—the freshness of the wind; Requiem Aeternam—the tumult of the water.