Bel Canto Chorus Presents Two of the Twentieth-Century’s Finest Choral-Orchestral Works

March 9 performance by Bel Canto Chorus and Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra to feature James MacMillan’s "Seven Last Words from the Cross" and Morten Lauridsen’s "Lux Aeterna."
 
 
Bel Canto Chorus presents Seven Last Words from the Cross/Lux Aeterna
Bel Canto Chorus presents Seven Last Words from the Cross/Lux Aeterna
 
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Macmillan
Lauridsen
Hynson
Twentieth Century
Choral

Industrys:
Entertainment
Music

Location:
Milwaukee - Wisconsin - US

MILWAUKEE - Feb. 4, 2014 - PRLog -- Bel Canto Chorus and Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra are pleased to announce Seven Last Words from the Cross/Lux Aeterna on Sunday, March 9 at 3:00 pm at the Basilica of St. Josaphat in Milwaukee.

Tickets ($25 - $33) are available online at www.belcanto.org or by phone at (414) 481-8801. Senior, student, and group discounts are available.

“Written within three years of each other, James MacMillan’s Seven Last Words from the Cross and Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna stand as two of the twentieth-century’s finest choral-orchestral works,” said Richard Hynson, Music Director of both Bel Canto Chorus and Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra. “In choosing texts and setting them with such profound emotional connection, each composer has grappled with death and the vision of life after death. Whether a believer or not, listeners can relate to the themes of sacrifice, loss, and imponderable sadness as heard in MacMillan’s work. Lauridsen takes a more sacred approach in his meditations on different ways in which light has been used as a metaphor for God, for redemption, and for paradise. By combining these two powerful works, we have created a listening experience that covers the gamut of emotions from the most devastated sorrow to the well-being inspired by redemption and the ecstatic joy of paradise.”

Regarded by many as one of MacMillan’s masterpieces, Seven Last Words from the Cross draws on a compilation of texts from all four gospels to form a sequential presentation of the last seven sentences uttered by Christ (in English and Latin). MacMillan’s work was commissioned by BBC Television and broadcast in seven nightly episodes during Holy Week of 1994. Both the vocal and instrumental parts draw on characteristic models: Lutheran baroque techniques for the chorus, and the sophisticated British and Polish twentieth-century traditions of writing for the string orchestra.

Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna, written in 1997 for the Los Angeles Master Chorale, is a 25-minute work in five movements set to various Latin texts about light. It is a poignant, modern requiem rich in unashamed consonant harmonies and lush haunting melodies. Lauridsen writes, “I composed Lux Aeterna in response to my mother’s final illness and found great personal comfort and solace in setting to music these timeless and wondrous words about Light, a universal symbol of illumination at all levels - spiritual, artistic, and intellectual.” The piece is often compared to Brahms’s Requiem, also written after the passing of the composer’s mother, but “without the nineteenth-century guilt” - no “Day of Judgment” or gloom, just generosity and radiance throughout.  Lauridsen uses the chant-like melodies and sophisticated counterpoint of the high Renaissance, especially the music of Josquin, for his inspiration in this composition.

The 2013 - 2014 Bel Canto Chorus concert season is presented in part with support from the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF); the Bradley Foundation; the Herzfeld Foundation; CAMPAC, the Milwaukee County Arts Board; and the Wisconsin Arts Board.

LISTING INFORMATION

Seven Last Words from the Cross/Lux Aeterna

Bel Canto Chorus and Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra
Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 3:00 pm
The Basilica of St. Josaphat
2333 S. Sixth St., Milwaukee, WI 53215
Tickets ($25 - $33) are available online at www.belcanto.org or by phone at (414) 481-8801. Senior, student, and group discounts are available.

About Richard Hynson
This is Richard Hynson’s 26th season as Music Director of Bel Canto Chorus. Since 2006, Hynson has also served as Music Director of Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra. In addition to his work as a conductor and educator, Hynson is a composer. He has written a substantial body of published choral, vocal, and ensemble works, many of which he has recorded with Bel Canto Chorus singers. The U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants have frequently performed Hynson’s In the Midst of Life, composed in response to the events of September 11.

About Bel Canto Chorus
Founded in 1931, Bel Canto Chorus enriches the lives of its audiences and members through the presentation of fine choral music. The group has been led for more than 25 years by Richard Hynson, considered one of the nation's finest choral and orchestral conductors (American Prize Winner 2012). Bel Canto Chorus ranks in the top ten percent of choral organizations in the country in terms of budget, longevity, and repertoire. Educational outreach includes Bel Canto Senior Singers and Bel Canto Boy Choirs. Characterized by a heartfelt belief in the value of Bel Canto Chorus, and supported by its 100 devoted singers, audiences, talented artistic and administrative staff, and dedicated board members, the group's passion for sharing the thrill of live choral music has remained steadfast throughout its long, proud history. For more information visit http://www.belcanto.org.

About Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra
The only professional chamber orchestra in the greater Milwaukee area, Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra has been performing the highest quality chamber music for more than 30 years. Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra provides a unique experience for audience members as well as important performance opportunities to professional musicians in the area. For more information visit http://www.MilwaukeeChamberOrchestra.org.

About The Basilica of St. Josaphat
The Basilica of St. Josaphat, located at 2333 S. 6th Street in the LincolnVillage neighborhood of Milwaukee, is one of 62 minor basilicas in the United States. Its grandeur and opulence is an excellent example of the “Polish Cathedral” style of church architecture found in the Great Lakes region of North America. Modeled after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, it features one of the largest copper domes in the world. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a designated Milwaukee Landmark.

Contact information/interviews
For additional information, photos, or interview requests, call (414) 481-8801.

Contact
Bel Canto Chorus
414-481-8801
***@belcanto.org
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Tags:Macmillan, Lauridsen, Hynson, Twentieth Century, Choral
Industry:Entertainment, Music
Location:Milwaukee - Wisconsin - United States
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