Choir concert to feature unusual score of works

Devin Burke

Tonight’s Lawrence choir concert will take the established choral ensembles and split them, spread them out, and add to them, presenting the audience with even more of a logistical marvel than they are used to seeing. Double choirs, antiphonal choirs, choirs with soloist or orchestras, and other choral combinations will replace the traditional four-part setting on the program. As always with Lawrence choir concerts, the program will tie together works from a wide variety of styles and times. On a concert that deals with larger or unusually scored works, much of the music is not often performed, so it will be fresh to audiences. The concert begins at 8 pm in the Chapel. The concert begins with “Plaudite,” by Giovanni Gabrieli, who composer who was renowned for his antiphonal works. He wrote for spacious acoustics of St. Mark’s Cathedral, and his settings for multiple choirs and orchestras placed around the room enhanced that effect. The three combined Lawrence choirs will sing this work as three choirs and three orchestras, the orchestras being the Chapel organ, a wind orchestra, and a brass orchestra. It should be a dramatic opening to the program.

The concert will also feature two soloists from the Lawrence faculty, Joanne Bozeman, soprano, and Karen Leigh Post, mezzo soprano. Ms. Bozeman will be singing with the Chorale on a double choir piece by Vivaldi, “Domine ad adiuvandum me festina,” as well as with the Women’s choir on a piece by Lili Boulanger, the sister of famed musician and teacher Nadia Boulanger.

The Women’s Choir will be singing three pieces, including the Boulanger piece called “Les Sirenes,” which is based on the Debussy orchestral work (from his “Nocturnes”) of the same name. As it lucked out, according to David Erb, director of the Women’s choir, all their works originally split off from another work. The Brahms “Einforming ist der Liebe Gram” is based on the oldest double canon, which is called “summer is icumen in,” or “summer is a-coming in” in Old English. The piece is also takes material from the last song of Franz Schubert’s song cycle, “Die Winterreise,” which Matthias Goerne performed here last year as part of the Artist Series.

Ms. Leigh Post will be singing two selections from Georges Bizet’s Carmen, a role that she has performed to acclaim in Europe. These should be familiar to many, and the double choir and soloist is the setting used in the opera itself.

In the last part of the program, the audience will join the combined choirs in singing three well-known spirituals. The concert will then conclude with a new arrangement by Lawrence senior Mike Pfaff for the combined choirs and percussion ensemble. The piece, a setting of traditional Afro-Cuban music called “Language of the Drum,” should make a dramatic ending to a concert of works which break the mold.