Announcing Chorale's 2013-14 season

Chorale’s concert programs for the 2013-14 season will begin with the canonic, high-art, sacred repertoire our audiences expect from us, and end with our first-ever concert of entirely secular music.  It’ll be a wild ride!

Friday, November 22, 8:00 p.m., will find us in a new concert venue:  Augustana Chapel at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, in Hyde Park.  Our program will pair two of the twentieth century’s most celebrated works, Frank Martin’s Mass for Double Chorus and Samuel Barber’s Agnus Dei, with an appropriately Lutheran motet, J.S. Bach’s Jesu, meine Freude.  These compositions appear frequently enough on the programs of Chicago-area choral ensembles, that they should not be surprising or unexpected; Chorale’s challenge is to breathe new life into them, to conquer the mountains, valleys, and deserts of their technical challenges and then explore the special aspects of each, the extraordinary emotional and dramatic qualities, the structural perfections, which have earned them their positions at the very top of the choral canon.  We feel strongly that everyone should know these works, hear them again and again with increasing recognition and appreciation.

We will present this concert twice; the second performance will take place Saturday, November 23, 8:00 p.m., at St. Vincent De Paul Parish, in Lincoln Park.

Each December, a small group of singers from Chorale participates in an Advent Vespers service at the Benetictine Monastery of the Holy Cross, in Bridgeport.  We prepare specifically liturgical music, composed for the Office of Vespers by great composers of the Renaissance period, which we alternate with the chanting of the monastery’s monks.  This year, on Sunday, December 8, at 5 p,m., we will sing music by Orlando di Lasso.  This is an unusual and very beautiful celebration of the Advent season, and one which has been important and meaningful to Chorale’s singers and constituency since we began doing it, twelve years ago.

Chorale’s March 16 concert, 3:00 p.m., at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, will focus exclusively on German music of the Romantic period. The centerpiece of the program will be Anton Bruckner’s monumental Mass #2 in E Minor, for eight-voiced choir and wind orchestra.  A massive work, featuring some of Bruckner’s most lyrical, as well as most dramatic, music, it presents challenges which prevent it’s being heard as often as it deserves.  Chorale’s presentation of this work will be preceded by performances of a cappella motets by Felix Mendelssohn (Heilig; Herr, nun lässest Du Deinen Diener), Johannes Brahms (Es ist das Heil, Ich aber bin elend), and Bruckner himself (Os justi, Christus factus est).  Each motet is a small masterpiece on its own, displaying its composer’s genius as much as any of the larger works for which these masters are revered; presented in conjunction with the Mass, they should contribute to a concert experience of unmatched beauty, in a venue suited to the lofty ideals of German Romanticism.

Our May 18, 2:00 p.m. concert will break ground in many respects.  This will be Chorale’s first appearance in The University of Chicago’s Logan Center—and first performance on a concert stage, rather than in a church chancel.  In honor of this secular space and its outstanding pianos, and of the freshness of the season, we will present both sets of Johannes Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes, along with other works celebrating spring and love:  Francs Poulenc’s Les Chemins de l’Amour, with soprano Tambra Black;  Edvard Grieg’s Våren (sung in Nynorsk, no less);  Ralph Vaughan Williams’ arrangement of the Scottish folksong Ca’ the Yowes;  and Jerome Kern’s All the Things You Are, performed in the original version from his musical Very Warm for May.  The many solos in all these pieces will provide Chorale’s fine singers with opportunities to show what they can do outside of a choral context; Kit Bridges will be featured as pianist.

2013-14 will be a reach for Chorale—but a happy reach, featuring music of unimpeachable quality, presented in outstanding venues, performed to Chorale’s usual high standards, with outstanding soloists and instrumental ensembles.   How about purchasing a subscription this year, and joining us for all three concerts?  I'm sure you’ll be glad you did!