[ba-acappella] Pacific Mozart Ensemble all a cappella concert
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tickets to the organization for this concert.
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PACIFIC MOZART ENSEMBLE PRESENTS
THE MILLENNIUM AND THE CENTURY
A CELEBRATION OF MUSIC FROM THE PAST MILLENNIUM,
FROM 11TH CENTURY CHANT TO PAUL SIMON'S THE CAPEMAN
NOVEMBER 13 AND 14, 1999
Berkeley, CA -- The Pacific Mozart Ensemble (PME), under the direction
of Richard Grant, has announced details of an unusual a cappella concert
celebrating the approach of the new millennium. Entitled The Millennium
and The Century, the concerts will take place 7:30 p.m. Saturday,
November 13, 1999 at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 2300 Bancroft Way in
Berkeley, and 5 p.m. Sunday, November 14, 1999 at Trinity Episcopal
Church, 1668 Bush Street in San Francisco.
"Give us an hour and we'll give you the Millennium. Give us another
hour and we'll give you the 20th century," said Director Richard Grant.
"The 40-voice ensemble will take the audience on what might be the
world's fastest guided tour of a cappella vocal music through the
millennium," he said.
In the first half of the program, PME highlights one work from each
century, beginning in the 11th with Hermannus Contractus' Salve Regina,
a plainsong chant sung by the men of the chorus. The 12th century is
represented by Hildegard of Bingen's O Ecclesia. Hildegard is probably
the best known abbess in history and considered the first woman
composer. Her music is a sophisticated blend of intellectual complexity
and pure spiritual ecstasy.
The chosen work from the13th century is Perotin's Viderunt Omnes.
Perotin experimented with adding one or two vocal lines in addition to
the original notes of a Gregorian chant, each syllable stretched out
over extended periods. The entire work is just done on a handful of
words that are embellished by the moving lines. Guillaume de Machaut's
Rose, liz from the 14th century takes the ideas of Perotin's sacred
works one step further by adding independent parts above the slower
moving lower parts.
The 15th and 16th centuries feature works by Josquin des Pres and
William Byrd. Dominus Regnavit by Josquin represents some of the most
sophisticated polyphonic writing of the early Renaissance, and some of
the best examples of word painting, using musical elements to highlight
text. By the high Renaissance of the late 16th century, the pairing of
text and music, as well as harmony and melody, reached its apex. Sing
Joyfully by William Byrd was written for the newly formed Anglican
church and uses much of the same musical language set down by Josquin a
hundred years earlier.
Allegri's Miserere is possibly one of the most significant works of
liturgical music of the 17th century. Allegri wrote the work
specifically for holy week at the Sistine Chapel. The Miserere was
never published in Allegri's time and legend has it that it was not
written down until a very young Mozart heard it at a service at the
Sistine Chapel and then wrote it down from memory. Although in the 18th
Century the use of instruments in the church became nearly universal,
one rare exception is Lotti's beautiful eight-voice Crucifixus. It
harkens back to the older contrapuntal style of the Renaissance, but its
treatment of the words and harmonies is very much of its own time.
All of the great composers of the 19th century wrote unaccompanied
works, including Brahms, Beethoven and Schubert. PME has chosen
Bruckner's Ave Maria to represent the 19th century because it sums up
what is most moving and essential about the Romantic choral tradition.
The 20th century represents a departure from the earlier tonal
traditions. Samuel Barber's Agnus Dei is romantic in feeling but with
complex harmonies. Igor Stravinsky is widely considered one of the most
important composers of this century. He had strong opinions on how his
smaller sacred works should sound. Stravinsky's Little Prayers is a
direct result of his dislike of a lush, romantic sound in worship music,
instead the work invokes the sound of Medieval Chant.
On the second half of the program is representative American popular
music and vocal jazz standards from each decade of the 20th century.
Songs to be highlighted include classic barbershop arrangements of
Memphis Blues along with the grand Give My Regards to Broadway evoke the
teens and twenties. Bei Mir Bist du Schön and Chattanooga Choo Choo
represent the 30s and 40s. A Sh'boom Medley and Lambert Hendricks &
Ross' Four are classic doo-wop and vocal jazz tunes from the 50s. A Day
in the Life by The Beatles and the Motown hit My Girl will contrast the
evolution of musical tastes in the 60s. The 70s, 80s and 90s are
represented by arrangements of such hits as Boogie Nights, Love Shack by
the B-52s and Freddie Mercury and Queen's highly complex and operatic
Bohemian Rhapsody, reintroduced in the 90s to a new generation of fans
through the movie Wayne's World. Closing out the century are two
concert selections from Paul Simon's Tony Award-nominated score of the
Broadway musical The Capeman.
The Pacific Mozart Ensemble chorus (PME) is a unique musical resource.
Since its founding nineteen years ago, the ensemble has grown to fill an
important role in the cultural life of the Bay Area, presenting
courageous and innovative programs of many works that have never before
been performed in concert settings. PME provides the opportunity for
composers to collaborate with a professional chorus in performances of
new or experimental work, or to have audiences enjoy live performances
of works previously heard only on recordings.
PME is important not only for San Francisco cultural life, but also for
choral music in general. Year after year, PME brings its audiences
programs that are simply unavailable from any other source. Composers
and conductors rely on the group to present important works that are not
included in the standard concert repertoire.
PME also brings to Bay Area audiences new works that have been
previously available only to those who are able to attend fully mounted
stage productions. The ensemble has performed excerpts from John Adams'
Nixon In China and The Death Of Klinghoffer, Meredith Monk's Atlas and
David Lang's Modern Painters. PME presented the first concert
performance of the Philip Glass choral work, Vessels, from the film
Koyanisqaatsi and music from Jonathon Larson's Rent.
Twice, PME has brought the Dave Brubeck Quartet to the San Francisco
area to collaborate in performances of his oratorios. PME has also
provided the chorus for the Berkeley Symphony concerts conducted by Kent
Nagano for the past ten years. They have undertaken numerous challenging
projects together: the most significant of which was the US premiere of
excerpts from Olivier Messiaen's monumental opera, St. Francois
d'Asisse. Other recent highlights include the West Coast premiere of
the Francis Poulenc choral masterpiece Figure Humaine.
PME is equally accomplished over a great breadth of musical forms.
Shortly after its founding, the members began to present an annual
fundraising concert of a cappella jazz. Small groups from within the
ensemble wrote or commissioned a wide variety of increasingly
The ensemble has performed at many of Europe's noted cathedrals and
concert halls including Chartres, St. Louis en L'Isle in Paris, the
Cloitre des Jacobans in Toulouse, Six Fours in Toulon and the Dorchester
Festival in England.
Tickets for Pacific Mozart Ensemble's November performances are priced
$19 general and $15 students and seniors. Season tickets are still
available and are priced $45 general and $36 students and seniors. For
tickets and information call (415) 705-0848.