Saturday, May 05, 2007

Burbank Chorale to Perform Bernstein's Psalms

With a performance at Carnegie Hall notched into its musical belt, the Burbank Chorale brings a stronger experience to patrons of its upcoming local concerts.

Exploring new material and new venues is part of the group's focus, board President Kyrian Corona said.

"It's all a part of our vision for this performing-arts group to try new things, expand our horizons musically and geographically and bring this experience back to our core audience to enrich their experience," she said. "The better we get, the better it will be for them. It all comes full circle."

With that in mind, the chorale's May concerts are titled "Leonard Bernstein and Friends," and feature Bernstein's "Chichester Psalms" and choral selections from his "West Side Story." Aaron Copland's "At the River" and "Stomp Your Foot" and Eric Whitacre's "Cloudburst" are also on the program.

Bernstein was commissioned to write "Chichester Psalms" for a choral festival in 1965 in England. The festival is coordinated each summer by the choirs from three cathedrals — the Cathedral of Chichester in Sussex, England, and its neighboring cathedrals, Winchester and Salisbury, Corona said.

"We will be singing all three of them," she said. "The text is in Hebrew, so it's very challenging. The composition expresses the rhythmical fire and verve typical of Leonard Bernstein, along with a tremendous harmonic sophistication, which makes this a very challenging piece."

The program will be balanced with Aaron Copland selections — such as "Simple Gifts" and "Stomp Your Foot" — and Eric Whitacre's "Cloudburst," in which the chorale emulates the sounds of a thunderstorm, she said.

"It's an Americana program with music from America's favorite composers," she said.

Leonard Bernstein & Friends
Sunday May 6th - 4:00 pm

St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Glendale
1020 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale, CA 91202

Tickets are $10 in Advance/$15 Door/$5 Seniors & Students
For advance tickets, contact me.


Marcelo Teson said...

Thanks for the heads up - I may attend this. Many years ago (seems like an entirely different life) I was a choirboy in the Phoenix Boys Choir, where we sang Chichester Psalms with the Phoenix Symphony. I sang 2nd soprano, and I remember it being a big deal at the time because it's rare to find a boychoir performing it, even though it's written specifically for boys and not for women. Most of the time it's a women's choir featuing a single boy soloist for the second movement.

To this day Chichester Psalms is my all-time favorite piece I ever sang with the choir, and probably my favorite classical composition ever. I remember it being ridiculously difficult to sing, but completely joyous when it finally came together. The final quiet chorale that echoes the beginning is especially beautiful to me.

Man, I wish I had known about the Burbank Chorale a year ago. I would have auditioned, and maybe I'd be singing the Psalms right now.

Anonymous said...

Nice performance, David. Always good to hear Hebrew in a church.