A Jubilant Song

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Tonight, a few of my gang are heading out the see Voces Novae et Antiquae in concert. Tonight’s program, A Jubilant Song, presents compositions solely by American composers—American compsers setting texts by American poets, to boot.

(More below the bump.)

A program of modern American Masters– like no other! Voces Novae et Antiquae will present the words of great American poets Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, e.e. cummings, Carl Sandburg, Walt Whitman, and Henry David Thoreau in settings by Randall Thompson (his Frostiana suite), Samuel Barber (Dickinson’s Let Down the Bars, O Death), Vincent Persichetti (Four Cummings Choruses), Philip Glass (very early settings of 3 texts by Carl Sandburg), Norman Dello Joio (his exuberant and virtuosic Whitman setting A Jubilant Song), and VNA Artistic Director Robert Ross (a reprise of his setting of Robert Frost’s Departmental). A special feature of this concert will be an interactive audience presentation of a brand new work by Mr. Ross (on words of Henry David Thoreau and Psalm 131 in Hebrew and English) in two completely different forms, after which the audience will be asked to vote as to which form of the new piece they prefer.

Tonight’s show is 8 P.M. at the First Presbyterian Church on 21st & Walnut. The program will also be performed Sunday at 4 P.M. at the Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial (719 Catharine St.)

It turns out I know a couple of the choir’s members through church, but that’s not actually what led me to decide to go. It was a much simpler process: I ran into Voces’ director at a reception some weeks ago, and he handed me a brochure. Once I saw the organizing conceit and hints at the actual program, I knew I had to get there.

You see, one of my own specialties as a solo recitalist way-back-when was vocal settings of English & American lit. I also had my fair share of that work in choirs. I love Thompson’s Frostiana, and although I’m more familiar with Persichetti’s cummings settings for women’s choir, I look forward to hearing his text-setting work for mixed choir.

We’re preceding the concert with dinner at Erawan, so all in all, I’m looking forward to a lovely Friday evening.

Image credit: Voces Novae et Antiquae

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