Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ensembles Combine for Holiday Concert

 Schubert’s Magnificat, Corelli’s Christmas Concerto and sacred music of the season highlight a combined holiday concert by the Humboldt Symphony, University Singers and Humboldt Chorale on Friday December 12 and Sunday December 14 in Fulkerson Recital Hall.

 The concert’s climax is Franz Schubert’s “Magnificat,” performed by all three ensembles. Also known as the song of Mary and taken from the Gospel of Luke, the Magnificat has been set to music by many composers, from Bach and Vivaldi to Rachmaninoff and John Rutter.  One version or another is often performed in the Christmas season.

 “The string section carries the orchestral part,” said Humboldt Symphony conductor Paul Cummings. “The piece is almost all full ensemble choral singing, though there’s a lovely passage for solo voices that’s very melodic, typical of Schubert.”

 On its own the Symphony performs the Christmas Concerto by Baroque composer Arcangelo Corelli. It is Corelli’s best-known work for strings, which he requested be played on Christmas Eve. “Parts of the melody may be familiar,” Cummings said, “since it is heard at this time of year. Besides strings, it is scored for harpsichord, and we’re using a real one, not a synthesizer.”

 The orchestra also performs the fast-changing “Four Little Pieces” by contemporary composer Karel Husa, and the melodic Holberg Suite by Edvard Grieg.

 The Humboldt Chorale begins the concert with sacred music by 20th century French composer Gabriel Faure and contemporary American composer James Kantor, as well as a traditional American Christmas spiritual. The Chorale is a community group directed for the first time by Elisabeth Harrington.

 The University Singers, directed by Harley Muilenburg, perform contemporary British composer John Rutter’s “Gloria,” a celebratory section of the Mass based on Gregorian chant.

 The three ensembles also collaborate on two carols to end the concert: “How far is it to Bethlehem?” and “Still, still, still,” both originally arranged for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

The combined holiday concert by Humboldt Symphony, University Singers and Humboldt Chorale is performed on Friday December 12 and Sunday December 14 at 8 p.m. in the Fulkerson Recital Hall at HSU in Arcata. Tickets are $8 general, $5 seniors and children, and free to HSU students, from the HSU Box Office (826-3928) or at the door.  Concert produced by HSU Music Department.

Media: Mad River Union, Humboldt State Now

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