On April 23 and 26, 2015, Grace Chorale of Brooklyn performed with the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Nicholas Armstrong in a concert entitled "Twentieth Century British Choral Masterpieces."
Two pieces by 20th century British composers were presented in the Beaux Arts Court at The Brooklyn Museum of Art: Belshazzar's Feast, a cantata by William Walton, and Ritual Dances by Michael Tippett.
Belshazzar's Feast, remains one of William Walton's most celebrated masterpieces, a dramatic, monumental work that vividly depicts Babylon's excesses and subsequent downfall.
Ritual Dances, with music and libretto by Michael Tippett, is a work extracted from The Midsummer Marriage – Tippet's highly regarded opera in three acts. In the words of one reviewer: "A tonal pallette that most can only dream of."
The Baritone Soloist, Christopher Dylan Herbert, was exceptional. Our Music Director Jason Asbury joined the chorale as a singer, while Nicholas Armstrong, Artistic Director of the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra, took the baton.
It was a tough Venue with high Reverb...but here are couple of clips:
For our annual Winter Concert of the 2014-2015 season, Grace Chorale of Brooklyn presented a program of music for Chorus and String Quartet.
The performances were held on Friday, January 23 at St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Brooklyn Heights, Saturday, January 24 at All Saints Episcopal Church in Park Slope, NY, and Sunday, January 25 at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in Fort Greene.
Ludwig van Beethoven's Elegischer Gesang, Op. 118 represents his late infatuation with the string quartet genre. The halting delivery of these tender words by an anonymous poet recalls some of Mozart’s heartbreaking arias, while also looking forward to Beethoven’s later style in which musical ideas are allowed to develop freely, without the constraint of standard Classical forms and phrasing.
"Five Hebrew Love Songs" by Eric Whitacre was conceived as a set of troubadour songs based on a text by Hila Plitmann who was born and raised in Jerusalem. They are laced with overtones of friendship, discovery, and love and explore harmonies with somewhat full choral and instrumental accompaniment.
Veronika Krausas' "Language of the Birds" was inspired by the San Francisco artist Brian Goggin’s site-specific sculptural installation, The Language of the Birds, which he created with Dorka Keehn. The installation is an illuminated flock of twenty-three translucent, suspended open books with bindings positioned to simulate the wings of birds in flight. Words, taken from books by neighborhood authors are scattered and embedded in the plaza as if the words have fallen from the pages.
Grace Chorale was thrilled to continue its commission series of works by local composers with Three Joyce Poems. In the words of its Brooklyn-based composer, Vince Peterson: "Three Joyce Poems is a reflection on fictional and non-fictional matters. The fiction is the digest of a man in love who goes to meet his intended in the woods, all the while his instincts ringing with ominous warnings about falling in love. After he gives himself to his beloved, the two quickly realize that, like all things in life, love is transitory, living "but a day." In other words, fall in love at your own risk, and if you choose to do so, embrace it for the moments of joy it gives to you, rather than focusing on looming heartache. Joyce is a master of this sentiment in these beautiful texts from his incomparable "Chamber Music" - a set of thirty three poems - all in this vein. The non-fictional matter is one of homage to my late teacher and friend, Conrad Susa, who in the course of his life, managed to set all thirty three of Joyce's poems in a series of three cycles. Though I can only hope to hold a candle to Conrad's genius, I know that the universality of these wonderful texts lends itself well to multiple styles and interpretations - something that my good teacher would have always celebrated."
Ola Gjielo's "Luminous Night of the Soul" uses a text by Charles Anthony Silvestri as well as a stanza from the St. John of the Cross’ poem. In his composition, Ola features the piano prominently, not just as generic, unassuming accompaniment, but as an equal partner to the choir, aided and supported by the string quartet
Luminous Night - A Concert for Chorus and String Quartet was made possible with public funds from the Decentralization Program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered in Kings County by Brooklyn Arts Council.
On the weekend of November 22-23, Grace Chorale of Brooklyn performed Cavalleria rusticana by Pietro Mascagni in collaboration with the String Orchestra of Brooklyn. The performances were held at St. Ann and The Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn Heights...read the reviews here.
A tale of cuckoldry and revenge starring:
Santuzza (Sarah Hetzel)
Turiddu (Alex Richardson)
Lola (Joan Peitscher)
Turiddu’s mother, Lucia (Kirsten Sollek)
Lola’s husband, Alfio (Richard Lippold)
Direction by Sam Helfrich.
In a season of polar vortexes and startling snowfall amounts, it was sometimes hard to imagine that spring would ever come again. But just as the unseen forces brought the crocuses and daffodils, the voices of Grace & Spiritus Chorale of Brooklyn burst forth on May 2 and 3 in concert performances of Carmina Burana by Carl Orff at the Church of St. Ann and the Holy Trinity.
A perennial audience favorite, Orff’s masterpiece is a cantata based on 24 medieval poems in both Latin and Middle High German. Written in 1936, the text is lusty, dealing with timeless themes of love, sex, drinking, gambling, fate and fortune. The music is, by turns, boisterous and hypnotic, and has been featured in numerous films and at least one notorious faux Super Bowl commercial.
Soloists Peter Clark (Baritone), Anthony Webb (Tenor) and Louise Sullivan (Soprano) accompanied by three percussionists and two pianists joined the chorale to standing ovations from our largest audiences yet! On Saturday night, almost three hundred music lovers filled St. Ann's (including the balconies).
Listen in below:
The theme for winter 2014 was Music of Mid-Winter, which was brought to life with three works. The program featured a Cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach, a song cycle by the American composer, Morten Lauridsen (b. 1943), and a commissioned piece by Brooklyn composer, Lainie Fefferman (b. 1982). These three pieces presented the winter theme from a variety of perspectives.The first half featured a cantata, Sie warden aus Saba alle kommen, BWV 65, by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), which was composed in 1724. Bach’s skillful use of counterpoint expresses the essence of the high Baroque period. The familiar harmonic language of this Baroque masterpiece served as a launching pad for the more contemporary works that followed.
The cantata was followed by newly commissioned work, And how was your day today?, by Brooklyn’s own Lainie Fefferman. Grace & Spiritus has been committed to commissioning new works each season, and Ms. Fefferman's unique and challenging piece seeks to reproduce the emotional arc of a typical work day over the span of twelve short movements.
The concert concluded with a performance of a song cycle, Mid-Winter Songs, by the American composer, Morten Lauridsen (b. 1943). Lauridsen has emerged as one of the leading choral composers of our time. Mid-Winter Songs, a choral cycle set to poems by Robert Graves, is rich in classical allusion, and takes winter (or, in two cases, imply winter – winter about to come, winter just gone) as their setting. Lauridsen’s rich and accessible harmonic language brings these dramatic texts to life in imaginative ways.
The Missa Solemnis in D major, Op. 123 was composed by Ludwig van Beethoven from 1819 to 1823. The work was dedicated to Archduke Rudolf of Austria, archbishop of Olmutz, Beethoven's foremost patron as well as pupil and friend. The work was intended for performance at the ceremony of the archbishop’s installation, but it was not completed in time.Read More
Grace and Spiritus Chorale of Brooklyn is presenting three settings of the Latin mass from three continents. Since the Ordinary of the Roman mass was codified in the early11th century, composers have developed musical settings to function within the liturgy.Read More
Our 35th anniversary concert celebrates the music of composers who have a connection to Brooklyn. Aaron Copland and George Gershwin were born here. Benjamin Britten found refuge here during World War II. The living composers featured on the program are organists, music directors, orchestrators, teachers and professors who continue to be shaped by Brooklyn’s dynamic cultural forces.
Giacomo Carissimi (1605-1674) was appointed maestro di capella at the German College in Rome at age 24, an appointment he held until his death. Although he became famous for his vocal compositions, both liturgical and non-liturgical, he is still celebrated for his crucial work in the development of the oratorio. The oratorio was the church’s response to the public’s growing infatuation with genre of opera, which was banned during the season of Lent. His masterpiece, Jephte, reflects the pioneering elements of the genre, which applied operatic techniques without staging and costumes.Read More