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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-ScotsIn 2004, Barbara Margolis gathered five of her professional singer colleagues and launched the one-on-a-part vocal ensemble Cantores Ecclesiae to explore church music written before 1650. By 2011, the group — now called Cantores Cleveland — had expanded into a non-profit organization, increased its numbers and embarked on the new mission of performing themed, multi-media concerts designed to bring old music back to life by placing it in its historical context.

Margolis having decided to step down, Cantores has entered a new era under a new name: Contrapunctus Cleveland. The mission remains the same, but the artistic leadership has passed on to British countertenor David Acres and soprano Judith Overcash, and Contrapunctus is now in residence at Trinity Cathedral in downtown Cleveland. The newly reconstituted, 19-voice ensemble will make its debut at Trinity on Sunday, March 2 at 3:00 pm in a program entitled “The Life and Times of Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-1587). 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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