Choral Union to Perform Advent Music

Choral Union to Perform Advent Music

11/19/2013 

SUNY Cortland’s Choral Union will present a concert of “Music for Advent” at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3.

The concert begins at 8 p.m. in the United Presbyterian Church at 25 Church St. in Cortland.

Presented by the College’s Performing Arts Department, the concert is free and open to the public.

Conductor and artistic director Stephen B. Wilson has selected five works to celebrate the end-of-the-year holidays.

The concert will begin with “Machet die Tore Weit” (“Open Wide the Gates”) by Georg Philipp Telemann. This dazzling gem features choral singing in the outer movements, with solos by Andrea Herzog-O’Hara, soprano, Dominick Fantacone, tenor, and Emmanuel Sikora, baritone in the inner sections. Elizabeth Martin, Haley Georgia, and Chuck Feiszli are also featured soloists in the first movement.

The gentle lullaby, “The Shepherds’ Farewell to the Holy Family,” from “L’Enfance du Christ” by Hector Berlioz follows next. The chorus sings in hushed tones so as not to waken the sleeping Child as the family flees to avoid Herod’s murderous wrath.

The joyous “For Unto Us a Child Is Born,” by Heinrich Schuetz, will follow. This highly polyphonic setting of the text made so famous by Handel in his “Messiah” lends a whole new brilliance to the emotion expressed by the believers who sing it. The work starts simply and increases gradually in density and intensity until the climax of the final page.

Cortland native Sikora will then conduct his own arrangement of the well-known Advent hymn “Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates.” Arranged specifically for the Choral Union for this performance, the young composer has written for divided mixed chorus, to be sung without accompaniment.

The performance will end with Franz Schubert’s “Magnificat in C,” a seldom-heard piece by the famous early romantic composer. Written at the age of 19, Schubert’s genius is already apparent in many sections of the piece. Composed in three movements, the text is the famous response by Mary after the Annunciation that she will bear the Christ child. The middle movement, a gently lyrical song, features the solo quartet of Barbara Jo Williams, soprano; student Mary Colomaio, alto; Jim Ulrich, tenor; and Douglas Hatch, bass.

Noted pianist and harpsichordist Alan Giambattista will provide accompaniment for the performance.

For more information, contact Wilson at 607-753-4615.


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