Celebrate music’s rich legacy with Masterwork Chorus as it presents Traditions! on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 8:00 pm at the Chatham United Methodist Church, 460 Main Street, Chatham. Led by Music Director Chris Shepard with guest conductor Martin Sedek and virtuoso pianist Carol Walker, the chorus performs music with Latin American, Hebrew, Polish and African-American roots, singing in each culture’s language, with instruments ranging from keyboard to violin to string bass.
Each piece in the program captures a slice of the culture it represents. Ramirez bases his ever-popular Spanish mass, Misa Criolla, on the dance rhythms and melodies of Argentina. Performed with keyboard, guitar and percussion, the music creates scenes of solitude, peace and joy. In Five Hebrew Love Songs sung with violin and piano, Eric Whitacre brings the moving poetry of his Jerusalem-born wife Hila Plitmann to life, while Martin Sedek, in the world premiere of his Three Polish Lullabies, sets three captivating folksongs around a simple tune that his mother hummed as she rocked a child…rock the cradle, go to sleep, hushaby my little one… words passed from generation to generation, and spoken by beloved mothers everywhere.
The African-American tradition has produced a uniquely American inheritance that includes jazz, spirituals and songs of social justice. Songs and Sonnets of Shakespeare by the legendary George Shearing represents the jazz scene in the program. Its syncopated rhythms with plucked string bass make it just impossible to sit still. Moses Hogan’s arrangement of the spiritual Ride On, King Jesus is no less captivating, while the buoyant and energetic Roll Down, Justice written by Mark Miller rises to an explosive climax that sets the rafters ringing. The program concludes with Paul Halley’s unique setting of the Gregorian chant Ubi Caritas which he combines with an African chant originating in Ghana. The music, with its accompanying drums, piano and string bass, rises to a crashing crescendo, and then fades away. The piece concludes with a triple forte Alleluia – for singers and audience alike, that’s what it’s all about.
Purchase tickets at the door or at www.masterwork.org where Chris Shepard’s always masterful program notes are also available.
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