AROUND TOWN/MUSIC: Choral music seasons soaring

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily

A shorter version of
this article was first published today in the above papers.


Various segments of the classical music world have been
unveiling their seasons. This week we focus on choral music.


Chorale Bel Canto
opens its 31st season on Saturday at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at
Whittier College’s Memorial Chapel with a program of part songs from three
centuries entitled “The Poet’s Voice.” Stephen Gothold will conduct his
80-voice chorale in music by Brahms, Eric Whitacre (Night Music) and Pasadena-based composer James Hopkins (The Rossetti Songs). Information:


The Los Angeles
Master Chorale
will take advantage of one of the unique aspects of its
home, Walt Disney Concert Hall, when it opens its 49th season next
Sunday at 7 p.m. with “Organ Extravaganza.”


Music Director Grant Gershon and Assistant Conductor Leslie
Leighton will conduct 115 singers of the Master Chorale, and organists Paul
Meier and Kimo Smith.


Selections will include West Coast premieres of A Good Understanding by Nico Muhly and Ascending into Heaven by Judith Weir,
along with other anthems and works that take advantage of the hall’s 6,125-pipe
organ, including C. Hubert H. Parry’s I
Was Glad
(which was performed at the April wedding of Prince William and
Kate Middleton) and Gerald Finzi’s God is
Gone Up.


Artistic Director Anne Tomlinson will lead her Los Angeles
Children’s Chorus as part of the program. The group will join the Master
Chorale in the Muhly premiere and on its own will sing David Wilcocks’ Psalm 150. Information:


Further south, the Pacific
begins its 45th season on Oct. 28 at 5:30 p.m. at Rene
and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa when Artistic Director John
Alexander leads his chorale and the Pacific Symphony in a performance of
Mendelssohn’s oratorio, Elijah.
Acclaimed American bass Eric Owens will sing the title role. Other soloists are
Christine Brandes, soprano, I-Chin Feinblatt, mezzo-soprano, and Nicholas
Preston, tenor.


Elijah was the
first work the Pacific Chorale performed, in its debut concert as the Irvine
Community Chorus under founding director Maurice Allard in January of 1969.
Alexander, who has led the Chorale since 1972, subsequently conducted Elijah in performances in 1977 and 1992,
but the group has not performed the full oratorio since that 1992 presentation,
when Metropolitan Opera baritone Sherrill Milnes sang the title role.





(c) Copyright 2012, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.

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