May 12, 2013, 3:00pm
Wartburg College Chapel, Waverly, IA
Director: Alice Reid Pruisner
Pianist: Oxana Khramova
This song of mine
by resident composer Joseph Carey
Free Admission - Good Will Donation accepted
Cindy arr. Carol Barnett
This Marriage by Eric Whitacre
Madrigal by Gabriel Fauré
Calling My Children Home arr. Joseph H. Jennings
Va Pensiero from Nabucco by Giuseppe Verdi
The Fiddler arr. Johannes Brahms
Elyse Morris, soprano; Jackie Shatzer, soprano
Loch Lomond arr. Jonathan Quick
Chris Knudson, bass
The Promise of Living from The Tender Land by Aaron Copland
Nick Klemetson, piano
Jauchzet dem Herrn alle Welt by Felix Mendelssohn
Elyse Morris, Rachel Henkle, Amanda Bridges, Sarah Deutsch, Eliott Kranz, John Parezo, James Healy, Chris Knudson
The Old Church by Stephen Paulus
Goodnight God from Earth Prayers by René Clausen
Give Me Jesus arr. Larry L. Fleming
Bright Morning Stars arr. Shawn Kirchner
John Parezo, baritone; Jane Harding, soprano; Kenny Brunner, tenor
Let down the bars, O Death Samuel Barber
This song of mine by Joseph Carey
Stephanie Klemetson, alto; James Healy, baritone; Lucinda Lear, soprano; Eliott Kranz, tenor
Ain'-a That Good News! arr. William L. Dawson
A NOTE FROM THE CONDUCTOR
Coming Home. It’s amazing how such a simple phrase can conjure such complex emotions and have so many different meanings. This Mother’s Day we are exploring four different aspects of home: coming home to the people you love, coming home to the country or place you love, coming home to the comfort of faith and worship, and the ultimate homecoming, death.
Our opening set explores the commitment of love, marriage, and family. Cindy, a traditional American folk song, is an upbeat, humorous profession of love. Our protagonist lists Cindy’s numerous, and occasionally questionable, virtues, and declares he will marry her some day! Madrigal, by French composer Gabriel Fauré, was dedicated to his student, friend, and flatmate, composer André Messager in honor of Messager’s engagement. The text, a rather flippant and slightly risqué battle-of-the-sexes, is indicative of Faure’s sense of humor and the close relationship the two men shared. This Marriage was written by Eric Whitacre as a gift to his wife on their seventh wedding anniversary. We close this set with Calling My Children Home, arranged by Joseph Jennings for the a cappella group Chanticleer. The text, which is about watching your children grow up and leave home, has a poignancy any parent can relate to.
Our next four pieces celebrate a love of country or homeland. Va Pensiero is a chorus taken from Giuseppe Verdi’s 1841 opera Nabucco. Nabucco dramatized the conquering and exile of the Hebrew nation by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. Verdi’s intentions are debatable, but the chorus became an important anthem for the Risogimento, the movement toward Italian unification approximately 1815 - 1870. Next, The Fiddler moves us to Germany. Johannes Brahms was an avid collector of folk tunes and set his favorites nearly 200 times for solo voice and piano, men’s, women’s, and mixed choirs. Loch Lomond , sung by the men of the chorus, is a traditional Scottish folksong written about the aftermath of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s failed uprising in 1745. In the ballad, two men are going home to their loves after battle, but only one is going back alive. The Promise of Living is from American composer Aaron Copland’s only full-length opera, The Tender Land. The opera is about a Midwestern family and their daughter, Laurie, who is graduating high school and planning to leave home. In the opera, this song of gratitude and thanksgiving closes the first act.
The opening song of the second half, Jauchzet dem Herrn alle Welt, Felix Mendelssohn’s setting of Psalm 100, talks of coming home to God - “O go your way into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise!” It is an elegant and powerful combination of homophonic versus polyphonic and tutti chorus versus soli chorus writing. Stephen Paulus’ The Old Church paints a perfect picture of how faith and worship can infuse itself tangibly into a physical space. Listeners are transported to a place where they personally have felt the presence of faith - a cathedral, a sanctuary, a grove of trees, a beloved retreat. Goodnight God, performed by the women of the chorus, is a playful, whimsical setting of a prayer written by 4 1/2 year old Danu Baxter. We transition to our final set with Larry Flemings arrangement of Give Me Jesus, a traditional African-American spiritual. This spiritual affirms that when we are most alone, when we die, and when we are most alive, Jesus is where we are most at home.
Our final set of the concert confronts the ultimate homecoming, death. Bright Morning Stars is a traditional Appalachian folksong. Arranger Shawn Kirchner writes, “I did make one addition to the original lyrics. The original verses ask, in turn, ‘O where are our dear fathers? O where are our dear mothers?’ I added a final verse, in which the long-departed ‘fathers’ and ‘mothers’ have a chance to ask ‘O where are our dear children?’ The response: ‘They’re upon the earth a-dancing.’ I like the image of those who have passed on and those who are yet present upon the earth calling to each other ‘across eternity.’” Samuel Barber’s Let down the bars, O Death is a simple, homophonic setting that enhances Emily Dickinson’s incomparable poetry. About our next song, resident composer Joseph Carey writes, “The main challenge in setting This song of mine was its very personal, first-person nature. I knew that I wanted to write a choral piece based on this text, but I had difficulty with the idea of a whole choir singing the whole text. I chose therefore to have soloists - one from each section - introduce each part of the poem before being joined by the choir as a whole. To me, this connects the highly individual, personal, caring nature of the poem to the broader idea of a supportive, caring community.” Our concert closes with Ain’-a That Good News! a traditional African-American spiritual that celebrates the joy of being reunited with God in heaven.
Thank you so much for joining us today. We hope that you will find a piece of “home” to take away with you.