December 9, 2018

‘To the Movies and Bach’: ‘Con Brio’ Presents Spring Concert Today

Kerry Gotschall

Kerry Gotschall

OLD LYME — Con Brio, the shoreline’s renowned all-auditioned chorus, will present its spring concert on Sunday, April 19, at 4 p.m. at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme, Conn.  Directed by Dr. Stephen Bruce with Associate Conductor and Keyboardist, Susan Saltus, the chorus will be joined by the Con Brio Festival Orchestra and soloists:  Danielle Munsell Howard, soprano;  Kelly Gottshall, mezzo-soprano and Christopher Grundy, bass.

The concert will open with two 16th century pieces that the chorus learned on its last tour in France:  “Tourdion” and the motet “Jubilate Deo.”  Then follows the premier piece of the concert: J. S. Bach’s “Mass in F.”  Bach composed four short masses in the 1730s, borrowing from some of his finest earlier cantatas.   This short mass, or Missa Brevis, is known as one of Bach’s Lutheran Masses   These masses are not often heard, or recorded, despite being exquisitely beautiful, filled with “splendid choruses” and “deeply moving arias,” as one reviewer puts it.

Christopher Grundy

Christopher Grundy

The second half of the concert will be devoted to diverse choral music spanning four centuries, which has been used in films.  Carl Orff’s  1936 setting of a 13th century poem complaining about fortune, “O Fortuna” from “Carmina Burana,” holds the record for the past 75 years as the most popular piece of classical music. It, along with Mozart’s dramatic “Dies Irae” from his Requiem Mass, holds the record for use in films.  The best movie song of all time, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” a popular jazz version of “When I Fall in Love,” and “One Day More” are audience favorites.

Samuel Barber himself arranged his “Agnus Dei” as a choral version of his much beloved, hauntingly beautiful “Adagio for Strings.”  William Blake’s 18th century poem provides the text for Parry’s stirring “Jerusalem,” which some call the unofficial national anthem of England.  Blake’s text imagines the legend of Jesus restoring Jerusalem by coming to England and transforming the “dark Satanic mills” that mar the land.

Allegri’s 17th century “Miserere,” a translation of Psalm 51, was never supposed to be transcribed.  The story is the 14-year-old Mozart heard it just once and wrote all of it down.  Hogan’s traditional spiritual, “Elijah Rock,” cries to the prophet Elijah, the rock, for help. The concert ends with the audience joining the chorus in John Rutter’s stirring arrangement of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

All are welcome at this exceptional concert.

Tickets are $30, $15 students, and may be purchased from any Con Brio member, on line at www.conbrio.org, or by calling 860 526 5399.

Christ the King Church is located at 1 McCurdy Rd., Old Lyme, CT.

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