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by J.D. Goddard

BachBashOn Friday, March 21, Trinity Cathedral Chamber Singers and instrumentalists, directed by Elizabeth Lenti, presented a “Bach Birthday Bash” concert at Pilgrim Church, presented in collaboration with the Arts Renaissance Tremont series. It was a beautiful setting in the renovated sanctuary with its ornate organ pipes the center of attention. The welcome from the church staff was especially commendable and made for a comfortable beginning to the evening’s fare.

The program opened with Lenti at the organ performing the Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV 543. With confidence and agility, Lenti laid down an exacting performance filled with interpretive nuance and style befitting the brilliance of Bach’s compositional genius. Infused with rambling melismatic lines, the Prelude was straightforward yet exacting in articulateness. With sensitive control and solid bravura, Lenti discharged the difficult Fugue with poignant clarity and acute definition. It was a majestic and awe-inspiring opening for Bach’s birthday celebration 2014.

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by Daniel Hathaway

Mary-Q-ScotsThe chamber choir formerly known as Cantores made its debut under the new name of Contrapunctus at Trinity Cathedral on Sunday afternoon, March 2, with an historically themed concert, “The Life and Times of Mary, Queen of Scots, 1542-1587.”

Led by its new artistic director, English countertenor David Acres, the 19 singers expertly presented 15 exquisite church motets by English, Scottish, Spanish and Italian composers of the Renaissance, embedded into a lengthy, printed narrative of Mary’s life with color images and supplemented by a few brief excerpts from her own writings delivered by actor Denise Larkin.

Performing music within its historical context with the help of images and spoken words can result in a rich experience for the listener when several streams run together to form a larger river. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

BRITTEN-BenjaminOn November 22, a far happier occasion to remember than the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of JFK was the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten — and far more appropriate to St. Cecilia’s Day, the patron saint of musicians. A smattering of area tributes to the greatest British composer since Henry Purcell have been planned during 2013, but Trinity Cathedral under Todd Wilson has clearly taken the lead with celebrations of Britten’s music fueling two Brownbag concerts and a gala concert last Friday evening featuring three of his most celebrated vocal and choral works.

Wilson’s choral forces — Trinity Chamber Singers and the Trinity Cathedral Choir — sang the Hymn to St. Cecilia and the festival cantata, Rejoice in the Lamb, respectively, and countertenor John McElliott and tenor JR Fralick teamed with Wilson in the second of Britten’s Five Canticles, Abraham and Isaac.

The key to Britten’s renown as a vocal composer is his choice of excellent texts to set and his dead-on intuition about how to fit music to words. Read the rest of this entry »

by J.D. Goddard

Trinity-Cathedral-ChoirOn Good Friday evening, March 29, led by music director Todd Wilson, the Trinity Cathedral Choir, pianists Elizabeth DeMio and Elizabeth Lenti, soprano Judith Overcash, baritone Zachary Rusk and baritone Ray Liddle joined forces to perform Johannes Brahms’s German Requiem.

In the nineteenth century it was not unusual for orchestral compositions to be arranged for piano, thus making in-home performances more readily available. Brahms completed his German Requiem in 1868, and immediately prepared a scaled down version of the work for piano four hands and chorus. It was actually premiered in a home in 1872.

This scaled-down piano version is not without interest, but those who are used to hearing the orchestral version may find it softened and somewhat bland. Though Brahms did not intend listeners to this non-liturgical requiem to shudder in fear for their souls, it is impossible not to feel a sense of guilt and veneration when lambasted by a massive chorus with full orchestra. Heard as it was this evening, this requiem became a gentler work but the intensity and emotional involvement of the singers made for a deeply religious experience. Read the rest of this entry »

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