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A joyful concert filled with spirited and inspiring music from both classical and contemporary composers

March 27 2021

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Our celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Great Falls Symphonic Choir continues with our joyful Jubilee concert, filled with spirited and inspiring music from classical composers Handel, Rossini, Fauré and Brahms, as well as contemporary composers Morten Lauridsen and John David. 

George Friederic Handel’s high energy “Let their celestial concerts all unite” opens the program. The Choir’s glorious voices soar in an excerpt from the Baroque composer’s three-act oratorio Samson, considered one of his finest dramatic works. Handel, who was German, spent the bulk of his career in London where he became well known for his operas, anthems, organ concertos and oratorios–large-scale musical works for orchestra and voices. 

Gioachino Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle (Little solemn mass) was written more than 30 years after he had retired–still in his 30s–after composing his 39 operas. He described the piece as “the last of my peches de viellesse,” (sins of old age). The concert excerpts feature parts of the liturgical text of the mass including Kyrie, Preludio religioso, Ritomello/Sanctus and Gloria in excelsis/et in terra pax/cum sancto spiritu. The Gloria, considered the most Baroque of Biblical texts, conjures up images of a swirling multitude of angels’ joyful announcement of the birth of Jesus. 

The choir will present excerpts from Gabriel Fauré’s Cantique de Jean Racine. The prizewinning sacred work is a paraphrase of a Latin hymn.

Johannes Brahms once complained that “Songs today have gone so far astray that one cannot cling too closely to one’s ideal, and that ideal is the folk song.” The composer put 70 of his 200 compositions in folk-song settings with the simplicity of melody and rhythm characteristic of German Folk music. 

Morten Johannes Lauridsen is an American composer who was named “An American Choral Master” by the National Endowment for the Arts and who received the National Medal of Arts “for his composition of radiant choral works combining musical beauty, power and spiritual depth that have thrilled audiences worldwide.” Dirait-on was designed in the style of a French folk song inspired by Ravel and Debussy. “I get emails from people who say ‘I love this song (but) how do I get it out of my mind,’” Lauridsen said. “And I write them back and say, ‘There is no cure. It was designed to go into your mind and never leave.’”

Welsh rock musician John David’s You are the New Day is a secular song, written in 1975, that reflects a time when personal difficulties and threats to world peace caused him to look for hope within himself.

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