|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 11, 2017||CONTACT: Diana Landau|
Chatham Chorale presents “Baroque Fireworks!”
Celebratory Music for Chorus, Vocal Soloists, and Orchestra
Chatham, MA / October 11, 2017 – The Chatham Chorale, under the direction of Joseph Marchio, ignites its 47th season later this month with a program of “Baroque Fireworks,” showcasing music by Handel, Purcell, and Bach. The Chorale also unites with musicians around the world to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation by featuring Bach’s great Cantata 80, Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott. An orchestra chosen for the Baroque repertoire joins the Chorale, along with a quartet of acclaimed vocal soloists. Performances are on Saturday, October 28, at 7 pm, and Sunday, October 29, at 3 pm, both at the Monomoy Performing Arts Center, Monomoy Regional High School in Harwich.
“Our orchestra starts off these concerts by playing the Overture from Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks,” says Music Director Joe Marchio. “That piece was really the spark for this program, with its brilliant explosions of sound—Handel’s sonic portrayal of a fireworks display. So much of the music from this era is celebratory in nature, and sparkles musically as well.”
Baroque composers were called on to create music for diverse occasions: victory in war, the signing of peace treaties, royal birthdays … or just to entertain a monarch out for an evening on the water. And whether the tone was lighthearted, martial, or soothing, it was music designed to please. Besides the “Fireworks” overture, examples on the program include selections from Handel’s Ode for St. Cecelia’s Day (“The Trumpet’s Loud Clangour”), his oratorio Alexander’s Feast, and of course his famous “Water Music” suites, written for King George I’s sunset cruise down the Thames in 1717; as well as Henry Purcell’s “Come, ye Sons of Art” from his Ode for Queen Mary’s Birthday.
Some of our profoundest sacred music also comes from the Baroque era, especially from Johann Sebastian Bach, who is represented on the program by two of his greatest cantatas. BWV 80, Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, is being performed often this October, because it was in October of 1517 that Martin Luther published his famous “98 Theses,” launching the Protestant Reformation. Bach’s cantata, composed around Luther’s famous hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” commemorates that event. BWV 50, Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft (“Now is come salvation and strength”), is a gorgeously complex movement for double chorus, thought to be part of a lost cantata and written to celebrate St. Michael’s Day.
All of this music calls for great virtuosity on the part of the chorus, instrumentalists, and especially the soloists, and audiences will be privileged to hear some of the best young singers currently performing this repertoire. Soprano Ilana Davidson, heard this summer with the Chatham Chorale Chamber Singers at the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, is a Grammy Award–winning artist whose repertoire spans the 12th through the 21st centuries, and opera to oratorio; she has appeared with major orchestras and opera companies internationally. The versatile mezzo soprano Krista River was hailed by the New York Times for her “shimmering voice … the virtuosity of a violinist and the expressivity of an actress.” Based in Boston, she is regular soloist with Emmanuel Music’s renowned Bach Cantata Series. Tenor Charles Blandy, also a regular at Emmanuel, performs the Baroque repertoire at major venues around the country, and his “clear, focused, gorgeous tenor voice” has been heard in many opera roles. Baritone Ryne Cherry, another Boston-based opera, oratorio, and ensemble singer, has been praised for his “velvety tone” (examiner.com) and dramatic interpretations. He too was heard in this summer’s concert of Rossini’s Petite Messe Solonelle with the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival.
“I’m especially thrilled that we’ve been able to assemble a full Baroque orchestra for these performances,” says Marchio. “Some of the scores call for three trumpets and three oboes, and the effect is so exciting.” Holding down the keyboard part in the all-important Baroque continuo passages will be longtime Chorale accompanist and Cape Symphony member Donald Enos.
Chatham Chorale is one of Cape Cod’s longest-established choral ensembles, for 47 years presenting an annual concert series with programs ranging from choral masterworks to Broadway, pops stylings, and premieres of new works by regional composers. The Chorale also regularly collaborates with the Cape Symphony—for example, in the annual Holiday Pops concerts—and sings in service to the community.
Tickets ($25 open/$30 reserved) can be purchased at www.chathamchorale.org/tickets, by phone (774-212-9333) or at the door the day of the concert. Students and those under 18 admitted free with a ticket; call the number above. For more information, visit www.chathamchorale.org.