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09
Jan

We have a wonderful set of soloists for our Mozart Requiem Concert, March 11,12 and 13.They are all highly respected West Coast performing artists, all of whom perform extensively in the Bay Area and beyond. Nikolas Nackley was the baritone soloist for our November Carmina Burana concert.

We have a wonderful group of Bay Area soloists and instrumentalists joining us for this concert: Nikolas Nackley, baritone, the Ragazzi Boys Chorus, pianists Tim Getz and Duane Soubirous, and percussionists Kent Reed, Henry Reed, Connor Carroll, and Patrick McCaffrey. In addition, this concert will feature several BCG members who also regularly solo, both with us and other groups: Vai Rangarajan (soprano) and Steve Kispersky (tenor) will perform in Carmina while Amy Worden (soprano) and Allie Leeper (contralto) will do the honors in Peter Hallock’s Gloria. Photos and bios follow . . . .

05
Mar

"The sun rose on the gold walls of the city of peace. The air bore the cool freshness of spring."

“The sun rose on the gold walls of the city of peace. The air bore the cool freshness of spring.”

The Sun Rose, by Caroline Hinshaw

Music by Caroline Hinshaw, Text from the Gospel accounts of the events of Holy Week

Regulars in our BCG audience have heard the chorus perform works written by local composers, including Sanford Dole, our Artistic Director, as well as pieces written by members of the BCG chorus. In this concert, we are very pleased to be singing The Sun Rose, composed by Caroline Hinshaw, one of our sopranos. This relatively short, highly dramatic piece captures the essence of the experience and emotion of the period between the Last Supper and Easter. Caroline wrote the following description of the inspiration and development of the work.

The Sun Rose is the outcome of my search to experience the events of the period that the Christian Church observes as the “Triduum”, the time from Maundy Thursday (the Last Supper) to Easter. In Lent in about 2000, having been a church musician for decades, I found myself feeling strangely disconnected and wanted, even viscerally, to participate in the events of the end of Holy Week.

12
Feb

Alberto Ginastera and The Lamentations of Jeremiah

Music by Alberto Ginastera, Text from the Book of Lamentations

AlbertoGinastera

The program Sanford Dole has developed for our March concert includes a variety of works. As you might expect, the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Sanford, in addition to being BCG’s artistic director, has been Music Director at St. Gregory of Nyssa Church in San Francisco for over 20 years. For this concert, he has chosen anthems, highlights, that the St. Gregory’s choir has sung at various Holy Week services over the years of his tenure. To quote Sanford:

“It occurred to me that the arc of emotions that are expressed across the week, starting with the exhilarating Hallelujahs expressed on Palm Sunday through the intimacy of a small gathering on Maundy Thursday and the sadness of the arrest and execution of Christ on Good Friday, followed by the awe and jubilation of Easter music would make for a satisfying program.”

Sonnets of Desire, Longing and Whimsy

Music by Stacy Garrop, Poetry by Edna St. Vincent Millay  (1892–1950)

Stacy Garrop, Composer

Stacy Garrop, Composer

Sonnets of Desire, Longing and Whimsy is the fourth set of a large song cycle Stacy Garrop is writing using sonnets by Edna St. Vincent Millay, the sonnets all being explorations of different aspects of love. Set to Garrop’s music, this poetry becomes dramatic and intensely emotional sound paintings. I had no idea what to expect when we started rehearsing for this concert. But I have been amazed at what happens when thoughtful, creative and accomplished composers combine their genius with wonderful poetry. The musical/poetic experience is riveting, especially so with this set of songs.

If you are interested in delving deeper into how a particular composer composes, Justin W. Durham has written a very long PhD dissertation on Garrop – see link below. It is a in-depth analysis of her composition process and the musical form of her work.

Songs of the Spirit:

Poetry by William Blake, Music by Nancy Wertsch

One of our soprano choristers, Padma Rangarajan, is a Romanticist who studied Blake. She was kind enough to provide the following discussion of William Blake and the four poems which are the text for Songs of the Spirit. The illustrations accompanying the text below were created by Blake as illustrations for the books of poetry mentioned below that he himself published.