Please join us in April for the Brahms' Requiem and a newly commissioned work by English composer, Giles Swayne:

April 18, 2015 at 7:30 PM (Luther Memorial Church in Madison)
April 19, 2015 at 3:00 PM (Young Auditorium in Whitewater)

Tickets are now available for the Whitewater performance directly from Young Auditorium. Tickets will go on sale for the Madison concert in March. Watch the website for details.


About the Requiem - Johannes Brahms began Ein Deutsches Requiem in 1857, after the death of his close friend, Robert Schumann, but not until the death of his mother in 1865, did he work more earnestly on the project which was finally completed in 1868.  Brahms was not totally convinced of the existence of the afterlife and did not pattern his masterpiece after the Latin mass for the dead, rather he carefully selected text from the Lutheran Bible and Apocrypha. In this major work for chorus, orchestra, and soloists, Brahms provides consolation for those who grieve for their loved ones. Selig sind, die da Leid tragen (Blessed are they that mourn) opens the seven movement work, comforting those left behind to grieve their loss. The final movement, Selig sind die Toten (Blessed are the dead) presents the final resolution of finding rest from life's labors in death. Flavored with lilting Brahms melodies, sweet harmonies, and splendid orchestration, this is music at its very best, and is sure to touch music lovers on all levels.  


About Giles Swayne Our Orphan Souls - English composer, Giles Swayne (b. 1946), began composing at age 10. He was encouraged in composition by his cousin, Elizabeth Maconchy (student of Ralph Vaughan Williams). He won a scholarship in composition at the Royal Academy of Music and continued studies with Olivier Messiaen at the Paris Conservatoire. He now lives in London with his wife, violinist Malu Lin, teaches composition at Cambridge University, and is Composer-in-residence at Clare College, Cambridge. Dr. Robert Gehrenbeck broached the topic of a commissioned work and Mr. Swayne selected the text of Hermann Melville from Moby Dick and has set it for choir, baritone soloist, harp, alto sax, double bass and percussion. The baritone solo will be sung by Gregory Berg, Carthage College.


About the remainder of the concert - The UW-Whitewater Chamber Singers and the Wisconsin Chamber Choir's own professional orchestra, Sinfonia Sacra, will unite for a "tour de force" of sound.

UW-Whitewater will present a lovely piece for choir and string orchestra composed by Dr. Christian Ellenwood of the UW-Whitewater faculty. Here is how Ellenwood describes his work:  "My composition, Prairie Spring, is a setting for choir and string orchestra of a poem by the celebrated American author Willa Cather. Cather’s poem is also entitled Prairie Spring; it was inspired by the prairie landscape of Nebraska, where Cather spent her formative years. The poem serves as the prelude to her beautiful novel O Pioneers!  I am a proud native Nebraskan, and I grew up with a deep love of the prairie landscape that Cather experienced in her youth—a vast sweep of land and sky, stretching towards infinity, with an ever-present wind blowing across an undulating ocean of grass. Cather’s poem describes eternal cycles of growth, toil, yearning, and regeneration—cycles and stories as infinite and eternal as the landscape, and perfectly joined with it. Cather also describes these eternal cycles in O Pioneers:

 I am a proud native Nebraskan, and I grew up with a deep love of the prairie landscape that Cather experienced in her youth—a vast sweep of land and sky, stretching towards infinity, with an ever-present wind blowing across an undulating ocean of grass. Cather’s poem describes eternal cycles of growth, toil, yearning, and regeneration—cycles and stories as infinite and eternal as the landscape, and perfectly joined with it. Cather also describes these eternal cycles in O Pioneers:

 

“There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before; like the larks in this country, that have been singing the same five notes over for thousands of years.”

 

In my composition, I have attempted to translate the vast cycles and landscapes Cather describes into melodies and harmonies that reach and yearn and stretch and sing across endless horizons and into infinite skies. I have tried to give expression to an eternity that we carry quietly within us, even though we may be singing it outwardly as fiercely as if it had never happened before.

 The Wisconsin Chamber Choir will also perform two double choir motets by Robert Schumann, Brahms' mentor, friend, and inspiration for the Requiem.


About tickets - Tickets will be available for the Madison concert in March. Advance adult tickets for the Madison concert will be $25, and at the door $30. Student tickets (with ID) will be $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Check the Young Auditorium website for Whitewater tickets. 


The Wisconsin Chamber Choir is a 501(c)(3) organization and supported entirely by the generosity of our friends who support great choral music.  If you would like to support the choir, please e-mail us at sponsorship@wisconsinchamberchoir.org.

          
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