Bringing the music of Europe to Ashland
The Southern Oregon University Chamber Choir and Concert Choir will present an evening of choral master works from France and Germany on — p.m. Sunday, in the SOU Recital Hall.
The SOU Chamber Choir, directed by Dr. Paul French, Music Department Chair and Director of Choral Vocal Studies, will perform a seldom heard psalm setting, "Chantez Gayement," (Singing Merrily) by Renaissance composer Jan Sweelinck, as well as selections from Poulenc's "Sep Chanson." The Concert Choir, conducted by Dr. Fredna Grimland, SOU Director of Music Education, will perform music of Haydn, Mendelssohn, and Brahms as well as "Abendlied" by Josef Rheinberger and "Zigeurnerleben" by Robert Schumann.
The concert will also include a preview of next quarter's June 6 concert of Scottish and Irish music, "My Heart's in the Highlands" with the Chamber Choir performing a folk song arrangement of Robert Burn's poem "The Gallant Weaver" composed by one of Scotland's greatest living composers, James Macmillan.
The SOU Chamber Choir is the most advanced classical ensemble at SOU and is composed of some 40 singers and performs, according to Dr. French, "a varied repertoire of 'high end' choral music, concentrating on smaller works such as individual motets and madrigals." They annually perform at various music festivals and tour throughout the Pacific Northwest and California. The Concert Choir is a larger ensemble of 60-70 singers and performs major choral works such as last terms "Regina Coeli" by Mozart. French stated that "both ensembles have regularly taken part in major symphonic performances with the Rogue Valley Symphony, such as the performance of the 'Brahms Requiem' two years ago." The Chamber Choir was one of only two collegiate choirs to perform at the Oregon Music Educators National Conference several years ago.
"(The singers) must master the intricacies of pitch, rhythm, articulation, tone color as all musicians do. But they must accomplish all of this in 5 or 6 languages," French said.
The Chamber Choir has performed this year in English, Latin, French, Italian, German and Dutch, emphasizing that the "choral repertoire is the largest repertoire of any art music performance medium, thus our singers in a given year perform music from the Renaissance to newly composed music." Commenting on the Concert Choir, Grimland observed that "many of our Concert Choir students are first time singers and working with a foreign language is a challenge. You are reading notes simultaneous with reading new, strange words that, in some cases, are made of sounds uncommon to English. The students do an admirable job working with the challenge."
Tickets are $7 General and $4 for students and seniors and can be purchased from the SOU Music Office (552-6101) or at the door at the SOU Recital Hall.