December 12, 2018

Con Brio Presents a ‘Simply Dazzling’ Spring Concert Today

Mihae Lee

Mihae Lee

AREAWIDE – Con Brio, the shoreline’s all-auditioned chorus, offers its spring concert on Sunday, April 17, at 4 p.m. at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme.

Directed by Dr. Stephen Bruce, assisted by Associate Music Director Susan Saltus and accompanied by the Con Brio Festival Orchestra, the chorus will be joined this year by world-renowned pianist Mihae Lee, known to many in the area as the artistic director of the Essex Winter Series. Critics have described her playing as “simply dazzling.”

Vocal soloists include Danielle Munsell Howard and Laura Gladd, soprano; Donna Bishop-Seaton, contralto; Ransom Bruce and Bill Sorensen, tenor; and John Dominick III, bass.

The concert opens with two well-paired pieces: Dvorak’s Te Deum and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia.  Commissioned to write a piece in 1891 in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America, Dvorak composed the Te Deum and performed it at his first concert in New York as director of the National Conservatory of Music.  This liturgical hymn to God has been described as one of the most “spectacular” of Dvorak’s compositions.

Often considered a precursor to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the Choral Fantasia premiered in 1808 at what might be considered the greatest of classical concerts ever performed, an hours-long concert that included the premiers of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Sixth Symphony (The Pastoral), and the first public performance of the Fourth Piano Concerto. The Fantasia develops as a series of variations on a theme, which prefigures that of the last movement of the Ninth Symphony, composed some years later.

Dominick-252x300

John Dominick III

For the second half of the concert, Con Brio will sing pieces that it will share with local choruses in Portugal and Spain during its sixth European tour in May. Pieces include Alice Parker’s great traditional arrangement of a fine early American hymn, “Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal”; Rachmaninoff’s beloved setting of the Ave Maria, “Bogoroditse Devo”; the Portuguese song, “Eu vou, eu vou” and the Spanish song, “Te Quiero.” The concert ends with two rousing pieces for audience participation: “Praise His Holy Name” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

Tickets at $30 adults, $15 students, are available at www.conbrio.org, from any Con Brio member, or by calling 860-526-5399.

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