July 2, 2020

Con Brio’s Spring Performance is “Exceptional”

This past Sunday, Con Brio Choral (pictured above) presented Ken Jenkins’ “L’Homme Armé” : A Mass for Peace (The Armed Man)  at Christ the King Church.  Act I consisted of the title mass by Karl Jenkins, while Act II focused on songs for peace.  Patricia Schuman was the guest soprano.

The church’s open room and wooden cathedral ceilings gave this concert crystal clear acoustics.

There were 13 songs in Act I.  The chorus sang the title song (performed in French), which had a militaristic feel complete with a piccolo and drums.  Then Patricia Schuman sang “Kyrie Elesion”, which was written in Latin.  Her voice brought out the sadness and seriousness in the song.  In contrast, Sanctus Dominus (sung by the choir) was performed forte and delivered an epic sound. 

The song “Charge!” really sounded like an army “charging” toward the enemy  (the dissonance at the end depicted an unfortunate outcome).  Schuman showed her rich soprano voice in “The Angry Flames,” and at the end of that song, chimes depicted a church bell at a funeral — a unique touch.

“Benedictus” started out slow and sad, then soared with a crescendo evoking a feeling of optimism.  Finally, at the end of Act I, a lighter reprise of “L’Homme Armé” was sung by the choir.

 Act II featured lighter pieces.  Schuman’s bittersweet voice echoed through the church when she sang “Marietta’s Lied” by German composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold, while Beethoven’s “Meeresstille und Glück Fahrt” depicted calm water and an upbeat voyage.

The jazzy “Down by the Riverside” included audience participation coupled by a memorable tune.  The Simon and Garfunkel classic, “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” was very moving and to conclude the concert, Schuman and the choir sang Magnani’s Easter Hymn, which hinted at a glimmer of hope for spring.

Throughout this exceptional concert during which she sang sharply contrasting types of music, Schuman consistently  displayed her tremendous voice versatility.