Carmina Juventutis (Songs of Youth) for TTBB Chorus and Piano Four-hands by David Conte was commissioned by the Cornell University Glee Club in celebration of its 125th Anniversary. Carmina Juventutis comprises three songs.
Omittamus Studia (Student Song) is taken from the Carmina Burana, a collection of Medieval Latin verse dating from the late thirteenth century. This piece alternates stanzas in popular Latin meter with a "Goliardic" couplet refrain: "Life passes away swiftly when absorbed in study: Tender youth is a time to be merry." The music is fast, energetic and a touch irreverent. The music turns slightly jazzy when the students go into the streets to dance with the "wanton maidens." The piece owes a debt to Walter Piston's Carnival Song.
Levis exsurgit zephirus (Love Song) is taken from the eleventh century Cambridge Songs. This love song is in rhymed couplets written in Ambrosian quatrains—the most common of all forms used for Latin hymns. The music has a gentle undulating quality as the speaker is "possessed by deep sighs in the midst of all this beauty" for his soul languishes. The opening music returns in the minor mode, accompanied by sighs in alternating solo trios of tenors and baritones.
Vinum Bonum (Drinking Song) opens with a majestic flourish as the singers praise "wine, the blessed creature which the pure vine produced." Following this introduction, there is a sudden change of tempo to Allegro; at several passages the joyous singers clap. The majestic opening music returns as the singers entreat "the whole world to drink equal draughts, now and forever."
David Conte (b. 1955) is the composer of over eighty works published by E. C. Schirmer Music Publishing, including six operas, a musical, works for chorus, solo voice, orchestra, chamber music, organ, piano, guitar, and harp. He has received commissions from Chanticleer, the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, the Dayton, Oakland and Stockton Symphonies, the American Guild of Organists, Sonoma City Opera and the Gerbode Foundation. He is Professor of Composition and Chair of the Composition Department at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and has taught at Cornell University, Keuka College, Colgate University and Interlochen. In 2010, he was appointed to the composition faculty of the European American Musical Alliance in Paris, and in 2011, he joined the board of the American Composers Forum. In 2014, he was named Composer in Residence with Cappella SF, a professional chorus in San Francisco. (Click on David Conte's name and photo to visit his website, where you can read a more detailed biography, view a list of his compositions, read reviews, articles, and theses, listen to music, and more.)