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Sunday Concert Preview

The Fall Concert is just one day away. So, here are a few brief notes from Dr. Roberson about the program on Sunday.

Tshotsholoza, arranged by Jeffery Ames, is a traditional South African freedom song reminiscent of what was sung by the ancient miners who worked in South Africa’s diamond and gold mines. This song is regarded as the “unofficial” anthem of South Africa and was used in the soundtrack for the film Invictus. This arrangement uses a call and response style with a tenor soloist followed by the rest of the choir.

Abendlied is Josef Rheinberger’s most well-known sacred choral work. Although this Liechtensteiner organist was a Romantic era composer, this a cappella motet resembles Renaissance polyphony with its six-voice setting of Luke 24:29 and its constant change in texture with each new phrase of text.

The Parting Glass, arranged by Desmond Earley, is a traditional Scottish ballad with an interesting background. The tune that is known so well today is actually an Irish tune that was combined with the Scottish lyrics. Each verse concludes with “Goodnight and joy by with you all” which was the original title of the song before it went through a series of different publications and the lyrics known today were put with the tune. This arrangement uses a beautiful solo melody for each of its three verses supported by full, rich harmonies in the choir.

Joseph Haydn’s Te Deum was written between 1799-1800 for Empress Marie Therese, wife of Franz I of Austria. It is a multi-sectional work using the traditional Latin hymn, “Te Deum laudamus” translating to ‘We praise thee, O God.” Haydn’s setting of this text is a joyful, boisterous, first allegro section in C major, followed by a very brief adagio homophonic section in the parallel minor, and then returns to C major in the concluding allegro moderato in which he adds a fugal section before bringing the work to a triumphant ending.

The Awakening by Joseph Martin is a dramatic, multi-sectional piece that describes a psychological journey of someone who dreamed of a world without beauty and without music, but then fortunately awakes knowing that there is music in the world, shouting their praise, “Let music live!”

The Road Home by Stephen Paulus uses a tune he adapted from the book of shape-note hymns, The Southern Harmony Songbook,1835. Paulus described the tune as a “haunting melody,” partly because it uses a pentatonic scale. The text by Michael Dennis Browne describes a universal theme of returning or coming home to something or someone held dear.

Flight Song by Norwegian composer Kim André Arnesen describes the beauty of music through metaphors of flight. The contour of the melody and supporting harmonies illustrates this idea through different textures and exquisite phrasing.

Worthy To Be Praised, by Byron J. Smith opens with a traditional hymn-like style and then breaks into a driving gospel feel that both singers and audience members will love.

Finally, I'll leave you with a brief bit of Abendlied. We look forward to seeing you on Sunday!

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