Advent Vespers 2017

Monastery of the Holy CrossThis Sunday, a select group of Chorale’s regular singers will sing the choral portions of Solemn Vespers for the Second Sunday in Advent, along with the monks of the Benedictine Monastery of the Holy Cross, in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood. We do this each year. This service provides us with the opportunity to learn repertoire we would not normally do in a concert setting, in a peerless, unearthly acoustic space; it gives us the experience of singing this music in the sort of setting for which it was originally intended by its composers; and we are happy to work with the monastery, which has so graciously supported our programs in the past, and allows us to record in their chapel.   December 10, this coming Sunday, at 5 PM, we will sing music by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina: his double motet Canite tube/Rorate caeli; his setting of the Advent hymn Conditor alme siderum; and Magnificat in mode 8. In the velvety, enveloping acoustics of the monastery’s chapel, it should be a timeless break from the everyday stresses and obligations of our daily lives, to just sit still, let Palestrina’s glorious music surround and enter us, and ponder the mystery of the Advent season. The service (it is not, strictly speaking, a performance) is free and open to the public. We do invite donations, to support the work of the Monastery and of Chicago Chorale. After a break for the Christmas and New Year holidays, Chorale will reconvene in January to begin rehearsals for our March 25 (Palm Sunday) presentation of Mozart’s Requiem, in the completion by Robert Levin. Mozart died while in the midst of working on this masterpiece; his wife, Constanze, had the work completed in secret by Mozart’s assistant, Franz Xaver Süssmayr, in order to collect the commissioning fee which had been promised for the completed work. Later scholars and musicians have questioned Süssmayr’s work, and it has become a cottage industry, to imagine, and execute, what Mozart himself must have intended. Helmuth Rilling and the Internationale Bachacademie of Stuttgart, with support from the Oregon Bach Festival, commissioned Harvard theorist Robert Levin to do a completion, which has gained a good deal of recognition and favor amongst musicians in the years since it was published and made available. As a member of the Oregon Bach Festival chorus, I participated in early performances of Levin’s version, with Mr. Levin present, advising us, making changes, consulting with Mr. Rilling . I also performed it on tour in Israel with the Gächinger Kantorei and the Israel Philharmonic, under Mr. Rilling’s baton, in concerts commemorating the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth, in January, 2006. I am sold on Mr. Levin’s completion, and am happy to have this opportunity to present it to the Chicago audience. We have a stellar quartet of soloists: Tambra Black, soprano; Karen Brunssen, alto; Scott Brunscheen, tenor; and David Govertsen bass; and an outstanding orchestra, contracted for us by Anna Steinhoff.

Sunday, March 25, 3 PM, at St. Benedict’s Parish, 2215 W. Irving Park Road. Things become very busy at that time of year, and schedules fill up; be sure to put us in your calendar now. You won't want to miss this.