2023 Program Order
Directed by Ricki Vorrath-Moyer
Alleluia -- Randall Thompson
Arrangement for String Orchestra and Suspended Cymbal by Randol Bass
Arrangement for String Orchestra and Chorus by Ricki Vorrath-Moyer
Requiem in C Minor -- Luigi Cherubini (Click here for PDF of Cherubini texts and translations)
Intermission (15 minutes) -- Joyce Witte, President MCF
Requiem for the Living -- Dan Forrest (Click here for PDF of Forrest texts and translations)
Introit – Kyrie
Soloists: Lauren Lestage, Sara Michael, Matthew Eschlimann
A Gaelic Blessing -- John Rutter
Metropolitan Choral Festival Singers
Festival singers come from all over the metro area, including but not limited to the 5280+ Senior Chorales, Alpine Chorale, Arvada Chorale, Bethany Chancel Choir, Boulder Chorale, Cherry Creek Chorale, Colorado Choir, Colorado Chorale, Colorado Repertory Singers, Colorado Symphony Orchestra Chorus, Denver Choir League, Denver Chorale, Denver Gay Men’s Chorus, Denver Women’s Chorus, First Plymouth Congregational Church Choir, First Universalist Singers, Foothills Community Chorus, Gaudete Singers, Golden Concert Choir, Grand Chorale, Loveland Opera Theatre Chorus, One World Singers, Rocky Mountain Revels, Sage Singers, Saint John's Cathedral Choir, Seicento Baroque Ensemble, St. Joan of Arc Sacred Music Ministry, St. Marks Roman Catholic Church Choir, Vittoria Ensemble, and Voices Rock.
Abby Anderson, Lisa Atkins, Nancy Cole, Ashlynne Doidge, Grace Ellsworth, Barbara Fahmy, Carol Foster, Cynthia Gallegos, Megan Hawthorn, Carol High, Janine J. Hill, *Lauren Lestage, Eileen McCarron, *Sara Michael, Julie Millett, Bonnie Mustoe, Hannah Nadelson, Iris Reyes, Kaila Ritchie, Kathryn Spritzer, Ann Sturm, Linda Thorne, Alison Tucker, Elizabeth Weishaupl, Gabriela Wenda-Collier, Wendy Williams, Stacy Worthington
Jeannette Auman, Rebekah Baker-White, Barb Banks, Rebecca Borders, Kathleen Brand, Vira Brock, Rebecca Brown, Katie Carruthers-Busser, Ruth Culbertson, Rosemary Evans, KaLee French, Patricia Gaggiani, Karen Harris, Cara Hart, Sandy Hoyman, Herma Hughes, Regina Hunt, Janet Johnston, Sara Jones, Karen Juenemann, Kathy Kilmer, Maggie Lalor, Karen Lockwood, Andrea Loughry, Ann McCalley, Mary McDonnell, Erin Morris, Noel Morris, Julie Niblock, Kimberly Palgrave, Carryl Robinson, Angela Rui, Evie Schauer, Marsha Scheinhartz, Nan Shannon, Jenna Shedd, Belinda Smiley, Brittaney Soto, Barbara Ungashick, Angela Velasco, Deborah Woodard
Jordan Antonio, Bennet Archer, Kaleb Archer, Sue Armour, Jason Atkins, Ria Barrows, David Bell, Howard Brand, Tyler Corson-Rikert, *Matthew Eschlimann, Mark Kelly, Seth O’Kegley-Gibson, Connor Schmuck, Sandy Wong
Harry Adair, Joel Archer, Jim Banks, James Boschert, Stephen Brown, Joe Gailey, Lawrence Gallegos, Liam Harty, Drew Horst, Wesley Jones, Matthew Kersten-Gray, Matthew Kingham, Mike Lewis, Michael Meresman, Charlie Miller, John Mullins, Nolan Oltjenbruns, Anthony Romo, Lucas Sorenson, Rick Thorne, Gary Williams, John Wright
*Soloists for Requiem for the Living
Metropolitan Choral Festival Musicians
Violin I: Yi Zhao*, Susan Paik, John Hilton, Elizabeth Drabkin
Violin II: Slava Bartels, Tena White, Leena Waite, Summer Lusk
Viola: Phillip Stevens, Aniel Caban, Summer Rhodes, Emily Bowman
Cello: Chloe Hong, Sarah Biber, Eric Bertoluzzi
Bass: David Crowe, Bailey Bennett
Flute: Michael Williams, Cora Crisman
Oboe: Nick Tisherman, Ian Wisekal
Clarinet: April Johannesen, Heidi Mendenhall
Bassoon: Kaori Uno-Jack, Brian Jack
French Horn: Patrick Hodge, Young Kim
Trumpet: Philip Hembree, Patrick Tillery
Trombone: John Sipher, Paul Naslund, Richard Harris
Harp: Tonya Jilling
Percussion: Mike Tetreault, Elizabeth Van Wirt
Randall Thompson was born in New York City in 1899. He was an American composer, particularly noted for his choral works, though he also composed symphonies, string quartets, and other instrumental pieces.
Thompson attended the Lawrenceville School, where his father was an English teacher. He then attended Harvard University, became assistant professor of music and choir director at Wellesley College, and received a doctorate in music from the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music. He had a long career as an educator, teaching at Wellesley, the University of California – Berkeley, the University of Virginia, Princeton, and Harvard University. His students included Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Adler.
Alleluia – Thompson’s most popular work - was composed over the first five days of July in 1940, with its world premiere on July 8 of 1940 at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood in Massachusetts.
The work was written on a commission from Serge Koussevitzky, director of the Tanglewood Festival. Koussevitzky wanted a “fanfare” for voices to be performed at the opening exercises of the new Berkshire Music Center. He asked Thompson to compose that fanfare. Instead of the joyous work expected of him, the composer produced a quiet and introspective piece. According to Thompson, the fall of France to the Nazis just weeks before he wrote the work had dampened his spirits and he felt that to write a festive piece would be inappropriate.
According to Thompson, “the Alleluia ('praise ye the Lord' in Hebrew) is a very sad piece. The word 'Alleluia' has so many possible interpretations. The music in my particular Alleluia cannot be made to sound joyous. It is a slow, sad piece, and here is comparable to the Book of Job, where it is written, 'The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord'.”
Fun fact: In the days leading up to the music festival at Berkshire, Thompson was preoccupied with another commission, and submitted Alleluia on the very day of its first performance. When choral director G. Wallace Woodworth finally saw the score, a mere 45 minutes before taking the stage, he noted that it consisted of the oft-repeated word alleluia and the final amen and is said to have told the singers, “Well, text at least is one thing we won’t have to worry about.”
Thompson’s choral works were more widely performed than any other American composer up to his time.
Born in Florence on September 14, 1760, Luigi Cherubini began music lessons at the age of six with his father, Bartolomeo. The young Cherubini, who was considered a child prodigy, produced several religious works by the age of thirteen. In 1780, he was awarded a scholarship to study music in Bologna and Milan, and his first operatic works were produced in 1783. In 1784, he traveled to London and took on a position as composer for King George III. After several visits to Paris, Cherubini settled there in 1787, dominating the musical world of Paris for nearly five decades. His years in France were some of the most creative years in his musical career. Napoleon appointed Cherubini as his director of music in Vienna for a period, though the two did not work well with each other. After several government positions, Cherubini turned back to church music.
His Requiem in C minor was written in 1816, and was first performed on January 21, 1817 in the Royal Burial Abbey of Saint Denis for a mass in memory of Louis XVI, who was executed on that date in 1794. One non-traditional aspect of the work is that it does not include soloists. It displays Cherubini’s full range of compositional abilities, heard in the soft and contemplative moments to dramatic outbursts. The Dies irae, a 19-verse poem, displays this range, alternating between graphic images of judgment day and pleas for mercy. It is the most dramatic movement, opening with a trumpet fanfare and the crash of a gong. The entire work ends with an Agnus Dei that slowly fades away into silence. Berlioz called it an ending which “surpasses anything of the kind that has been written.” Cherubini owes his fame as a church composer primarily to the Requiem in C Minor, as it was put on the same level as Mozart’s Requiem, and served as a model for early 19th century Requiem settings.
Cherubini’s music was admired by many of his contemporaries. Beethoven regarded Cherubini as the greatest living composer (after himself), admiring Cherubini’s Requiem and stating that if he were to write a Requiem, Cherubini’s would be his model. Beethoven even requested that the work be performed at his memorial service. Schumann called the Requiem “unequalled.” Brahms defined it as “marvellous.” Hector Berlioz wrote, “The Requiem is on the whole, to my mind, the greatest work of its author.” Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy conducted a performance of the Requiem in Dusseldorf in November 1834.
It is rather comical to note that, though Cherubini’s fellow composers praised his musical skill, they did not include his personality in their praise. The young Hector Berlioz depicted the old composer as “crotchety” and “perpetually irritable.” Adolphe Adam stated that Cherubini did, in fact, “maintain an even temper – he was always angry.” His irritability was evident when he called Beethoven an “unlicked bear,” stating that Beethoven’s music made him sneeze.
During his life, Cherubini received several of France’s highest honors for his work as a composer. He died in 1842, and is buried in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery, near the grave of his friend and fellow composer, Frederic Chopin.
Dan Forrest (b. 1978) has been described as having “an undoubted gift for writing beautiful music . . . that is truly magical” (NY Concert Review), with works described as “magnificent” and “full of spine-tingling moments.” His music has received numerous awards and distinctions.
Forrest holds a doctorate in composition and a master’s degree in piano performance, and served for several years as a professor and department head (music theory and composition) in high education. He currently serves as Editor at Beckenhorst Press, Chair of the American Choral Director’s Association Composition Initiatives Committee, and Artist-In-Residence at Mitchell Road Presbyterian Church (Greenville, SC).
Requiem for the Living was composed on a commission from the Hickory Choral Society in North Carolina, conducted by Don Coleman, to celebrate the choir’s 35th anniversary. It was first performed in March 2013. Traditionally, a Requiem is a prayer for rest for the deceased. However, in this work, this prayer becomes a plea for rest for those who are struggling through pain and sorrow in this life – a service of rest for the weary. Forrest is making a distinction from traditional Requiems by putting a delicate twist into his work that raises the question: for whom is this intended? The answer to that question --- to ask for rest and mercy for the living.
Movement 1, the “Introit” and “Kyrie,” is a plea for rest and mercy for the living. In the second movement, “Vanitas Vanitatum,” his intent is to portray human suffering while on earth. The “Agnus Dei” is a plea for deliverance and peace. In the fourth movement, “Sanctus,” Forrest draws on three inspirations: pictures taken by the Hubble telescope of space, depicting the glory grandeur and majesty of the universe; pictures from the International Space Station, depicting the glory of earth, with the rush of the strings bringing to mind the busyness of teeming life, from our own human energy and motion to that of all creation, from great to small; and a mental image of a bustling city, depicting the glory of God through human life. God’s “eternal light” shines both on the deceased and the living in the final movement.
https://oursongatlanta.org/requiem-for-the-living/ and from the program notes shared on danforrest.com
John Rutter was born in London and studied music at Clare College, Cambridge. He first came to be noticed as a composer during his student years. Much of his early work consisted of church music and other choral pieces, including Christmas carols. From 1975-79 he was Director of Music at his alma mater, Clare College, and directed the college chapel choir in various recordings and broadcasts. Since 1979, he has divided his time between composition and conducting. Rutter’s music has been featured in a number of British royal occasions, including royal weddings. In 1983 he formed his own choir – the Cambridge Singers – with whom he has made numerous recordings, and appears regularly around the world as a guest conductor and choral ambassador.
Composed in 1978, Rutter’s A Gaelic Blessing was immediately given the mischievous nickname – ‘A Garlic Dressing.’ Commissioned by an American Methodist church, the lush string accompaniment perfectly matches the serene text Rutter chooses to set. Though the words are deeply religious and one might expect the composer to hold deep religious beliefs, Rutter himself describes himself as ‘An agnostic supporter of the Christian faith.’
A Gaelic Blessing has become the chosen “Benediction” at almost every MCF concert. It’s deeply comforting text and equally tranquil and sensitive music is a beautiful blessing that not only marks the end of our summer of musical fellowship, but also gifts our cherished audience and supporters at the close of a wonderful evening of choral/orchestral music.
Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the shining stars to you
Deep peace of the gentle night to you
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you
Deep peace of Christ the light of the world to you
Deep peace of Christ to you
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