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katya-oddio on 06/06/2015 at 06:23PM

Der Abend World Premiere

photo: "Flying heron in the early evening" by X posid

Harold Rosenbaum, conductor of the all-professional choir, The New York Virtuoso Singers, had this to say about American composer John Harbison's choral work "Der Abend":

"Der Abend (Evening) is a short work on a poem by Joseph von Eichendorff, for double choir, paying homage simultaneously to the homophonic simplicity of Schubert, the antiphonal style of the 17th century Venetians, and the bitonality of Ives. That is quite a mix! Beginning and ending both in C Major and G Minor, and seeming to traverse almost every other key in between, the effect, while appearing somewhat incongruous or jarring at first, soon transports us into a dreamlike state where, as the poem states, we begin to notice that, 'ancient days and gentle sorrows now fuse like quiet showers luminously through the heart.'"

A recording of the world premiere of the piece is now housed on the Free Music Archive, as well as a reprise of the piece in the same concert performed by the Massachusetts Instiitute of Technology Concert Choir.

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katya-oddio on 06/05/2015 at 09:16PM

Welcoming the New Season

The four seasons captured in photographs by Karen Arnold

The MIT Symphony Orchestra supports the MIT Concert Choir in this performance of Franz Joseph Haydn's Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons).  The choir is conducted by William Cutter.

In failing health near the end of his musical career, Haydn composed this work over two years while struggling with a libretto prepared by Austrian nobleman Baron Gottfried van Swieten, who also penned the libretto for Haydn's popular The Creation.  The text is based on the poem "The Seasons" by English poet James Thomson.  Haydn's final work premiered in 1801.

In The Seasons, the chorus sings mostly in four parts, featuring three vocal soloists.  The same solo voices representing archetypal plain country people appear here as in The Creation — Simon (bass), Lucas (tenor), and Hanne (soprano).  For this performance, the soloists are Diana Hogland, Mark Evans, and Mark Andrew Cleveland.

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