Music Across Borders
Baroque and Contemporary Eastern European Choral Works
The award-winning music organization Crescendo offers its second program of the fall 2022 season, featuring Baroque and contemporary European Vocal music from the Baltics and Eastern Europe. The Crescendo Chorus, national and international soloists, accompanied by a period instrument orchestra with strings, natural trumpets and basso continuo will present these rarely heard festive Baroque and hauntingly beautiful choral works.
This program takes us beyond the borders of the countries we normally associate with great Baroque music: Italy, Germany and France, the home of beloved composers such as Bach, Handel, Vivaldi and Lully. Transcending these borders, we will embark on a musical journey discovering how the Baroque style became a transnational cultural phenomenon, as composers constantly forged new connections among diverse cultural centers across borders.
The Baroque works for chorus and instruments are “Laetatus sum” and “Completorium” by ‘The Polish Handel,’ Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki, “Psalm 100” by Johann Adam Hiller (Poland, Latvia), “Confiderunt in Domine” by Kryštof Harant (Czechia), and “Laudetur Jesus Christus” by Bohuslav Matěj Černohorský (Czechia). Two Baroque solo works are Jan Dismas Zelenka’s (Czechia) “Christe eleison” ZWV 29, sung by countertenor Nicholas Tamagna, who is visiting the U.S., and was recently acclaimed in the European press as a stellar singer with “a large vocal range, from brilliant highs to rock-solid low notes” in his role as Timagne in Leonardo Vinci‘s “Alessandro nell‘Indie“ at Markgräfliches Opernhaus in Bayreuth, Germany; and “Jubilate Deo omnis terra” by Johann Valentin Meder (Latvia), sung by bass-baritone Peter Becker, who has performed on stages throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia, and South America. The Baroque works will be contrasted with contemporary a cappella vocal works by an award-winning young composer, who is at the forefront of contemporary choral music: Ēriks Ešenvalds of Latvia. His work “Stars,” based on a poem by Sara Teasdale, is accompanied with seldom-heard tuned musical glasses and Tibetan bowls. Other contemporary works are sacred motets by Paweł Łukaszewski of Poland and Zdeněk Lukáš of Czechia. A tribute to the rich choral tradition of the Ukraine will be “Ukrainian Alleluia” (2007) by the American composer Craig Courtney. He describes his work as: “A musical portrayal of a quiet voice of faith, praise and hope in the midst of suffering.”
The performers are soprano Christina Kay (New York City) and Jordan Rose Lee (Norfolk, CT), countertenors Nicholas Tamagna (Oldenburg, Germany) and Augustine Mercante (Philadelphia), tenor Dan Foster (Troy, NY), and bass-baritone Peter Becker (New York City). The Crescendo Chorus, and a period instrument orchestra of brass, timpani, strings, and basso continuo will be conducted by Crescendo’s Founding Artistic Director Christine Gevert.
Performances are on Saturday, October 29, 2022 at 4 pm at Trinity Church, 484 Lime Rock Rd., Lakeville, CT, and Sunday, October 30, 2022 at 4pm at Saint James Place, 352 Main St., Great Barrington, MA. Tickets are $40 general admission, $75 premium (preferential seating), and $10 for youth under 18 years. For more information and tickets: www.crescendomusic.org.
Founded by Artistic Director Christine Gevert and local supporters, Crescendo offers an ongoing program of music performance and education for the communities of Connecticut’s Northwest Corner, the Berkshires and the Mid-Hudson Valley. With the participation of international performers and teachers as well as non-professionals, Crescendo’s choral and instrumental concerts, its lectures and workshops reach audiences of all ages and levels of experience.
Audience members and staff must be properly masked once inside the performance venue. Performers are fully vaccinated, and will be testing for several days leading up to the performance. These policies are subject to change. Access online ticket sales and the full Covid precaution policy in the most updated version on Crescendo’s website: crescendomusic.org.
For these concerts support has been provided to Crescendo from CT Humanities (CTH), with funding provided by the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA) from the Connecticut State Legislature.