2017-18 Repertoire Overview
Thanks for visiting! Here you can learn more about the composers and repertoire we will be singing this season. We hope to see you at some or all of our upcoming concerts. Click here to go back to the concert calendar anytime.
June 21, 2018: Mainly Mozart Festival --Mozart's Thamos, King of Egypt, Incidental Music, K. 345 (336a)
Hardly anything is known about how this opera by Mozart came into being. It is based on a play by Tobias Freiherr von Gebler. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed the stage music in 1773. Most likely, it premiered in April 1774 at the Kärntnertor Theatre in Vienna and was not a big success.
The opera by Mozart, however, is in tune with the contemporary fashion of Mozart’s time: Egypt was en vogue. But freemasonry and the ideals of enlightenment influenced the work, perhaps one of the reasons why Mozart - who was later to become a freemason - was attracted to the material. The play “Thamos, King of Egypt” is the last in a series of twelve by Gebler.
The story of this heroic drama is set in the city of the sun, Heliopolis, in 3000 BC and tells the fate of the ancient Egyptian king Menes and his son Thamos - a political play full of intrigues, love, murder and mysticism.
Read more about Thamos, King of Egypt here.
Lauridsen composed the requiem Lux Aeterna in 1997, the year his mother died. She was the “muse” who introduced him to music, playing swing jazz and singing to him as a toddler. She also taught him to play the piano. The consolation for grief offered by Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna is often compared to that of Fauré’s Requiem and Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, both works inspired by the deaths of the composers’ mothers. These works also have in common a deceptive simplicity, yet their capacity to touch the listener reveals mastery at expressing through music the depth of human emotion.
Read more about Lux Aeterna here.
Brown's Vidi Aquam was a commissioned work for mixed chorus and piano, with brief solo sections featuring mezzo and baritone. The work was premiered by the Da Camera Singers at Helen Hills Hills Chapel on January 20, 2012. The title comes from the chant that he incorporates into the setting of his text. The composer states: “The chant Vidi Aquam was a natural choice as a framing device for two reasons: firstly, the text of Vidi Aquam speaks to the notion of "sola fide" . . . secondly, the recurring images of water within the translator’s introduction invited connections to a chant with water as its main image.”
Read more about Greg Brown and Vidi Aquam here.
Miserere (full title: Miserere mei, Deus, Latin for "Have mercy on me, O God") is a setting of Psalm 51 (50) by Italian composer Gregorio Allegri. It was composed during the reign of Pope Urban VIII, probably around 1638, for use in the Sistine Chapel during matins, as part of the exclusive Tenebrae service on Holy Wednesday and Good Friday of Holy Week. Miserere is written for two choirs, one of five and one of four voices, and is an example of Renaissance polyphony. One of the choirs sings a simple version of the original Miserere chant; the other, spatially separated, sings an ornamented commentary on this.
Read more about Miserere here.
October 7: "Bending Borders"--music of George Frideric Handel and Nico Muhly.
Handel's Dixit Dominus (completed April 1707): a psalm setting of Psalm 110, using Latin text. There are 9 movements written for 5-part chorus, five soloists, strings and continuo. Handel was just 22 years old at the time of composing this work in Italy. "Dixit Dominus" literally means "The Lord Said." Throughout the music there are many examples of word painting where Handel uses the music to imitate the text.
Read more about Dixit Dominus here.
Muhly's Bright Mass with Canons (2005): the piece was written for John Scott and the choir of St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in New York City. A "canon" is a musical counterpoint style of melodic imitation that has its roots in music as far back as the Middle Ages and Renaissance times. Canons come in many varieties and styles which you can read more about here. In Bright Mass with Canons you will hear musical similarities to the styles of early English composers like William Bryd and Thomas Weelkes, but there are also more contemporary takes on the style as well.
Read more about Bright Mass with Canons here.