The semester is almost over, and it’s time for the final concert of the season for BYU Singers and Concert Choir. The concert is this Thursday and Friday in the de Jong Concert Hall at BYU.
As is my custom, I’ve written a few unofficial program notes to help you prepare for the concert if you’re planning to come. The Concert Choir will be performing three sets, which are as follows:
This magnificent piece was composed by Leonard Bernstein for a choir and orchestra. The version we are performing is his Bernstein’s own reduction to organ, harp, and percussion. It is a setting of six psalms, divided into three movements. The music itself will likely be quite foreign to you. It combines many modern and symbolic elements into a production that is sometimes jarring and sometimes overwhelmingly beautiful. Sister Hall will give a short lecture demonstration before we sing the piece (which itself is about 15 minutes long). The demonstration will point out various elements, themes, and constructions that you can listen for to better appreciate the piece. If you want to get a head start, I highly recommend reading the Wikipedia article. It does a good job of explaining the background and structure. Familiarizing yourself with the psalms texts that are used will also help you understand the setting.
Light and Darkness
This set will include three pieces:
- Illumina le Tenebre - A haunting, ethereal setting of a prayer by St. Francis of Assisi. We premiered this piece in our concert in the Tanner Building in January.
- Song to the Moon - A choral adaption of an operatic aria by Dvorak. Very typical of Romantic style and content.
- Summer Suns are Glowing - Praise for the beauty of creation as summer arrives with all its splendor.
Also includes three pieces:
- Little Elegy - An elegy to a dearly beloved person who has departed, leaving the world never to be the same.
- There Will Be Stars - Set by Frank Tichelli (who will be familiar to those of you acquainted with band repertoire), this poem tells of the constancy of the stars, even amidst the changing world.
- If You Were Coming in the Fall - This song is a setting of the first four stanzas of a poem by Emily Dickinson. It is about someone who is absent; the speaker can only hope that sometime—perhaps soon, perhaps not—that loved one will return. But she has no certainty of it.
I love the music we’ve been preparing and hope you will enjoy it as much as I do!