For its final concert of the 2015-16 season, VOICES will present Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem, Opus 48, and Cantique de Jean Racine, as well as other lighter French and Italian music on Friday, May 6, 8 PM, at St. Paul Roman Catholic Church in Princeton, NJ. Tickets for the concert are available at www.voiceschorale.org.
Fauré’s Requiem, among the most familiar and loved of all requiems, will be conducted by VOICES Music Director and Founder, Dr. Lyn Ransom. The Requiem was written in 1887 by French composer Gabriel Fauré, who performed it first in his own church, La Madeleine, in Paris. The melodies and countermelodies are exquisitely crafted and tend to stay in memory long after a performance ends. The orchestra parts are similar to those in the opening of the Brahms’ Requiem, written without violins, but with the low, rich sound of violas, cellos, and basses.
Singing the beautiful Pie Jesu solo will be two brothers, Garrett Butler, age nine, and Todd Butler, age eleven, sopranos from the American Boychoir School in Princeton. The purity of the boy soprano sound serves the requiem’s plea for eternal peace. The use of boy sopranos for solo parts was prevalent in nineteenth- and twentieth-century France, where most of the larger churches sponsored boychoir schools. The dramatic baritone solos will be sung by Andrew Maggio, a recent graduate of Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton.
Fauré himself said of the work: “Everything I managed to entertain by way of religious illusion I put into my Requiem, which moreover is dominated from beginning to end by a very human feeling of faith in eternal rest. It has been said that my Requiem does not express the fear of death, and someone has called it a lullaby of death. But it is thus that I see death: as a happy deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above, rather than as a painful experience . . . As to my Requiem, perhaps I have . . . instinctively sought to escape from what is thought right and proper, after all the years of accompanying burial services on the organ! I know it all by heart. I wanted to write something different.”
A variety of lighter French and Italian music will open the concert, starting with the soaring vocal lines of Fauré’s Cantique de Jean Racine, conducted by Emily Vite. Two lush and modern songs from Morten Lauridsen’s Les Chansons des Roses will be conducted by Zachary Beeksma. Madrigals by Claudio Monteverdi and Clément Janequin fill out the program.
Tickets for the May 6 concerts are available at www.voiceschorale.org. General admission: $25 in advance, $30 at the door; Family Pass: $55 in advance, $60 at the door; Preferred Seating: $40 in advance, $45 at the door; Students (with ID) and children: $10 at all times. For advance tickets and additional information about VOICES, please visit www.VOICESChorale.org, or call 609-658-2636.
VOICES Chorale is an auditioned chorus with 50 members from New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Music director Dr. Lyn Ransom founded the chorale 24 years ago in order to perform outstanding music, inspire audiences, and provide performance opportunities for skilled community singers. The chorale performs an unusually varied repertoire, including masterworks and premieres by American composers, with a three-concert series each season in the Princeton area and in Bucks County, PA. Each year, VOICES sponsors a Young Composers Project for children age five to twelve and a series of outreach concerts at senior residences in Princeton and Bucks County. Learn more at www.VOICESChorale.org and Facebook.com/VOICESChorale.
VOICES programs are made possible in part by the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission through funding from the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment of the Arts