November 8, 2010

A Season of Premieres for the Symphony's Chorale

Symphony Silicon Valley's Chorale announced a marvelous season of three major concerts and a trip to New York City's Lincoln Center to reprise last year's performance of Will Todd's jazzy Mass In Blue.

First on the calendar is the Chorale's annual holiday delight, Carols In The California--this year hosted by San Jose's historian and columnist Leigh Weimers.  Carols and familiar holiday fare combine with great story-telling of San Jose's holidays of yore as the Chorale is joined by the Cantabile Youth Singers, the Symphony's brass section and the theater's mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ for this December 11 concert.

In March, the Chorale joins the full Symphony on stage for the orchestra's main stage concert series in Brahms' German Requiem, a visionary masterpiece and one of the most powerful choral pieces ever written.  Brahms wrote the piece over a decade, following the death of Schumann (his mentor) and then his own mother.  Unlike most, German Requiem does not follow the standard Latin requiem, but rather is set to lyrics written by Brahms himself from passages of the Lutheran Bible.  It is a unique, moving and challenging piece that our Chorale members have been eager to tackle.

June brings two performances of Romantically Russian--an evening of Russian choral works from the Romantic and post-Romantic era.  The evening will be sung fully in Russian and Old Church Slavonic and features the North American premiere of Ippolitov-Ivanov's All-Night Vigil.  In fact, music publisher Musica Russica is editing and publishing the piece especially for this occasion.  The program also features music by Rachmaninoff, Chesnokov, Taneev, Kalinnikov, Rimski-Korsakov and of course Tchaikovski.  Chorale conductor and music director Elena Sharkova, when asked how the idea of this program came about, said that "most conductors shy away from Russian music because of the language--the sound of it, the look of the Cyrillic alphabet, the scores calling for very low basses and high soaring tenors."  So when the group had a chance to perform excerpts from All-Night Vigil in 2007 the members were really excited and asked for more Russian music in the group's future repertoire.  A native of St. Petersburg, Ms. Sharkova is an expert on Russian choral music and has lectured extensively on its repertoire and performance practices, conducting several U.S. premiers of Russian contemporary compositions.  She says most choral conductors would "much rather sing in Swahili than in Russian" but she hopes that after attending this program they will have an opportunity to hear romantic Russian music rarely heard in this country and decide to program more Russian music for their own choirs in the future.

In April, the Chorale heads-cross country for their premiere at the famous Avery Fisher Hall in New York City's Lincoln Center.  Last march, only 3 days before the Chorale's California Theatre performance of British composer Will Todd's jazz choir interpretation of the Latin mass, Ms. Sharkova was asked to conduct a concert this spring at Lincoln Center.  She and the Chorale had fallen in love with the composers jazz/blues Mass In Blue and were looking for other opportunities to perform it.  And the idea was born--a New York City premiere of Mass In Blue by the Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale, joined by the composer himself, a Canadian choir from Ottawa and singers from Virginia and New York.

Join the Chorale for the 2010-2011 season.  Tickets are available at the Symphony Box Office.  And if you'll be in New York on April 18, be sure to cheer our home team on at Avery Fisher--tickets available here.

December 11, Carols In The CaliforniaInfo  Tickets
March 24-27, Brahms' German RequiemInfo  Tickets
April 18, Mass In Blue at Lincoln Center:  Info  Tickets
June 3-5, Romantically RussianInfo  Tickets

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