Pacific Chorale Artistic Director Robert Istad will lead the 100-voice Berkshire Choral International chorus in a performance of the Duruflé Requiem and Mozart’s Coronation Mass Saturday, July 7 at 7:30pm.
The Horizon Symphony Orchestra will accompany the chorus at Meng Concert Hall on the campus of California State University-Fullerton. Soloists for this performance are soprano Andrea Zomorodian, mezzo-soprano Jane Shim, tenor Nicholas Preston, and baritone James M. Schaefer, baritone.
Istad became artistic director of the Pacific Chorale in 2016. He is also Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at CSUF. He was recognized as the university’s 2016 Outstanding Professor of the Year.
Berkshire Choral International is in its 37th season of producing concerts for amateur choristers in the US and abroad; this is their premiere appearance in southern California. BCI is a unique way of learning and singing choral music in a rich and artistically stimulating setting. The philosophy is that choral music is best when it is studied, absorbed, discussed and mulled over by choristers and conductors together in total immersion. Singers come from all over the world to spend one week rehearsing and learning together, culminating in a concert including symphony orchestra and renowned soloists.
The performance in Fullerton is BCI’s third of the 2018 season, having completed concert weeks in Baltimore, MD, and Saratoga Springs, NY. A week in Newcastle, England, with a performance at the historic Durham Cathedral completes the season.
Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986) said that the melodies in the Requiem are “based exclusively on themes from the Gregorian funeral mass. Sometimes I adopted the music exactly, leaving the orchestra to support or comment, in other passages [the chant] served merely as a stimulus.” Classical music editor Russell Platt called the Requiem “a luxuriant harmonic bath.”
The Mozart Mass in C Major is familiarly known as the Coronation Mass, though it wasn’t written for a coronation. Composed in 1779 for the archbishop of Salzburg, the work was, however, performed posthumously at two coronations in 1791 (for Leopold II of Prague) and 1792 (Francis I of Austria). The short work, attributed to the archbishop’s restrictions on length, still manages to combine the celebratory and the dramatic, the contemplative and the majestic.
Lauded for its outstanding acoustics, the 800-seat Vaughncille Joseph Meng Concert Hall engages the listener with its subtleties and unobstructed sound. It is the largest performance space in the Clayes Performing Arts Center, which opened in January 2006. Designed specifically for music, it is home to the university’s choral and instrumental ensembles, in addition to visiting artists.
Tickets for the performance are available at BerkshireChoralFullerton.Eventbrite.com or at the door.
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