Kieran White - Invocation & Fire

Kieran White

Invocation & Fire

20.06.202214:01 Frida Bringslimark

Folksong (English) 

“Turtle Dove” 


Henry Purcell  


 “An Evening Hymn” 

Claudio Monteverdi  


“Oblivion Soave” from the opera L’incoronazione di Poppea 


George Frideric Handel 


“From Virtue Springs” from the oratorio Theodora 



Antonio Vivaldi 


“Non Tempesta” from the opera La Fida Ninfa  




Invocation & Fire as described by Kieran White 


This programme presents an array of pieces that share with you the qualities of my voice and where I feel most comfortable. As a singer I have always found it fairly easy to sing around the high end of my voice – here, I feel safe. When choosing music, I always seem to prefer the slow and sentimental, music that brings a lot of emotion and tension. On the other hand, I love to sing pieces with flying, fiery melodies and exciting tempi, while the feeling of standing within an ensemble and being surrounded by the sound is exhilarating.  


The folksong “Turtle Dove” originates from Dorset, my home. I’ve had a personal association with this song ever since performing it with a group of friends while we were choral scholars at Truro Cathedral, Cornwall. The melody is hugely emotive and sticks in one’s head. It depicts the departure by the singer from their lover, comparing the separation to that of a pair of turtle doves in loss due to their migration.  


In the aria “Oblivion Soave” Poppeas’ nurse Arnalta sings a lullaby invoking her to sleep. The bass line and the melody are repeated, providing a soothing, rocking feeling. While the melody sustains a single note, the duo partner provides the repetitive sway. At the end of most phrases the continuo carries on after the vocal line has ended. To me, this feels as if Arnalta is affected by the lullaby and almost falls asleep herself. I particularly love this aria because of its intimacy with a single instrument and the freedom this gives both artists. Sharing this moment of trust is magical. The whole piece sits quite high but must simultaneously maintain an ease of sound. When performing this particular aria I enjoy the slight feeling of risk with its rising phrases and long sustained notes.  


Monteverdi’s aria and the song “An Evening Hymn” by Henry Purcell share similarities. Both songs have an anchor in the bass line. One is about the act of lulling someone to sleep and the other is about the final moments of someone’s life, the eternal sleep of death. In this extraordinary song Purcell manages to touch the heart with his melancholic melody and then in contrast reveal a sense of joy in the “Hallelujah” towards the end - repeating the word over and over again. For me this bespeaks an acceptance of the one’s own end, that need not be just a sad or even traumatic moment. In the context of this song, the end has come at the right time – after one has come to terms and accepted that their journey is now over. 


Handel’s Theodora was, by all accounts, the oratorio he considered to be his finest. It’s restrained, almost austere musical settings are well suited to his only genuinely tragic music-drama – and the only one set to a Christian narrative. The character Septimius is initially ambivalent – he is neither a true believer nor is he initially sympathetic to the Christians. By the end of the oratorio, he has clearly undergone a spiritual, if not religious awakening – and his final aria “From Virtue Springs” sees him invoking heaven with an earnest, yearning prayer for peace and justice for those facing death. The music that Handel creates has a spring in its step, using word painting and long lines filled with interesting leaps and triplet rhythms. Singing this aria is technically difficult but hugely rewarding: working out where to breathe is the real challenge!  


I end the programme with an aria filled with fire and drama. Vivaldi, in his beloved tempesta mode, provides the voice with energetic, florid and rhythmic punctuation. The instrumentalists begin this piece with energy and vitality to reflect the storm. This in turn provides me with the anchor and energy needed to sing this aria. In La Fida Ninfa, the tenor role is a frustrated father to two sisters in a convoluted and vaguely ridiculous confused-lovers pastorale – and in this aria “Non Tempesta”, the ‘storm simile’ so often used by Vivaldi is put to strong use to illustrate the character’s paternal ire with fiery fioritura. 





About the ensemble

Nordic Baroque Scene (NBS) is a collaboration project by four Nordic baroque orchestras from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.


Barokkanerne from Oslo, Concerto Copenhagen (CoCo), Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble from Stockholm and Finnish Baroque Orchestra (FiBO) from Helsinki have come together to strengthen the Nordic Baroque scene through novel and ambitious projects like Aria Borealis Bodø.


In this concert you’ll meet the following musicians from Nordic Baroque Scene:


Fredrik From, baroque violin & artistic leader (CoCo)

Aira Maria Lehtipuu, baroque violin (FiBO)

Minna Kangas, baroque violin (FiBO)

Anthony Marini, baroque violin (FiBO)

Gabriel Bania, baroque viola (CoCo)

Judith-Maria Blomsterberg, baroque cello (CoCo)

Gunnar Hauge, baroque cello (Barokkanerne)

Olof Larsson, violone (DBE)

Fredrik Bock, lute, theorbo & baroque guitar (CoCo)

Tineke Steenbrink, Harpsichord & organ (CoCo)

Pauliina Fred, traverso & recorder (FiBO)

Olle Torssander, traverso & recorder (DBE)

Anna Starr, baroque oboe (Barokkanerne)

Piia Henriikka Maunula, baroque oboe (FiBO)




Don’t miss Aria Borealis Bodø’s next events:


Move to the music

Lunch talk on with Elizabeth Svarstad at Stormen Library on Wednesday, June 29 at 13:00

Free entry, no ticket needed.


Baroccan Jazz

In Stormen’s Lille sal on Wednesday at 20:00 Bjarte Eike and Barokkanerne invite Tore Johansen, Frode Fjellheim and Bodø Rhythm Group into their baroque musical world. In return the Baroccans are challenged to jam along in newly written jazz tunes, old standards, and maybe an old folk tune or two.