BELFAST — The a cappella vocal ensemble VoXX: Voice of Twenty will present its annual winter concert series in four Maine venues in January and February. The group’s 2020 program is titled “Exiles and Outcasts,” and features works from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. Pieces are linked thematically, chosen because the composer perhaps lived in literal exile, or was an outcast by virtue of religion, race, gender, or sexuality; or because exile or alienation is the subject of the work.
The concerts feature works by Hildegard von Bingen, a twelfth-century abbess and mystic; Carlo Gesualdo, whose turbulent life and idiosyncratic harmonies make him the archetype of this theme; Claudio Monteverdi, whose unorthodox use of harmony and modes led to public condemnation; Salamone Rossi, an Jewish composer who lived and worked in Italy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, whose homosexuality and mental health challenges place him as an outsider; and Paul Hindemith, whose music was labeled “degenerate” by the Nazis. Other works include a setting of the spiritual “My Lord, What a Mornin’” by African-American composer Henry Burleigh; works by Victoria, Dowland, Rusca, Distler, and Rachmaninoff, and a setting of “Amazing Grace” that we will ask the audience to join in singing.
Concert begins at 7 p.m.; pre-concert talk at 6:30.